5 Reasons Bullying Made Me A Better Writer #1000Speak – Building On Bullying

5 Reasons Bullying Made Me a Better Writer

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.compassion-logo-finished1-864x864

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.

33 comments

  1. Scars are tougher than skin… Boy, is that hard to read, Sacha. Tears on the journal page are never wasted tears, are they, whatever their cause. The fact you dig deep within and pull yourself inside out to rise above abuse is bloody admirable. – no bloody miraculous. I’m glad you posted. I hope you are too. If only one person catches something of this, you will have done a bundle of good.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 😊 thank you for such lovely words of encouragement. I always thought I was pants at poetry but it was such an experience writing it, gives you a freedom with description that story telling doesn’t allow 🙂 I am chuffed I wrote something that could make you feel that much 😊😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post Sacha. Sorry you had to go through it, but brilliant to see your fantastic reaction. I was lucky and didn’t experience bullying until I was adult. And yup, it hit me for six and I’m not sure my reactions of shame and incomprehension were any different from a child’s. But, like you it drove me to write. My first book was merely a distraction to stop my mind going over and over the comments and behaviour of a small group of people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. It has always shocked me that adults can bully. Have we not grown up? Do we not know better? It’s beyond me that a grown adult can justify behaving like that to another person. I’m so sorry you experienced it as an adult, I think it’s worst than experiencing it as a child. I’m glad you found an outlet though. Writing is so amazing for so many reasons 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Sacha! Bravery and honesty, a winning combination. You have risen from the ashes of yourself like a phoenix, now it’s time to soar wooohoooo! What a feeling!

    Scars are tougher than skin, fantastic line.

    Ps I was bullied at senior school for three years too, physically and verbally, so I have an idea of what you went through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you 😄 that’s my fave line from it – altho I like the dirty words covered in hate too. it’s just awful, I’m sorry you suffered at their hands too . I have no idea what makes people think it’s ok to treat others that way. Hope you have a fabulous weekend 😄

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I lived in Guildford and commuted into London to Kensington High Street before moving to Ireland… what a culture shock! I love living here though. First place that ever really felt like home, and yet until I moved here,I had no calling or interest in even visiting. Isnt that strange? Life’s mysterious journey…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful, powerful words. I was bullied too for 7 years and I firmly believe this: “And you know what, I wouldn’t change a single day of it, because it really has made me who I am.” The bullies left me with the gifts of compassion, empathy, courage, resilience, and so much more. And for that I am grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for saying such lovely things ☺️☺️ im glad you agree because as much as it was an awful experience we are a product of our history. What wonderful gifts you got from such an awful experience. Thank you for taking the time to read my post 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t read and reblog all of the posts on #1000Speak for Compassion, but yours was one that I consider valuable in that it may inspire those who are or were subjected to bullying to believe in themselves. Thank you for the thoughtful article, and for being courageous enough to admit that you were once bullied. ♥

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like I am not the first to feel the weight of your words here. The skin we live in is the only skin we’ll ever have. The scars we carry show our struggles and yet we carry on.
    The act of writing has saved so many…you, me, and many others. Words have power and help us take control of life.
    Well-done. I don’t feel that poetry is my strength either, but occasionally I am inspired to write it anyway and some people have told me they almost like it better than my prose. It’s that which we think we aren’t any good at that can sometimes surprise us most.
    Have a great weekend and take care. Keep up the great writing.
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I have been overwhelmed and stunned by the wonderful comments left by everyone on this post and particularly about the poem. You are right, I was surprised I was even able to write a poem let alone that it was an ok one!!

      I’m so glad that you found writing to be a solace. I really do think it literally saved my life. I found a little piece of myself that I’d lost.

      Have a fab weekend im going to pop over to your blog later 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I should have mentioned the poem as well, because it gave me goosebumps. I agree that the imagery of “scars are tougher than skin” is a good one. It made me think of the many young people, girls in particular, who turn to cutting themselves to relieve the frustration of being unable to express their pain. Scars can be both psychological and physical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, now I am just blushing! You have done my confidence the world of good. I really am blown away by how many lovely things people have said about that poem. That line particularly. I had a bit of an epiphany over it, it was the first thing that came to me other than the repeating line. I love that, thats what it made you think of, I was thinking a variety of things when I wrote, it. But its made my day that it gave you such powerful imagery. Really thank you so so much for taking the time to write such lovely things 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on The Non-Fiction Novelist and commented:
    I am reblogging this post from Sacha Black because of the insight she has about how bullying made her a better writer. I was never bullied, but I understand how being bullied can make someone think and feel differently than others. That’s the part – the feeling different part – to which I can relate, understand and appreciate. I applaud Sacha for speaking out.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you’re right about bullying being universal and difficult to discuss even. Easy to sit back and say, “Stop Bullying”! But much more difficult to say how bullying hurt us. You went beyond the hurt to the development of your inner writer. That in itself is a journey and so important to share because we are all on a journey, and seeing how to stand up and fight back can help someone realize or reflect, and stand up, too. Great insights, Sacha! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charli, it’s kind of sad that its universal – why do we as a species think its ok to treat our own kind like that? Why are we not all more supportive and kinder to each other, two heads are better than one, and ten better than two you know? makes me sad that we live in such a backwards society. We most definitely are on a journey, and what wonderful people I am meeting along the way 🙂 thanks for commenting.

      Like

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