Friday, September 2, 2016

Second on the 2nd: Fear

For my second look on the 2nd, I knew I had to go with something that related to back to school, since that's the theme I'm hosting at Art Journal Journey this month.  In looking back through my posts I decided to share a post from a now defunct challenge blog.  That doesn't make the prompt or the story any less relevant, though.  Sadly, I was still using my old camera that took nearly unrecognizable photos.  Here is the post from October 14, 2011.

The challenge was to discuss your fear(s).

I began by laying down dressmaker tissue on a block of 1" thick wood, over which I painted gesso mixed with violet Golden Fluid Acrylic. At this point I wasn't sure where this was going, but I knew I wanted to create something close to my heart. Something artistic about fear, although it was not for or about myself, but for the young people in this world who are being bullied.

I started with these six colors because they were mostly dark, and therefore colors I would most closely associate with fear.

Now I'm not a person who can draw a pretty picture, relying more on mixed media and magazine images. And I'm also not very good with abstract art. But I wanted this to be something dark, going into the light.

As I worked on the piece, I saw a tornado emerging. I certainly knew about tornadoes, having been in five before the age of 15.

I continued to work on the tornado image and remembered the one and only time I was bullied through teasing. I began attending a new school in the 6th grade, after attending a different one, one that was all ground level, for my first five grades. The school I was now going to was old and the upper classes (5th and 6th grades) were on the top floor.

Not too long into the first semester, we had a fire drill. We had to go out very tall cast iron lattice see-through stairs and I made the mistake of looking down. I froze. I could live through tornadoes, but not those stairs.

The teacher, who was supposed to protect me, was also no help. In fact, she made matters worse by trying to force and push me off the top stair landing and down the steps. After all, I was holding up the line which had to keep going. Clearly, this type of behavior had never happened before! Afterward, I was called all kinds of names, including "scardy-cat" and "wimp." Thankfully, my grandparents (who raised me and were my rock) stepped in (something kids these days seem to resist) and spoke to both the teacher and the principal. After that, I was allowed to be the last person down the stairs, with the teacher at my side. I'm not sure what would have happened had there been a real fire.

Eventually, the kids forgot what a wimp I was, mainly because I went to a new school (what we called Junior High) the next year. At that time, I was reunited with my friends from K through 5th grades, had a good support system, and was once again on a ground level floor.

I tried to show the texture at this angle, but my camera doesn't take decent photos this close.

Unlike kids today, who have social networks via the internet, I was lucky. My friends were close at hand and I no longer felt the humiliation of being singled out. Nor did we try to single out and bully any students like the mean kids did. I was a big part of Junior High and High School because I loved school. I became active in many extra-curricular activities and took part in as many as I could fit into my schedule.

I also had very supportive grandparents, who would have gone to hell and back to make sure I was safe from harm. You have NO idea how innocent and sheltered I (and my friends) were. Young people nowadays don't feel like they have that option, especially since many bullying problems happen on buses, something we didn't have in our small town of a little more than 4000. Young people also don't believe they can talk to their teachers, and when they do, they are told to "buck up" just like I was told that day back in 6th grade.

Although my fear of being bullied soon passed, my fear of heights remains present to this day. I can't seem to climb on anything higher than a two-step step stool until my legs begin to shake like crazy when I reach the second step. As for being called names, I believe it made me stronger, more easy going, more understanding, and more empathetic.

I could have called this piece "Eye of the Storm," but decided to call it "The Bully Pulpit" instead. It is truly a different looking and more true to color and texture piece on my scanner.

I hope each person who reads this will become an advocate for young people, people who have been bullied, as well as those who bully (because these bullies are often either bullied or ignored at home). October is Bully Awareness Month and bullying could truly be one of our young friends worst fears. It is up to adults to see to it that youngsters are safe from internet violence, from school bus violence, from being picked on in class or in gym, and from vicious life-changing name calling. After all, this is the next generation we are talking about.

Normally I would stop here and invite you to join me with your Second on the 2nd post.  But before I do that, since I'm hosting Art Journal Journey (AJJ) this month, I wanted to create something to go with my Bully Pulpit.  For those of you familiar with AJJ's rules, this will be redundant.   However, if you are not familiar, there are two very obvious reasons I cannot use my Bully Pulpit for my AJJ entry today. First, all entries must be created in a journal, altered book, or large loose pages, like my used file folders.  Second, all entries must be shown for the first time and cannot be back linked.  No cards, tags, or even wood are allowed, either.  And since this is a journal, at least ONE word needs to be included in your art.  That's why it's called a journal blog.

In following the "Back to School" theme, I have placed my Bully Free Zone sign in the middle of several School Caution signs.

I used washi tape for the sign posts and gifted washi tape arrows to call attention to the sign.  I painted the green strips and added the black strip to imitate the green and black chalk boards you used to find in schools.

Now it's your turn to add your Second on the 2nd post.   The rules are quite simple and everyone is welcome to join the fun look back.  All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, or one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed.  Anything you choose is acceptable, any subject, any genre.  Then link below.  Once you link, Bleubeard and I, along with other Second Look participants will be by to visit. 

Please be aware this link is only open for five days, so it's best to post sometime on the 2nd.

14 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Your bully pulpit and the accompanying story is really good, and it was always necessary to protect some students from being bullied ny others, who thought they were 'strong' because they were hurting weaker ones. You were lucky that you had supportive grandparents. Thanks for another lovely page for AJJ, and for telling the story. Hugs, Valerie

chrissie said...

Great second showing piece with lots of texture and shine.

The bully page reminded me how lucky I was to go to a school when no one seemed to be bullied but my job as lab technician in a large comprehensive showed me what it does to children and the lives that are changed forever by bullying.

