Bullying is an issue that touches all of us at one time or another in our lives. Whether we were bullied, were the bully, we witness bullying, our friends, family, or children were bullied...it affects us. Unfortunately, with social media, the news, and how our world operates, I personally don't see it going away any time soon.
When I was in elementary and middle school, I was always bullied for my height. I was always taller than all the boys, and one year I was even taller than my teacher. I was called names like the Jolly Green Giant, Big Foot, Sasquatch...you name it. As a young girl, for me to be bullied about something that was completely out of my control, really took a toll on my self esteem. I remember going to bed at night and praying to God to help me stop growing. It wasn't until I was older that I began to see being tall as a beautiful thing....and that was after some serious work on self love!
With all of this said though, I have also been on the other side of bullying...I was the bully. In high school, like many young teens, I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be cool, and most of all I did not want to be the one who was bullied. In high school, there was one boy in particular who I had picked on. My friends and I were so unbelievably cruel to him. I absolutely knew what I was doing was rotten, but I wanted to fit in, and to a high school girl, that was the priority at the time. Regardless, we found humor at his expense.
Flash forward years later, and I found myself continuously going back to how cruel I had been to this individual. I felt so much regret for how I had personally treated him, and how I made him feel. It was something that I thought about often throughout the years after graduation. Then, one day, he showed up out of nowhere as a friend suggestion from Facebook. I thought to myself, this is my time to apologize. Though it was years later, and I was honestly embarrassed, I did it anyway. I messaged him with the apology he deserved from the years before. I was expecting him to tell me how awful I made him feel, how much I had ruined his self esteem, and how much he was bothered by how my friends and I had treated him....BUT he didn't....He thanked me for my apology, but he didn't even remember that I was mean to him in high school! After years of beating myself up for bullying him, I realized that I was the one suffering from my actions...not him! Though I am happy that I was finally able to apologize, and that I did not make the impact on him that I had thought I did, it was definitely a lesson for me.
My personal experiences with bullying are what led me to write and publish How Owls Become Wise. How Owls Become Wise, is a story about bullying and self correction, in hopes that it will help parents, guardians, and teachers get the conversation around bullying started. My hope is to raise awareness around bullying, and inform children that is it okay to make mistakes as long as they can learn and grow from them.
10% of profits from each book sold will be donated to Unify Against Bullying, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring an end to bullying through the celebration of true diversity.
With Love & Gratitude,