Authors Against Bullying

Warning: Post contains language that might not be suitable for young children.

If you’re following along on the Author’s Against Bullying blog links, you’ve probably been reading a lot about the teenager in Canada who committed suicide after incessant bullying–both online and in school. Sadly, this is just one incident in many where kids feel they have no other option but to opt out. As a parent, a human being, and as someone who has been bullied as a child, stories like this break my heart.

To tell you the truth, I don’t talk a lot about the bullying I experienced. I decided when I was in my 20s that I was not going to let it define me and I wasn’t going to give them power by keeping their hate in my thoughts. This worked for me and, though I still have my insecurities, I’ve grown to be a stronger person because of what I survived.

Now, don’t misunderstand. If you’re currently being bullied, I DO NOT want you to try to ignore the problem. Bullies don’t always go away on their own. I don’t want you to bury your pain. When I say I chose to forget about the hate-mongering, it was after having dealt with it and giving myself time to realize some haters from the school years weren’t worth my time.

As stories like the Canadian teen’s (and others’) come into conversation with authors who are sharing their stories with you on this blog event, I’ve actually been thinking about the past a lot. What I’ve learned is that the events don’t hold power over me, but are just a part of who I am…however, reaching this point wasn’t easy and I can remember what it was like to be the shy, insecure child who hid in her closet, crying.

Kids can be real ass-hats and, sadly, they usually learn this behavior from ass-hat parents. They will grow up to be bigger ass-hats who then teach their kids the fine art of their ass-hattery. It’s a cycle. The point is, bullies will always be there. The secret most kids don’t know: bullies bully because they are insecure, pathetic things who try to build themselves up by making others feel horrible; and other kids follow bullies because they are insecure and they’re scared of being bullied themselves. Writing this last sentence actually stings me a bit. I know it’s true, but my natural tendency is to not call kids names. I believe all children have something special inside of them that can be blossomed or killed by the influences around them and the love or disregard of their parents/guardians. I want to believe bullies can change, but they often don’t.

So, instead of thinking of how I was bullied by gossipy bitches (who I’ve seen on Facebook and whose lives are spectacularly laughable now), I want to share some random thoughts I would tell any pre-/teenager who is being bullied.

Middle School/High School is not forever.
This one is so important to realize.

When you’re in school, everyone tries to make it seem like these are the most important years of your life. You spend so many hours housed inside one building with pre-/teenage hormones flying around and bouncing off the walls to splatter everywhere. You’re told you must decide your future. You’re told there’s a mysterious permanent record with your name on it. You’re led to believe that this record will have everything that happens during this 6 year stretch from 7th-Senior year, and it will define everything you will become. It’s a lie.

Yes, school is important and it builds a foundation for the rest of your life. Let me say it again: A FOUNDATION. That’s all. It’s the floor to your house, and you want it to be the best it can be, but it’s not the house itself. The rest of who you are will be built in time, and it can be torn down, rebuilt, remodeled, put on a semi-truck and moved across country. Ok, so enough house metaphors, but the fact remains: Middle/High School is not forever. It does not define you. And the little bullies, who try to make you feel worthless, do not define you. You have a big, wonderful life waiting for you if you just grab hold and take it.

Bullies are often insecure.
It’s true. Generally, when people feel the need to tear others down it’s because they secretly dislike themselves.

The voice who screams the loudest isn’t necessarily right.
Bullies are loud ass-hats who seek attention and try to make themselves feel better by making others feel worse. Other people often are too scared to speak up for fear of getting on the vocal person’s radar.

You are not alone.
You are beautiful. You are special. You are worth loving. I know you might not believe me, but it’s true. I know it might not feel like it, but it’s true. Every person has a gift they can give the world. You might be a talented artist, a writer, geared towards mathematics or law, a future homemaker, or destined to take care of others in some capacity. It doesn’t matter where your interest and your gifts lie. There is only one you, and you matter.

