Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

quote- insults June 13, 2015

Just came across this in my audio book today:

“An insult is like a drink, it affects one only if accepted.”

Robert A. Heinlein in Glory Road

How true is this!

The difference between being ‘thin-skinned’ and ‘thick-skinned’ lies in if you ‘accept’ the insult or not.  If you do not, it rolls over you and you can remain jovial and calm.  If you accept an insult, it can be toxic, taking bitter root and poisoning both you and others around you as you spread the toxicity.

This brings to mind that some need more gentleness than others.

While insult may be completely unintended, those who presume a negative intent will let their ‘acceptance’ of the insult fester.  Their perception is their reality.

This is when one can either wait for the one presuming insult where none was intended or implied to either wake up or move on, or one can say “I’m sorry you felt that way, it was not the intent.”

I am prone to the former, with a shrug of shoulders.  For those of us who ignore even intentional insults (some of us have taught junior high and therefore have a lot of practice) it can be hard to feel sorry for those who are so fragile or victimized that they see insult wherever they turn.  They’re emotionally exhausting to be around.

I don’t drink either literally or figuratively.  It seems like a sound way of avoiding trouble.


poem-bully the victim March 19, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:50 pm
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Everyone thinks they’ve been bullied.

Everyone has had someone say something mean

been called a rude name

felt misunderstood

felt completely unseen

felt left out of the game.

Growing up means learning that not everyone thinks you’re great.

Growing up means knowing you’ll get called out when you’re weird.

Social correction.

Don’t be so intense, trying to fit everyone inside your fence

If they’re just being nice, don’t make them want to slice

their wrists rather than interact with you

Social rejection

is a natural reaction to those things you do.

Social conversation

starts out small, don’t demand their all

Everyone has met the kid that’s on the bullhorn

the irritating thorn who blames everyone for the scorn

he invites himself.  If you want deep contact

don’t start combat if interaction contracts.

If you want a friend

Be a friend.

The end.



A few years ago, I was overheard a conversation between a Special Education teacher and a new student on the autism spectrum who was visiting the high school in preparation for attending the following year.  She explained to him that in high school, if he was doing something inappropriate as a grade 8 student with poor social skills, a grade 12 would call him on it, and that wasn’t bullying, that was social correction.  It was probably the most effective way for him to realize his own responsibility for the irritations of others; social correction was an enlightening concept for him.   There’s a line here.  Some behaviour is not appropriate!  It’s important that bullies receive just as much social correction as ‘victims’ do.  “We don’t treat each other like that” goes both ways.   To other students, the student in question was a bully, in the way he monopolized the class room with irrelevant questions or self-indulgent narratives.  He impacted them negatively, and they retained the right to tell him he needed to be quiet.  He responded better to students than teachers giving the same message.  What do you think?  Is there such a thing as ‘social correction’ or is any negative feedback just a form of ‘bullying?’


poem-identity March 15, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:04 pm
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Hovered over the computer

you groan about how you’ve been screwed up

by school schedules that don’t let you take

the courses you need to graduate.

Something from grade nine,

another from grade ten,

a couple from grade eleven,

how can you fit it in twelve?

School’s fault.

Not your fault, of course.

Never your fault

for not coming to class,

for not doing your work,

for not taking advantage of offers to help

for not being respectful of your peers

for not accepting support,

for not passing the courses.

One or two (or three or four)

missed credits each year.

It’s the school’s fault.

Of course, it is.

Everything is hard for you.




You strike the question,

a damning indictment.

I will tell you,

though you won’t hear:

This is why:

Because you don’t see that

you choose.

You choose

to work.

You choose

to fail.

You choose.

Until you choose

to be responsible

for every choice,

to admit you failed because you chose

not to work,

not to accept help,

not to accept the consequences of

your choices,

life will always

seem unfair.

It’s not life that’s unfair.

It’s you who is refusing

to own your reality.

Accept responsibility for yourself.

What are you afraid of?





poem- hole August 15, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 2:21 pm
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Occupy one

Small space

Hide here

Stay safe.


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