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September 04, 2010

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Wow Kylie...you are an amazing writer!!!

Kylie I found your story very compelling from an educator's point of view. How we often dismiss our students' concerns or misread them unintentionally. You have won awards for your writing - justifiably so. Most of my Grade XII English students could not produce such a powerful poem full of metaphor and imagery.Excellent.

I'm curious about Sherrie's motives inviting you to her party when you "had found a way out of that relationship". Why would an invite be something she would even consider? You obviously have grown stronger, found strategies and are empowered from them. How about her? Do you think anything changed for her? Can a mean girl reform?

Kylie,
Thank you for this post. Your words could have been mine, almost 30 years ago. I skipped out of Kindergarten and into 1st grade halfway through the year, and knew no one, had no friends (having left a class full of friends). And after two weeks I finally worked up the courage to ask a girl if I could play with her, and she said yes. And she was my best friend and worst enemy for the next 8 years. We played games I didn't like and didn't understand, but I had to play, or who else would I play with? She was mean, derisive, and kind and thoughtful, all wrapped up in one perplexing package. It wasn't until 9th grade, when we went to different schools, that I was able to break free.

And looking back, I realize that I had plenty of other friends. There were lots of other options, had I been able to see them. But that's the thing about abuse, when you're in the middle of it, it's hard to see clearly.

I'm so glad that you were able to see clearly, that you have a wonderful mom to help you, and that you have the tools to live a different way. I'm glad you were able to do it before 9th grade.

I hope you get all of the wonderful things you deserve in this life. Bless you, sweetheart.

Kylie, I'm so proud of you! You found a voice, which is sometimes the hardest part of any problem. And you've made progress.

I love your poem, and I wonder, who's the rock?

Kylie, you are an incredible writer. This ability you have to write your way through challenges is one you'll be able to use for the rest of your life.

I'm going to share this post with my two daughters (age 10 and 8). I'm trying to teach them to always be kind and considerate of others' feelings, and I know your perspective will help my children to always remember how much their actions affect others.

Friends are SO important, and I'm glad that you know that you never have to be mistreated by your friends. Keep up the great work!

Kylie -

Thank you for sharing your story in a very thoughtful manner. It is a story that resonated strongly with both myself and I'm sure women everywhere because it takes an honest look into a confusing and painful time.

I too found solace in writing when I was young and discovered a powerful outlet. Feelings and thoughts that I didn't know how to sort out otherwise made sense on paper in a way that didn't judge or ask questions back. There was no need for justification for the way I felt.

Your narrative brings this experience to life for many others that may not feel comfortable using writing as a friend. Even as I've grown up and gone through many different experiences, I've relied on writing to sort through the good, the bad and the confusing.

I hope you'll always find the courage to write so honestly, as an inspiration to others, but also for yourself, in your many exciting years to come.

I used to write out all my feelings when I was your age as well. I just found my journal from when I was 10 and now I'm sharing it with my own 10-year-old. The things you're writing will help you work things out now, help others who read it now, and will likely help your own children some day as well! Keep up the good work. And if you want, check out the blog my kids do with some friends - it's called The Power of Kids (the link is below) and they share ideas about how kids can make a difference in their own families and communities. My oldest son Ashton is 10 and he does most of the writing. He'll be interested to read what you've written as well. It's always cool to meet other kids who are great writers.

"The humble stream is not jealous for it's content with its churning cloudy water" line brought tears to my eyes. Good for you for winning.

Kylie, you are wise beyond your years, and an excellent writer. I was especially impressed that you wanted to go to Sherrie's party partly to see what she was like now. That you recognized she may have changed shows that you have not only learned to move beyond bullying, but you have also learned to forgive. Having had a "friendemy" myself, I know how hard it can be to truly reach that last step of forgiveness. Good for you!

Kylie,
I know your sorrow and your heartache. I know your doubt and indecision. I have had too many Sherrie's in my life. I am sorry to say that you might have another one in your future. I love that you were able to re-build yourself, so to speak, through writing. You have found your strength and now you need to harness that as you shape and mold the person you want to be.

