October is lot of things, a month to celebrate Halloween, a month to raise awareness for Breast Cancer, as well as watch the trees change color and welcome in Fall. But the one thing that hits closest to home for me is the fact this is Anti Bullying Awareness Month.
As a long time victim of bullying growing up, and even some as an adult, I strive to try and take part in the Anti Bullying campaign in some way. Last year I was proud to be a part of a campaign online that allowed authors to have guest posts and give away books. I couldn't do that sadly this year, since my former publisher closed so I am posting on my own blog about it, and telling you how bullying has impacted my life and writing.
I went to three different schools growing up before attending high school. At each school before ninth grade, I was picked on and bullied. Granted, in elementary school it wasn't as bad as it got in middle school. I was actually physically hurt once I was in middle school, getting my hand slammed in a locker, a triangle was thrown into my eye in Industrial Arts class which sliced it open and required a trip to the ER, and I had a basketball thrown in my face on a bus. Yes, everything was reported to the school officials about each incident, but nothing was ever done to the perpetrators because, and I quote my sixth grade homeroom teacher, "They came from a broken family." That was the excuse that made it perfectly fine for them to assault me.
I did manage to have one or two friends throughout all this at each school, even though they acted embarrassed to be associated with me at times. But between the few friends I did have, and my writing it is what kept me sane throughout my childhood. The same goes for me today.
Due to the bullying, and the anxiety I have acquired since, combined I have developed severe depression over the years. I also had epilepsy as a child which affected the emotional part of my brain. Some days for a long period of time, it's a struggle for me to even function as a normal adult. Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand this and constantly expect me to have a smile on my face even when I feel horrible. Therefore, instead of having an understanding friend to talk to, I get someone who just brings me down even more and criticizes me for feeling the way I do. It gets to the point that I am afraid to even voice my opinion online for fear I will have someone coming down on me. I have had others tell me in the past not to be so negative, but when you get in these states it is very hard to be positive. All I need sometimes is just someone to listen and pray for me.
I always try to be there for my friends when I feel like I can be mentally, and it hurts when I can't have the gesture returned. All this has built up over the years to the point that I feel like really all I truly have is my writing. It is what makes me happy, disappearing into a whole other world and dealing with other's problems that are a lot worse than my own.
I cannot stand bullying, and it sickens me to see where it's gone all these years. With the internet it's even easier now to make a kid's life a living hell, and for what? A laugh? Because you're bored? And it's not just kids now, it's adults! My own generation. Authors bullying other authors. Give me a break, people!
It's a horrible issue that should not even be an issue but I have a feeling it will be for a long time to come if more people do not take a stand. For now, all people like me can do is blog about it, take part in a campaign, have a special giveaway to raise awareness, and write about it. I have a few ideas in my new series for a cyber bullying storyline, as well as perhaps a school shooting stemming from someone who has been bullied for way too long while parents and officials did nothing about it.
For now, in the words of Ellen, "Be kind to one another."
Seriously, is it really that hard??