There is help.
You might feel alone, like no one cares. I wish I could say all parents are wonderful, all teachers there to help, all adults worth listening to. Sadly, no. Some adults are ass-hats who let bullying go on and who raised the brats to begin with. But there is help. If you tell your parent but nothing is done, tell a teacher you trust. If nothing is done, keep talking. Just because a few idiot adults didn’t listen that doesn’t mean all of us won’t.

If you fear for your life contact the police.
Don’t delete any messages, notes, or emails from bullies. This is your proof. Take anything that will prove the threat against you when you talk to the police (or a trusted adult if you’re not comfortable going to the police alone), let them take copies but keep the originals for your records. If you don’t have proof, still go. You should never feel like your life is in danger.

If you think you might hurt yourself, get help.
You might not believe it, but the world needs you. We want you here. Forget the bullies. Forget the internet trolls, who are just bullies who hide behind anonymity (the most pathetic kind).

The best revenge is living a successful life.

As an adult, I’ve learned the best revenge against those kids who made my life hell is being the best me I can be. For me, that’s a successful author and living a good life. But success is not necessarily measured in fame or money, it’s measured in our character. So be the best *you* you can be. Find your happiness. Discover who you are.

Each situation is unique, each person different. These are just general guides to help you through, to let you know that you are not powerless and you are not alone. There is a great big world out there beyond the walls of High School, where you can make the life of your choosing, where people with a like mind will find you and will befriend you. There are people like me, and the authors on this blog tour, who understand what you are going through and want you to stay in this world to help us make it a better place.

Please, share your story. If you are/were being bullied, or know someone who is/was, please comment so others know they’re not alone. (You don’t have to give personal information). If you are an ass-hat troll trying to hate-monger– GO AWAY! All bully comments will be deleted and the user blocked.  This is a BULLY FREE zone.

If you need help, please visit these sites:
Teens Against Bullying: Created by teens, for teens.(middle school and high school)

Kids Against Bullying: Site is interactive and set up to help kids understand what’s happening if they are being bullied, and if they are the bully they should stop, etc. Younger kids will appreciate this.

National Bullying Prevention Center: Founded in 2006 the site is full of useful information for getting kids involved in anti-bullying, helping kids who are being bullied and bringing awareness to the cause.

Stop Bullying.gov: Informative and has a “kids corner”.

Authors Against Bullying
Here are other authors posting about bullying today. I encourage you to visit their blogs, to read their posts and to comment, letting the world know that society is still full of good, decent, honest people who will not tolerate bullying.

*Each authors’ opinions on bullying are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participating.

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31 Responses to Authors Against Bullying

  1. N.J. Walters says:

    Very wise advice. Bullying makes life a living hell, but there are people out there who care, and it does get better.

  2. Michelle, thank you so much for breaking down each level and speaking about each. The tips you offer are great. Thank you for being part of this blog event and for helping behind the scenes get everything organized.

  3. E.J. Stevens says:

    I love how at the bottom of your post it reads, “this is a BULLY FREE zone.” I wish this slogan was posted on the front door of every school.

    E.J. Stevens
    Read my Authors Against Bullying post at From the Shadows.

    • I wish schools had a stronger NO Bully Policy in place. If there were consequences, and less of a “kids will be kids” mentality, a majority of the problems would be stopped before they began.

  4. Jaycee Clark says:

    Wow, thanks for posting. You gave so much encouragement with your post. You and Mandy rock. And in case I haven’t told you two, or haven’t been mushy in a long time, you both mean a lot to me. I’m so blessed to have found you two.

  5. Iniriba says:

    Thank you for your words. I agree with Mandy about the breakdown into sections. Beautiful.

  6. Taryn Raye says:

    Wonderful tips and advice!

  7. Nikki Duncan says:

    “The best revenge is living a successful life.” I absolutely LOVE this!

