Friday, July 20, 2012

reclaiming old self

JUF: "...During her freshman year at Syracuse University, Gelfenbien was endlessly taunted by a group of boys. Although she eventually reported them and the bullying stopped, the rest of her college experience was permanently tarnished. Committed to her education, she stayed at school but suffered from low self-esteem and retreated into a shell of her typically outgoing self. Along came the Wienermobile, and with it, a new beginning. Recruited during her senior year of college, Gelfenbien knew she had been meant for the job. But never could she have predicted that the experience would impact her life as profoundly as it did...."I didn’t realize that I had lost my voice during college when I was driving the Wienermobile, but it’s obvious to me now. I basically shut down during those four years, and I thought the Wienermobile [job] would let me be myself again, which is an enthusiastic, outgoing, and silly goofball. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be on TV, which is why I went to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of that education the way I had hoped because of the bullying…I wanted to be a broadcast major, but the bullying made me afraid to do the campus TV or radio show, because I didn’t want to be harassed more...It allowed me to partially reclaim my old self, who was spirited, exuberant and funny. All of that had been quelled through college. The job allowed me the opportunity to find my voice again, because I was being paid to be myself—someone who is outgoing, enthusiastic, and loves being around people..." (Behind the wheel…of the Wienermobile)
Get behind the wheel with Robin Gelfenbien, an insecure goody-goody, who seeks redemption on the road in the Wienermobile after years of being bullied. Can she handle a horndog co-pilot, a media circus and her college nemesis? Using music, video and photo footage from her life on the Hot Dog Highway, Gelfenbien shares the touching and hysterical true story* of her transformation from underdog to “one of the most notorious Wienermobile drivers of all time.” - Time Out New York (About Wienermobile Journey)

Robin Gelfenbien is a writer and performer whose solo show, My Salvation Has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey, premiered at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. She has written jokes for Rosie O’Donnell and appeared on VH1 and in a commercial directed by Spike Lee. She’s also the creator of the storytelling series, “Yum’s the Word,” that features her homemade ice cream cakes (Broadway World).

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Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).