Love Chrissie xx

Halle said...

I remember the first post...I'm glad that you get out your soap box and talk about what is important to you especially when it involves the rights of others.
Your second and new piece is great!

My name is Erika. said...

Bullying is such a huge issue. Luckily its been made into such a big issue lately, along with new laws. I think it is a problem, but I do think more people are sensitive to it now. Hopefully in time (sooner rather than later) it will go away! Loving your second piece and your new piece for AJJ. I started some pages last night and I am very excited about it. :) And thanks for the travel suggestion. I LOVE that idea and am going to try that next trip. :) Hope you have something fun planned for your weekend. Hugs-Erika

Darla said...

I really like both pieces. I was never bullied and don't really remember it being a problem back in the dark ages when I went to school. It could have happened but not to my knowledge.

Meggymay said...

A great post and I do like your anti bullying page. I know its an issue these days and should be addressed straight away. Bullies, I think know no better and the folk an the receiving end, deserve much better from life. I would join you any time on your soap box for this issue. Back in my early school days the teachers were allowed to react, with a hit with the ruler or be sent to the Head for the strap. Maybe this was put many folk off bullying back then in schools.
Yvonne xx

Corrine at said...

I can relate to fear of big heights, but nothing as scary as yours. How awful that the teacher tried to force you down those it's really scary for kids, I grew up like you did with close friends all around and small town. My mother had no problems confronting Mother Superior over an issue with me as well....that was an amazing sight for sure. Bravo to your grandparents. Too much pc today, so ridiculous to me. And social media is not the friend of our kids, so much crap.
But I love your tornado with it's eye and your AJJ page too. Happy Labor Day to you. xox

Krisha said...

You Bully Pulpit was posted before we became friends, so it is new to me. I LOVE it, but am saddened by the story that brought it to life. I had one teacher, similar to yours, but by the end of the year I refused to be bullied by her ( with my Mom's backing), and therefore the two of us did not get along the last couple weeks of school...........that was in the 6th grade.

When our youngest son was in grade school, I had a teacher try to bully me about a detention he had issued my son. This man was not even my son's teacher, but he got a good dose of my anger. The detention was NOT served and it got around town (Shafter is very small) that I stood up to this teacher and people were amazed. He was known for being a bully to students and their parents, but the school did NOTHING about it! I'm not saying I am a brave person......just one ANGERY Mom. Ok, I'll turn the soap box back over to you now.

Your AJJ page is a real fantastic page for back to school, and a reminder that school SHOULD be bully free for everybody.

Thanks for sharing both pieces. Hope you have a great weekend.

Divers and Sundry said...

I don't usually hear stories about teachers being the bullies and enabling other bullies, but I remember it happening when I was a child and I imagine it happens more often than we hear. Children who are bullies can grow up to be adults who are bullies, and when they seek out positions of authority their bullying can go unchecked. I admire your grandparents for stepping in.

Jeanie said...

This is really a remarkable canvas. I loved seeing your process.

When I was working as a facilitator in a children's grief center a number of years ago, one of the kids in my group was there because her brother was a suicide and the cause had been bullying. It mobilized her family to spearhead what became a law in Michigan on bullying called "Matt's Law." Her parents are tireless champions in the anti-bullying effort and found a way to channel their grief positively. It so hurts to see how prevalent and insidious it can be -- and it's not just the kids. It can be anyone.

On another note, I've really loved your comments on the Gypsy about MV. It's interesting hearing things through the eyes of your friend. Yes, I think for a year-round worker it would get pretty sticky -- you are dependent on a ferry or plane to get on or off island but conditions are trickier. And costs very high. We were so lucky to have been provided with a spot to stay. We never could have afforded to go otherwise.

froebelsternchen Susi said...

What a fantastic post Elizabeth!
Your bully pulpit piece is beautiful and so is the fabulous bully free zone page!
You put much thoughts in this whole post - I appreciate and admire that!
I have never been bullied in any way during my school time or later - happy me - just one single time I got a raw deal from a catholic religion teacher
as I was 15 and I decided to quit the religious education from there on.
I got my revenge - lol.
Great that your grandparents were such fantastic people.
I was raised during my early schoolyears from my grandaunt and granduncle and they gave me the same wonderful feeling of being save ..I think that builds our character.
My parents were much too young as I was born and the oldies gave me so much more a family as my parents did. Even though I loved my parents ( my mother is dead now since three years - and my Dad is now 73 and we cultivate a good relationship) are my real parents my grandaunt and granduncle in my heart.. but both passed away within a very short time of each other as I was just 11, and from that time on my father raised me an I had in total 4 stepmothers - not a very good time at all-
but I was never bullied in any way.
I think that is luck!
I am sorry that I am not joining the Second on the second this time but I have sooo much to do in the house and with guest just now.
Hope you don't mind!
I am so happy that you are our host this month!♥♥♥
oxo Susi

pearshapedcrafting said...

I love your bully pulpit piece! What a terrible thing that it took a talk from your grandparents to sort the teacher out! It's true that children can be so cruel too as one of my friends children experienced! I remember having to intervene many times as a teacher when I spotted signs of unkind behaviour too! Love how you balanced this with a brighter page now! Thanks for linking me - just grabbing a moment of connectivity! Hugs, Chrisx

~*~Patty S said...

Very powerful artwork to express what you went through as a youngster E!
Thank you for sharing.
Kindness and understanding never go out of style...More is definitely better.
Bless your grandparents for being right there for you.
It is encouraging that there is a focus on bullying now which can hopefully help eradicate the problem.
Your Bully Free Zone page is super!
Wishing a nice long weekend.

Rosie Schirrmeister said...

Just wonderful