What thoughts do you have about about dealing with another Sherrie in the future?

I love your imagery around friendship. We need to be able to stand and admire our friends, where there is no thought given to stripping away another's confidence.
Having experienced many Sherrie's it was hard as a parent to see it when my own son was bullied by his then good friend. I was slow to use the term bully, his mother being one of my closest friends, giving his friend the benefit of good intentions hoping that it was a case of simple misunderstanding. Then I heard my son singing in car on the way to go meet his friend. Listen to the song, "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. And when the singing started each time he would have to see his friend, I knew this went deeper than I imagined. I am so glad that at 6 my son used his love of music to find strength.
I admire your courage to find yourself when faced with challenging relationships. I think it is easy to walk away and cut people out of your life, but no meaningful and lasting change can occur (for you of them) if you don't get back into the arena and see what happens. Keeping standing proudly and smiling Kylie. Your words are powerful. You are powerful.

Tara, Thank you. It is always an honor when people are compelled by my writing.

Bonnie, there are many things that I don't understand, even now. I do not see why Sherrie wrote me an invitation. I do know that I am different now and that, from my experience with her at the party, I know that she has changed too. She was no longer trying to disempower me. She just simply wanted to be friendly. I have even heard her say that she would love to interact more. I don't think I want to go back to being friends with her, but I am glad to have found a way to be myself even when she is around.

Maryanne, wow. I'm speechless. I don't know what to say. Thank you for the letter. I'm glad too that i wasn't in the 9th grade when the relationship ended, although I'm still friendly and polite with her. I don't think Sherrie was trying to hurt ME, I think she was trying to gain power, but the way she was doing it never achieves anything. Thank you again.

Lisle,
My voice is the part of me that shows in the poem that part that had grown dusty through the hard times with Sherrie. I am glad that i have found my voice, for without my voice i would not be ME. Now about the poem. I am always honored to be acknowledged. I did not go in to writing the poem thinking about who resembled the rock in this dream. I simply went in thinking about what true friends should be. I made them different--the rock and the stream, and now I wonder: am I the stream? That is a goal for me--to be like the stream. And who is the rock? I should like to find her someday.

April Perry, it makes me feel wonderful to be setting an example for others. Tell your daughters to always remember who THEY are and always remain themselves, no matter who tells them otherwise! I know that adults say that a lot, but I hope that hearing it from a kid who lost herself in a bad situation with a friend might make a difference. And i hope that your kids don't have to learn that lesson the hard way, like I did.

Avni,I'm glad that you enjoyed my writing. It feels like I'm looking back into a dark cave where i have finally shone some light. I haven't looked back on the memories in a long time. I can hear your voice in what you wrote. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

Saren,
Your kids' blog sounds neat! I'll see to it that I check it out. Writing is an important part of me. It gets my feelings out. I would like to meet Ashton someday. He sounds neat! Thank you!

Amy Jo, I am so flattered that my poetry touched you. Thank you.

Teresa,
I am glad that you liked my writing. And I'm flattered that you think me wise. I'm sorry that you had a frenemy, I know what that feels like. But now it's past, it's gone, for both of us. When i ponder over what you said about forgiveness, I'm sure that back then, when the troubles were happening, I would not have forgave her. It must be time and it's treasures that have allowed that. For now I know that Sherrie is no longer a foe, but instead an aquaintance.

Alyson, Another Sherrie wouldn't be good. Especially if she was the Second Grade Sherrie! Buuuut...one Sherrie is enough to change me in many more ways than one. If i ran into another Sherrie, i would hope that I would feel brave enough to speak to my mother sooner, for she has helped me through hard times. I hope that your son has recovered and found new friends--one that he can count on. Thanks again for thinking of me in such a wonderful way.

It's interesting how much of this story can certainly be mirrored in adult relationships. Adults aren't as blatant about the things they do, but they can be just as insidious. We need to constantly be aware of what emotions are driving our actions.
Thanks for the post, Kylie!

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  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.

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