Today is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, and a few fellow bloggers are joining forces to take a little action. As Sheri Larsen, who initiated the idea, said, there's strength in numbers, right? So if you have ever been bullied, know someone who has been bullied, or simply believe in taking action for a worthy cause, today is the day to tell the world, or even your next door neighbor, to take a stand.
Because the thing is, bullying doesn't end at high school.
I suffered terrible acne as a youth, the kind of acne that practically turned my face into one giant, white pussy zit. It's not an exaggeration. By the time I hit junior high, I'd racked up an impressive list of nicknames - zit face, pizza face, and my personal favorite, Godzitla. I played sick, or even skipped school sometimes to avoid walking past the popular kids, terrified of the next witty nickname I'd earn.
It took years to get past the name calling. And luckily, that experience turned into great fiction fodder. One of the characters in my middle grade book, Jack of Hearts, suffers a similar fate. Except, she turns to magic, or rather the promise of magic, to survive her bullying experience. I didn't have a magic wand, fake or otherwise. I just waited it out.
It wasn't until high school that my skin began to clear. I remember with clarity the day I stopped caking my face with foundation and wearing bright red lipstick in an effort to take the focus away from my infected T-Zone.
But my acne-free skin didn't mean I'd survived my bullying experience fully intact.
Because while I could get PAST the name calling, I've never forgotten it. I underestimated the long-term impacts of bullying, how it would forever affect my self esteem, or make me more susceptible to adult bullying.
Yeah...it happens to adults, too.
I never stood up to my bullies as a kid. I never told my teachers, my parents, a school counsellor. I suffered in silence because I was embarrassed and scared. And I'm paying for it now.
As an adult, I understand all of the reasons people become bullies - insecurity, jealousy, the need to make themselves feel better. I even know why my bully chose me as a target. I "get" that I should stand up to her, call out her bad behavior if nothing more than to model for my stepdaughter the importance of standing up for yourself.
Instead, I'm back in junior high, scared to speak out, terrified of the potential consequences - and opting to avoid her instead of making her stop.
I don't have the necessary skills to stand up to my adult bully. I never took a stand.
If you're being bullied, or you know a child who is, please, please don't allow them to suffer in silence. Take a stand, not just today, but everyday. And be part of the change.
Today, I will take a stand against my bully. Will you?
Talli Roland - http://talliroland.blogspot.com/
LM Preston - http://lmpreston.blogspot.com/
Donna Martin - http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com
Sheri Larsen - http://www.writersally.blogspot.com/
Candace Granger - http://themisadventuresincandyland.blogspot.com/
Jonathon Arntson - http://jonathonarntson.blogspot.com/
Nicole Zoltack - www.NicoleZoltack.com
Jessica Bell - http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/
PK Hrezo - http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com