Friday, February 3, 2012
Spread the Love, NOT Hate: Using our Gift of Writing to Raise Awareness About Bullying
We've talked about the subject of bullying several times both on here as well as on my main blog, 'The Gift'. Bullying is something I am very passionate about raising awareness for (I'll get into why in a few minutes.) So, when a fellow writer led me to a blog hop that was being organized on this subject, I didn't hesitate to sign up.
The reason this blog hop was organized touched a soft spot in my heart. Long story short, a first-time author released the new novel to the world. But instead of being able to embrace the pride and excitement of such a wonderful event, she had to endure pain. Someone actually slammed her about this amazing accomplishment, and cyber-bullied her. Can you imagine? I remember how excited I was when my first book came out (that feeling is the same no matter how many books you release, by the way). Imagine how hurtful it would be to work so hard at something, and finally have that goal achieved, only to have someone try ripping it down. And that's why this blog hop was arranged.
I was bullied in Elementary school. To this day, I have no idea what I did to deserve the treatment I endured, but it started with one girl's jealousy over my getting a higher grade than her on a piano exam and exploded from there. I came to school one morning and no one would stand near me or talk to me or even acknowledge that I was even there. As the year went on, this girl got the entire class to tease me, beat me up, chase me, start rumors about me, steal my things and even pick on my younger brother. It got so bad that my teacher had to let me go a few minutes early at lunch time and after school so I could have a better chance of getting home safely.
Yes, my mom did try talking both to the teacher as well as to the principal (which was shocking considering the fact that she was rarely able to take care of herself), but it only made the situation even worse. It was the most devestating, lonely, terrifying, heart-breaking year. I never let one of those kids know how much they hurt me--no matter what they did to me or said about me. I never fought back, I never reciprocated their ill treatment and I never once said something bad about any of them. All I ever did was ask why. The worst part was that, as many of you know, I was also dealing with abuse and other issues at home. So, none of those kids even realized (or cared) that not only did I have to deal with being treated badly in my own house, but I also had to get up every morning and deal with the same stuff at school. Bullies don't think about all of that though, do they?
Well, I made it through to the end of the year. The girl who started it all moved to a different area of the city and transferred to a new school. I made new friends the next year but I was never the same. To this day, I still have trust issues, I still struggle with my self-esteem and only have a very small circle of friends. But that's all okay...I continue working on it. And I have two things that help me look back on those days with a stronger heart. One happened at the last assembly of the year. The principal was giving out awards for sports, academic achievement, etc. To my--and everyone else's--surprise, he created an award just for me. It was a Citizenship Award given to someone who displayed outstanding ability of friendship and peace. He even gave a short speech on how I taught everyone that people can go through tough things and still be a good person. (As a sidenote, two girls who did most of that girl's dirty deeds came up to me on the playground after the assembly and said, "We're so sorry. We don't know why we did those stupid things to you. You're so nice. I guess we were just afraid that Jill would do those things to us too so...we did what she said.")
It. Has. To. Stop.
So join us in spreading the word. You can write your own post and share it in the comment section HERE or you can just share this post or comment here. Together we can make a difference.
OH! By the way, that second thing I mentioned above that helps my heart feel stronger? Years down the road, I ran into that girl at a house party in High School. She was drunk and walked out of the bathroom with her pants around her ankles, bawling her eyes out. I ran up the stairs to try and help her (I mean, geez. Part of me just wanted to leave her like that...she certainly deserved it! But that's not the kind of person I am.) and she goes, "Oh, Chynna! I was soooo mean to you when we were kids. I don't even remember what that was all about now but I'm sorry. We're friends now, right?"
Of course, she didn't speak to me when she saw me in the hall the next week but it was sort of sweet justice in a way. It just goes to show that these people don't think about what they do or the consequences of their actions. But their victims never forget.
***For some tips on how to bully-proof your child, check out this amazing article from Family Education.com.***