I was bullied as a child. Bullied for something I had absolutely no control over. I was born with a cleft lip and palate, which, if you are not familiar, is the incomplete fusing of the facial bones. Basically, my face was a mess. I’d like to say that the cruel taunts of my classmates didn’t affect me, but I would be lying.
I didn’t let them stop me from doing anything, for that is not my nature to do so: I was a cheerleader, I acted in the school plays, I was in a baton corp that had me travelling all over the country performing. But, bullying affected my life in such a way that my confidence was shaken, I had trouble trusting people and held a great deal of resentment inside.
On the outside, I seemed happy. I married, had children, but now and then in times of great stress, I hear those voices, even thirty plus years later. So, in 2009, I published The Snake Pit: Jr. High Can Be Torture, which deals with bullying in the public schools. It was a short story, but touched a nerve with a lot of people. It was my intent to bring the issue of bullying to the forefront and get people talking.
Have I been successful? If you asked me that question a year ago, I would’ve said no. Recently I received a message on the Snake Pit fan page. It started out with the words: I am a bully. My heart stopped. I couldn’t imagine what this message was going to say. I read on and it was a note from a girl in Florida who had read my book. She went on to say that she had been a bully to a girl in her class for many years, and that my book touched her in such a way that she immediately called the girl and apologized and promised to never bully another person again.
So, has The Snake Pit been a success? Absolutely. Not only is there a girl in Florida who is no longer being bullied, there is another girl in Florida who is no longer being a bully. And there is no greater success than that.
Not in my class…Not in my school…Not in my sight. NO more bullying.
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