I had to coax myself into posting this. Not because I didn’t want to do a post for #1000Speak, but because bullying is one of those things that everyone has been affected by, and I am no exception. It’s all a little close to the bone. Bullying is one of those universal topics that touches the lives of almost everyone. But I want to focus on the positive. On why being bullied made me a better writer. Without having been bullied I wouldn’t have focused on writing in my youth, and I probably wouldn’t have realised writing was my dream. So am I compassionate with the bullies? No, probably not, I know that’s the point of 1000speak, but, I am grateful for the experience of bullying.
But first – #1000speak is a concept whereby, writers, bloggers, people, come together on a single day to speak about compassion. February 20th 2015 saw the first event, and today March 20th is the second, and this months topic is building on bullying. So I thought what better way to talk about it, than to consider what the experience of bullying did to my writing. Oddly enough, the more I thought about it, the more I realised just how significant of an effect it actually had. I think there are 5 key reasons bullying made me a better writer:
1. Bullying made me introspective – It might sound odd, but looking in on myself wasn’t something I was that bothered about until I was bullied.
When a bully picked up on a trait, or a fault, or a mannerism that perhaps I hadn’t paid much attention to, it made me overly self aware, and analytical. But that’s a good thing, not for the damage it did to my psyche or confidence, but for the mind set it put me in. As a writer and creator of characters I need to be able to analyse, deconstruct even: behaviour, people, traits, mannerisms, everything. I need an eye for detail that is so scrupulous a microbe couldn’t walk across my nose with me scrutinizing it. It’s how we writers create and develop characters so life like, so emotional we can captivate audiences. There’s always a baddie, a villain or antagonist, and what better place to draw characteristics from than your own personal bully?!
Bullies made me introspect, made me understand my own behaviour, reactions and emotional constructs, and that…that made me a better writer, and a better crafter of characters.
2. Bullies made me write – Ok, so not the novel or short story type of writing I’m doing now, but writing nonetheless. I started writing through journaling. I have dozens of journals filled with hours and hours of hand written tales of she said this, and he did that, just littering my loft. If I hadn’t have been bullied, I would never have needed to write, I would never have found my passion, and for that, I am grateful. We all need practice, and I had hours of it, and now, I can focus for hours writing my novel, just as I did writing journals years ago.
3. Bullying made me determined – There’s nothing like being beaten down, being crushed and broken, having every ounce of your personality torn to shreds to make you want to get straight back up again. To say ‘Fuck You, you think I’m odd, well, I know I am beautiful.’ The harder the bullies would push me down, the more determined I was to rise up again and fight, even if that meant weeping into my journal in private. Bullies made me a fighter, and I am proud of it.
Now I fight to write my novel, fight distraction, procrastination and time but most of all, I fight the self-doubt. They taught me I was determined, and now I know I can do it, No… I know I will do it. I will finish my novel. If it wasn’t for the determination they showed me I had, I might have given up by now.
4. Bullying showed me how strong I was – I wasn’t just bullied once or twice, I was bullied for years, nine of them to be precise. Nine long grueling years of bully based torture. And you know what, I wouldn’t change a single day of it, because it really has made me who I am. Every time I got beaten down, I got tougher, stronger, more resilient. Each time it was harder for them to hurt me. And each time they did hurt me, and I still got back up again, I knew I was stronger than them.
Writing can be grueling, writing a novel is a marathon and that takes strength. It takes strength to submit to competitions, agents and publishers and when you get rejected time and time again, it takes strength to stand up and try again.
5. Bullying showed me I could win. Win against cowards, and malicious back stabbing Queen Bees. Bullying showed me that every time I got hurt I could get back up. It could show me that a tiny bit of rebellion, standing back up, knocks a bully off their perch. It turns that chip onto their shoulder into a fullscale amputation. Bullying made me realise that if you want something bad enough, if you are determined enough, you get knocked down enough times and stand right back up, it will happen, you can win. I know that, the experience of being knocked down, will help me when I get the inevitable trail of rejections from agents publishers and competition submissions. But you know what? I am going to stand right back up and try again, and one day I know I will win, I will finish my novel, and I will publish it.
I don’t often write poetry, but, in writing this post a phrase kept repeating in my mind. A phrase of the strong. So I just let the words flow and this is what came out of it…
Rise, Stand, Fight
No matter how many times you beat me with your jagged words,
wound me with your wicked ways, or tarnish my pure heart,
I will rise, I will stand and I will fight.
You can make my skin crawl with self-loathing,
make me doubt and judge myself,
but your dirty words all covered in hate are useless against my strength,
I will rise, I will stand and I will fight.
Your beatings, torture and abuse have marked my soul with shadows,
But scars are tougher than skin,
and that makes me tougher than you.
You can push me over, knock me down and crush me with your might,
But, I will rise, I will stand and I will fight.