Stop the Noise: The Fight Against Bullying

I am blessed to be a cast member in the play “Stop the Noise”, by Shawna D. Moore. The play is about a school administrator trying hard to get a hold of bullying in her district so no child dies to suicide on her watch. Before I go on, I’m going to tell a personal story.

My son was a happy kid. When he turned 8 years old, everything changed. He and my daughter were diagnosed with seizures and he had to be put on medication that made him gain weight. To make things worse, his best friend died that summer. From grades 3rd-5th, he was bullied. Everytime I thought I had it handled it got worse.

I asked many times while keeping close tabs on him during those years, he was 17 years old before he admitted to a counselor that he attempted suicide during that time. Although he did overcome, many parents aren’t that fortunate. For every 1 suicide death, there are 100 attempts. 4400 children die each year from suicide due to being bullied. The fight against bullying affects us all.

Our playwright, Shawna Moore, was commissioned by the Hale County School District in Moundville Alabama to write a play about the affects of bullying in our schools. She created “Stop the Noise” and we performed for Hale County Highschool and Middle School on February 7, 2020 with great success. It got the student body and administration talking about the issue.

This Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 2pm and 7pm we will be performing “Stop the Noise” at Central High School for the communities in Tuscaloosa County. But “Stop the Noise” is a Movement! We want to bring this play to each school in Tuscaloosa and begin a strong fight against bullying involving teachers, administration and students.

Bullying must stop! Suicide must stop! Our children are worth the fight to Stop the Noise.


Remembering, Me Too

I ended up in a downward spiral this past weekend. I didn’t even know why I was spiraling so quickly. I went into a depression. I knew something was wrong when I found myself in tears as watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy concerning a rape victim. In the show, she had trouble admitting that she had been attacked and raped. She wouldn’t even tell her husband. It brought back old, bad memories.

It made me think about a time in my life when I was struggling to hold on to someone who wasn’t trying to hold on to me. He left us mentally, a long time ago. He had been a serial cheater or as I refer to him, a hoe from the heart, our entire relationship. But I thought he would change. I was naive. When I looked at him, I saw the man he could be.¬† I loved him more than I loved myself. That’s where I went wrong.

When you sacrifice self love in order to love someone else, you are causing a few detrimental issues. One, you are disrespecting yourself. Two, you are giving more love than deserved at the cost of your own happiness. And three, you are putting yourself on the back burner. Most people know that you can’t fully love someone else without loving yourself first.

But back to the “Me Too” movement. Most young women believe the one they love will not harm them. I know I did. But one day my relationship turned from complicated to violent. In a split second my whole world was turned upside down. The one I loved took me from me. After the assault, I felt completely physically, spiritually, and emotionally broken. Why? I was there. I stayed. I believed in him. I picked him up. I supported him. I loved him. No matter what I did, why was it not enough?

He had already taken so much. What little will, hope, strength, and peace that I had left, he stole that day. He sucked all the life out of me. I became an empty shell of the woman I once was. I didn’t even know how to respond to it. I was in shock. This wasn’t love. I didn’t deserve this. I had to go. I had to get out of there. I couldn’t even look at him. I thought if I told anyone, they would blame me. His parents would hate me. Letting this out would ruin his career. Our children would suffer. I convinced myself to remain silent.

Like most women, I felt ashamed because I couldn’t fight him off. I felt that if I had done this or hadn’t done that, it would’ve never happened. I blamed myself, my circumstances, the alcohol he wreaked of, and whatever he smoked. Everyone and everything but him. Mostly, as angry as I was at him, I was even angrier at myself for not being a stronger, more epuipped as a woman who wouldn’t have allowed a man to do that to her.

I didn’t realize that it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t see that he was the broken one, not me. Although I told myself I didn’t deserve it, that I deserved better, I didn’t believe that. It’s weird because at the time, I knew he was wrong, he knew he was wrong, but he had always done me wrong. I was constantly in the habit of forgiving him. That was our life. It became our cycle so much so that forgiving him became automatic regardless of this crime against me, he was forgiven before night fall.

I know that sounds crazy right. But when you live in a cycle of abuse for so long, how you react to it becomes the norm. It doesn’t matter if it’s emotional, mental, physical, verbal abuse, or a combination there of, the result is the same for the victim until you decide enough is enough. So many, like myself, have to hit rock bottom¬†in order to understand that the abuse must stop. I took the verbal, emotional, and mental abuse until it turned physical. Only then was enough, enough. Or was it?

My heart made me feel as if I could forgive him. But in my mind, I didn’t look at him the same, nor could I stomach him touching me. But even then, I stayed with him until I found the courage to leave a few weeks later. I went back home for over a year. I had to somehow find myself again. Believe it or not I still protected him. It was like Stockholm Syndrome. I still loved him. It wasn’t about me getting well mentally, I wanted to make sure my assailant was ok. Ain’t that some BS? So, I pretended it didn’t happen.

A few months later, I was still caught up. I mistook him not wanting to look bad to his peers and expecting me to be there like usual as him missing and loving me. I’m ashamed to say that I went back to him. But before I did, I finally confessed the assault to my mom. She didn’t want me to leave, but I felt stronger and thought I knew what I wanted. Of course, our reunion didn’t last. I stayed a few more painful years off and on. We were together over a decade.

I went through years of therapy but I was still hurting. Y’all believe this, if you still get angry or have emotion when someone’s name is mentioned, you’re not over the hurt, no matter what you tell yourself. Get help. I must admit, after a while, I was just going through the motions. Perhaps that’s why it took me over 15 years to be able to truly let go and let God. I had to decide that my and my kids peace of mind and happiness mattered too.

I pray that this blog post will reach someone going through the same silent, painful storm. I pray these words touch your spirit, invade your heart, and shake your soul so that you too find your strength, get out, and live a beautiful rest of your life.

#LiveLaughandLove, Val

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