Future Self

Friends, there’s something that’s become very important to me that I’d like to share and continue moving forward.

I’ve had an overwhelming and unmitigated response to a couple of recent tweets regarding bullying. The first was a link to a story about Izzy Dix , a girl of fourteen who took her own life in September after being snubbed by friends and becoming a target of bullying, both on and offline. Her last message to the world was an eloquent, personal and deeply moving poem entitled ‘I give up’. I tweeted a link to the story and later that night, unable to get it off my mind wrote down some thoughts and tweeted them also. It was partly personal catharsis, but mostly it was a gesture to the many people who had retweeted the original story, as I’d noticed that the vast majority of them were young people – people similar in age to Izzy in fact. I realised fully just how important this subject is to those affected (and I believe that number to be higher than we’d like to imagine) and judging by the speed and volume of the retweets and messages I’ve received, people of all ages clearly have experiences, opinions and messages to offer. My piece wasn’t about apportioning blame, getting even or staying angry. It was meant as a humble, sincere reminder to all who’ve been a victim of, or affected by bullying in any way that there is power and strength to be found in order to get through it, and a plea to those same people to not for one moment entertain the idea that this moment is all there is. It will pass. It will get better, and in time it will be something that you, as your future self will look back on with an empowering sense of perspective. As a result of the response and the deeply personal messages I’ve received since posting the piece, I’ve had an idea I’d like to share. I believe fully in the fact that there is strength in numbers. I believe in community. I believe that given the chance, people will share and open up and gain strength from the simple notion that none of us are truly alone. Sometimes we aren’t aware of who might be sharing our pain, who might be feeling exactly the same way as we do at this moment in time, who might have come through and triumphed over an experience like the one we find ourselves going through, but the fact is there is always someone. Always. So let’s find them. Let’s find them and identify with them and maybe even connect with them. Let’s draw strength from each other, and let’s start doing it today. Now, I’m not a web whizz or a tech head or anything like that so I’m going to keep it really simple. I’ve created an email account  – futureself@mail.com  – I want us to write down and share our experiences,  our positive outcomes, our stories of survival – stories where we’ve overcome fear or intimidation or lack of confidence. I want us all, young and old to write in with personal experiences that we feel will help those who might be enduring the same kind of treatment. I will collate these stories and examples and put them on my blog site. If we get enough we’ll create a web page and build it from there. I have to stress of course that this isn’t a helpline or a professional advice service (There are some fantastic organisations in place like the dove self esteem project and the National Bullying Helpline: 0845 22 55 787 as well as many others) I have no experience in counselling or advising anyone on a professional level – this is simply an idea to create a small thread; a community of people who can share examples and come together first-hand through unified experiences in order to see that WHATEVER the circumstances, there WILL be people who have gone through or are going through the same stuff, and if they can get through it – so can you. There are petitions to take down the website(s) that some cyber bullying is taking place on – there are people angry with schools, parents, teachers, the system – you name it. And that’s fine. Be angry. My feeling however is that even if you do succeed in punishing, banishing or demolishing certain elements of this problem, it won’t be long before another pops up. Taking down a website isn’t going to solve the deeper issue. Right now I don’t know what will. But while that stuff is being figured out, young people are living it. Today. So let’s do something today. And let’s dare to try to make that thing a positive thing. A thing of support, of encouragement – of hope. I know from the messages I’ve received that even those young people who aren’t directly affected by bullying right now know someone who is, or have been. So to every one of you – spread the word. Spread this tweet. Spread the email address – futureself@mail.com – and let’s begin it. Izzy’s final words really affected me. I know they affected you too. Let’s honour that fact and make a start. *Your email address won’t be passed on to, shared with or disclosed to anyone unless you specifically ask for it to be. If you want to keep your email address anonymous you can do so by using a remailer, or a few other options are here: http://www.wikihow.com/Send-An-Anonymous-Email – If there are any legalities or privacy issues I’m overlooking let me know and I’ll sort before we get going.  

12 responses to “Future Self

  • Deb Olliff

    What a wonderful thing to do!

  • charlielaneauthor

    Reblogged this on An Author's Life For Me and commented:
    If you can, get involved with this project.