  8. Donna says:

    I was too tall, too skinny, to smart, too whatever. Haters are going to hate. I was never one of the cool kids so I was bullied on occasion at school but it was nothing compared to the bullying I got at home.
    I think my kids had it worse at school as some of the social filters we had as kids have eroded to the point of non-existence. In some ways it is better. There is more information out there and role models are speaking up and out against bullies. More needs to be done at home, in schools and in the media.
    My daughter is Jewish and a lesbian living in the south how she has grown into the incredible woman she has despite all the negativity is one of life’s great mysteries and one of my greatest blessings.
    I think blogging about this is a good thing. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • It always breaks my heart to hear about bullying at home. Home should be the haven where kids feel safest. I do think that sometimes adversity does make us stronger people. I know that was the case with me, and it sounds like it was the case with your daughter. (But, I’m sure having you as a mom had something to do with it, too) :)

  9. I’m very proud to be a part of this important event, and empowered by all the stories of hope and encouragement I’m reading today. It’s wonderful that people can get together and promote the positive. Thank you to Mandy and Yasmine for putting this idea into motion. Thank you Mandy for all the hard work you did coding blog links. Thank you to all the authors for helping bring attention to the issue. <3

  10. Jax Garren says:

    “The best revenge is living a successful life.” I love this, and how true! My life is not controlled by others; it is what I make of it. No bully has power over my future.

  11. Raonaid Luckwell says:

    The Canadian teen’s story – though quite different from mine still impacted home. It dredged up my junior high and high school years, memories that I really don’t like remembering. With the help of friends I endured and got past it.

    Why I am so insistent that my sons never to experience it. I try to help with problems with a calm, steady head if I can. Bullying you cannot deal with hotheadedness, profanity.

  12. Jess Haines says:

    So true. Particularly agree — “The best revenge is living a successful life.”

    Excellent post.

    <3,
    -J

  13. After a day of positivity, I’m feeling pretty darn optimistic tonight. Thanks to everyone who participated #AuthorsAgainstBullying

  14. Pennie says:

    Thanks Michelle, this was a great post. Bullies are insecure and that is one reason they pick on others. It is not only in schools but also homes and today, especially, on the news. Be proud of your accomplishments and shine!

  15. Jessa Slade says:

    I love love love the house metaphor! Yes, we pour our foundation early (concrete boots, anyone?) and yes, we can jackhammer it up to lay in-floor heat pipes so we can walk around barefoot in the middle of winter! Ha! Take that, early childhood conditioning :)

  16. RFLong says:

    Great post. I too particularly love the “Bully free zone” warning at the end. Well said!

  17. It makes me sad that people try to deter a good thing with negativity. I won’t name names (not you all, you all rawk ;) )

    If you’re lost by what caused me to write this, I’ll just say it was negativity and leave it at that.

    Asking authors to use whatever celebrity they have to promote a good cause is not about selling books. And putting the anti-bullying posts on our blogs is about reaching the most people we can who visit those locations anyway. It’s a way for us to officially support anti-bullying… again, using whatever celebrity we have, big or small.

    For a vocal minority to complain about that makes me sad. They’re the ones taking away from the importance.

    Authors do think about more than book sales. Much more. Like many, I support the causes that touch me deeply. I’m not going to pretend I’m the biggest celebrity out there, but if using what I’ve been blessed with helps someone in need, then is there really even a question of doing it?

    I will say it again. I’m very honored and proud to have been a part of such a great thing. And, really, just because you don’t see every charitable thing we authors do, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I know a ton of authors who give back.

    Like many, I support the causes that touch me deeply. I don’t talk online about every time/money donation I make. Sometimes my reasons are personal, and they’re mine. I will say I have a huge soft spot for the ‘innocent’ — kids & animals — and I do act accordingly. Thus my yes to #AuthorsAgainstBullying

    Thank you to everyone who supported this event. Some of the private emails I’ve received have been really touching to read. And, if even one person was helped by the posts, then I consider the day worth it.

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