After a few years of borderline denial, I’ve decided to come clean. Though my novels are a work of fiction, they are my attempt to gain redemption from the painful choices of my past. In addition, I hoped to help others who may be facing struggles of self-discovery. At present, the reach of the message within my novels has fallen much shorter than anticipated (perhaps due to its genre or esoteric representation), so I’ve decided to take a more direct approach with this blog. I’m usually a very private person, so this was very tough to write and even tougher to share, but I figure if at least one person can be helped by reading these words, my candor and struggles were all worthwhile.
They are on the front lines, marching with brave steps that shield a fading resolve. Their daily fight sometimes involves weaponry most would expect in battle. Despite the callous brutality they face, they are a different type of soldier. Instead of military garb and helmets, some wear denim, sweats and trendy hats. Instead of enduring enemy assaults in the trenches, they bear devastating attacks as they traverse streets, courtyards and locker lined hallways. They are children, teens and adults, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Their adversaries are not much different, yet due to circumstance, the latter carries a superiority complex, a grudge with the world, and/or a thirst to inflict misery on the seemingly vulnerable. The people I just described are bullies and their victims.
Victim. I never cared much for that word, but at the moment, it’s the only one that comes to mind. I used to fit into this category, but I no longer consider myself a victim, but a survivor of cruelty. However, I came very close to utter defeat in the midst of my anguish. Amanda Todd is one of the latest warriors to fall at the claws of the amorphous beast known as bullying. Though she and I are generations apart, I understand the pain and utter loneliness that culminated in her final act of despair.
I’m no psychotherapist or social expert. I’m merely a woman who once stood in the shadows of towering oppressors, both during and after school. I’m hoping that my words and experiences can help change the perspective of at least one person, no matter what side of the crisis they’re on.
Admittedly, and regrettably, the bullying crisis is worse today than ever. “Who cares?” has become somewhat of an anthem in our society and the collective media has been, and continues to, incubate the festering mentality that spawns bullying. It also provides the arena in which our youth battle like gladiators as they struggle to maintain their dignity. Sadly, some lose the fight, and their lives, either at their tormentor’s hands or their own.
When I was growing up, my childhood and teenage awkwardness was mainly only recorded in the memories of my tormentors; memories which have likely faded over time. Today is far different. Humiliating moments can be captured and uploaded for literally the entire world to see. They don’t easily fade or disappear. Instead, they seem to remain like a scar on the wounded spirit of the person on display. Some are able to bounce back from such humiliation, but not everyone is equipped with the foundation on which to build their fortitude and need extra help. Even for those with the benefit of a sturdy foundation, recovery is often challenging, but it is possible.
Click here for Survivors of Cruelty Pt. 2: My Story (The Abridged Version)