  • jane moulder

    Amazing that you want to do this, from dark comes light and from evil comes good, Izzy’s death won’t be in vain

  • Maddie Sinclair

    Hi Darren, thank you so much for all you have done in Izzy’s name. Izzy and her mum, Gabbi, are very close family friends of mine and many of their close family and friends have joined together to campaign for real change to the way bullying is dealt with in society. And the core of our multi-pronged campaign is that we all must be motivated in life by love, kindness, compassion and empathy. We would be honoured to promote your ‘Future Self’ arm of what we consider to be an extension of the same campaign. If ever you need to contact us in relation to ‘Future Self’, we are at @IzzyDixMemorial or https://www.facebook.com/IzzyDixAntiBullyingMemorialPage or I have a WordPress blog too: http://www.gammonandchips.com

    Izzy would be proud of what you are doing!

    Kind regards,
    Maddie Sinclair
    The Izzy Dix Anti Bullying Memorial Group

  • darrenboyd

    Hi Maddie,
    Thank you for your kind words. I’m grateful that you’d get in touch in this way. I am truly sorry for your loss. So often when tragedy strikes and becomes shared through media in the way Izzy’s story was we see images, read names and catch a brief external snapshot of the person concerned. Rarely do we experience such a poignant, striking and intimate insight as was offered by bravely sharing Izzy’s poem. Her eloquence, artistry and voice spoke clearly to me – to all of us. As such I felt compelled to express myself and as a result here we are; finding a positive connection and crossing paths with a shared sense of creating some light out of darkness. I can’t speak for Izzy on a personal level, only you can do that. But I can add my voice to your cause and to the intention behind your campaign. Thank you for your offer to further promote my little idea. I’m collecting emails and will collate and share as promised, and if enough start to come in I’m thinking of opening a forum so that a true community can begin to emerge. Here’s hoping. If there’s anything I can do for your and your campaign in the meantime, let me know.
    I’ll be in touch, and thanks again.

    Darren Boyd

  • J Wood

    Hi there, I was just browsing and came across ur msg which I think is excellent. I don’t have kids and haven’t really experienced any particular bullying but I DO really feel for those who have.

    Keep up the good work. This sounds to me like its what you were put here for and I suspect you may find a new direction in ur life from this.

    At this very moment, Search for the Hero by M People is on the radio and it seems unbelievably apt!!

    Good luck with this idea, I think you’re an inspiration to others xx

  • Sam B

    I love this! sometimes all people need is someone to talk to. The connection and understanding of people who have been in the same place can make a huge difference to perspective and generate a new level of hope. This world is not an easy place to live and we all feel we are doing so alone (from conditioning) but really….we are all living the trials and tribulations of man, it is hard, it is different but we all evolve in understanding and when you reach that place you want to help others to that path. Almost compassion “follow my lead to avoid the dark place” so THIS…..it is a light, a place of hope. I love this idea.

  • lillibup

    This is a wonderful website. A necessary place of solace and hope. I had a thought that maybe we need to come together in the physical world as well. I get the impression that those who are suffering feel outnumbered by their peers and generally ignored by the adult world at school. We should march against it, let those who bully see and feel our collective physical presence and know that we see them. Maybe then the schools will do more.

  • baskervillehound

    Reblogged this on A Tedious Little Blog and commented:
    please get involved if you can, I’m planning to do the same myself

