For those whom don’t know, the last six years of school was Hell on Earth for me, as it is for so many children and teens today. Each time I hear on the news about a young man/lady who has committed suicide because of bullying, it breaks my heart because I know all too well of the intense and unbearable pain this child went through.
The feeling of entrapment and being held hostage by your classmates for eight long hours, the pain so intense you can’t even cry, the having your reputation unjustly ruined, the desperately holding on to your dignity with everything you have in you, the intent of your classmates to destroy what little happiness you do manage to scrounge for yourself, the paralyzing fear that washes over you every morning upon seeing the school bus approach, the horrible names, the brutal beatings, the having your cries for help ignored by those in authority, or worse, blamed for your own suffering…all of this for none other than being who you are and committing the sin of simply EXISTING…yes! I’ve been there and it’s a tormenting pain that only few can comprehend!
Each taunt, each dig, each attack, cuts a little deeper and a little deeper as time passes, until the cumulative pain is almost physical!
I’d had the idea to write this book for as far back as the eighth grade. During that time, because no one listened when I attempted to report the bullying or needed to talk, I turned to the only outlet that was available to me- keeping a daily journal and writing down every bullying incident I suffered at school in detail. It was the only thing I could do to get it out!
I remember the day when a nosy classmate found one of my journals and she wasted no time reading it and then passing it around to others! As a result, I got a heck of a reprisal when I was beat up on the way home on the bus for what I’d written! On another occasion, I was caught with my journal by a teacher and the principal was called after another classmate brought it to the teacher’s attention. The teacher then handed my journal to the principal and I watched as he scanned the little red notebook that was my journal, gave me a very dirty look, then walked out of the classroom, flipping the pages. Needless to say, it was the last time I ever saw that journal. However, I was sure to keep a copy of everything in a separate notebook at home. Therefore, I didn’t lose any valuable information. Yes, I did a mountain of writing back then!
There were other reasons for journaling as well, one of which was to gather evidence for possible future litigation should they hurt me bad enough to send me to the hospital, or worse! I journaled all through the last five years of school, then kept the notes put away for years because I knew that one day, I’d write a book and tell my story!
During the second half of the nineties, I began researching bullying online and I was amazed when everything I read was a dead-ringer of what I experienced! That’s when I knew that it never was “all in my head”! This, in itself, was such sweet relief! I continued to research bullying, reading articles and books online and off anything I could get my hands on! I researched the tactics bullies use against their victims, profiles of both bully and victim, true stories of how teachers and school officials mostly sweep incidences of bullying under the rug and blame the victim. I read almost everything there was to know about bullying and the dynamics of the human predator/prey and I was totally amazed at how everything clicked and fit together like a perfect little puzzle…I then had no doubt that I wasn’t “crazy”!
About ten years ago, I began to hear on the news about school bullying and as time went on, I saw more and more stories of kids being victimized pop up on the news with increasing frequency! Then stories of child and teen suicides began to surface and that’s when I knew that it was time to tell my story. So I dug out my old journals and carefully wove them into the book as I wrote it, being sure to keep them in chronological order.
I wrote the book for many reasons: 1. To tell my story and how I survived. 2. To record what I learned from being bullied. 3. To admit my becoming a bully myself in order to protect myself and express the remorse I felt later for it. 4. To give today’s victims hope that it does, indeed, get better. 5. To assure bullied victims that despite what their bullies may say to them, they still have value and are worthy of love and friendship. 6. To be a living testimony to these children and teens that, as bleak as the present may be, the future can be so much better and they can be “normal” again. 7. To discourage suicide and ultimately, help bring down the suicide rate among these precious youngsters.
My goal is to be a voice for these kids, whom have had their voices stolen from them and give them ways to protect and re-empower themselves, boost confidence and find reasons to go on living! This is my passion and my joy! If I can reach out and make a difference in the life of one…just ONE bullied young person, then the torment I went through years ago was not in vain!