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  • Damari Stratford

    All bullying is unacceptable and unnecessary…Narcissistic bullies…Work place bullying, what will he do about it? All bullying needs to stop. What will they do about work place bullies and bullying? I was also the only one he treated like this..All he needed to do was be kind, show kindness. I want to bring more awareness to work place bullying in 2016 to help others not have to deal with bullies for bosses. The laws need to change!!! What will they do about work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop…I was fired 12 days before Christmas…
    I use to like people but a bully shot me down! Bosses should lead employees not Bully…Yes not from bullies! What about work place bullies?! Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes….I was bullied by an adult named Jeff Ursino , my manager at Citibank in Carmel, Ca…after he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up he fired me via UPS 12 days before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending case…my family will never forget the pain he caused us….and I haven’t worked since due to all of this.
    Jeff Ursino once told me that I couldn’t wear the hats I’d been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was company policy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later Jeff Ursino decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied ” I’m in control” , it was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully! He also threatened to fire me for job abandonment if I didn’t show up to work on a day I couldn’t work, my daughter was ill and he was already fully staffed. He put me on the schedule at the last minute to pressure me into working…a Bully at his finest. He also stated that I hadn’t worked on days that I had and I still have a copy of the schedules.
    Bullying needs to end and companies need to properly train manages to be leaders not bullies! What will politicians do about it? Nothing! We need to unite and do something about adult bullying and in the work place!
    I have two boxes of proof and I did document everything. When I realized that there is actually an Awareness month for anti bullying I decided to tell my story again in hopes of finding an organization that I can help bring light to this also very ugly issue!
    What I have mentioned is just a bit of all he did. No one cared or did anything about it. I wrote my leaders, congressmen , senators , mayors, city leaders, the president , attorney general, etc…everyone past the buck. Since then, bullying has come to the forefront and I want to tell my story.
    He is a father of 3 sons, still a ” manager” , on the board of trustees for a school district and I can’t help but wonder who he is bullying now.
    He had choices and he chose to be unkind, uncaring, not understanding, treated me like crap, ignored what others where doing, focused on me until he ruined me!
    ALL BULLIES NEED TO BE STOPPED!!!!! All companies need Bullying training and the manager isn’t always right! Only cowards bully other people! He didn’t care what I was wearing he simply wanted to show who was in control and bully me. The hats didn’t prevent me from doing my job nor did anyone ever complain about them, in fact I got lots of compliments from customers and a couple of his bosses and someone from HR, it’s was great until he showed up as a temporary manager. He just wanted me gone and set out to wrongfully terminate me. He couldn’t even write me up correctly and I have the proof. He couldn’t even fire me correctly as he broke California Labor codes in the process of firing me. He was simply unkind and heartless to me.
    Please grow up to be a kind, caring person. Never purposely make someone fear their going to loose their job for putting their daughter first, that’s what he did to me…and yet he is a father.
    Time to open their eyes and our leaders and change the laws. Speak the truth state the facts and have your evidence ready! One of the reasons I am doing this is because I have proof, my journal, the forms he used to write me up incorrectly. He was in such a hurry to write me up that the first time he wrote me up he used the wrong form, he used the second warning form. He threatened me with job abandonment yet didn’t know how that law worked. For some reason the universe, my God or what ever you want to believe, had me keep all the evidence. In my journal I wrote daily of what occurred at work, he singled me out. In four and a half years I loved my job 98 percent of the days then he came and ruined not only me but the spirit of that bank branch. He took away causal Friday and tried to take away cookies on Fridays for our customers. He said we all had to only eat in the break room but yet would eat at his desk and not say anything to the pretty blonde when she ate at her station. He took all my family photos down and claimed it was best for my family but allowed others to have their family photos out! A BULLY!!!!please share my story to bring awareness to work place bullying.
    The more I read the more I realize he was threatened by me. My reviews didn’t justify what he did. Several times I was asked if I was the manager as he stood next to me. The hat issue was just him being a bully, he ignored what others did and wouldn’t give me credit when it was due to me, he played it down. He snapped his fingers twice, said my name , pointed to the back room and said Damari in the back the very first time he ever addressed me. In the back room he said my reputation precedes me, that upper management had nothing but glowing reports about me. He asked why I thought I do so well and I told him because I love my job. He was a temporary manager, the branch was looking for a full time manager. Jeff Ursino was managing two branches during this process, I was trying to hang in there until we got a new one but he couldn’t wait to fire me. I’m understanding more about bullies these days, it doesn’t make it right but we need to pray for the bully.
    That’s was awesome, thank you for caring and reposting. I use his name and the bank and location to keep it real and honest. I have nothing to hide. I use to tell my kids’ if you don’t want grammy to know what you did then don’t do anything you’d be a shamed of because I will tell grammy the truth’ it really helped with their behavior. I once wrote him and asked why he did what he did and I also told him that I hope no one ever treated his family as he had treated mine, but I got no response to my email from him. It’s all true so it’s not slander. Have an awesome day, thank you very much. So sorry about what you went through, hopefully we can get others to come forth and share their stories. I honestly feel that the bully should be called out, if he/she was so proud of their actions then don’t get upset when we share what you’ve done. Please feel free to share my story to bring awareness to work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop, the laws need to protect the employees and victims not the bully. Share my story please.

    Kindness is free, spread it! Bullying cost lives and jobs, stop it! ~Damari Stratford ~

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