Creativity Against Bullying

October 2012 is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. If you’ve been bullied — or if you’ve been a bully and realize you need to stop — there are more resources now then ever. Please find the help you need. One place to start is the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center.

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If you are reading this, chances are you are a reader. And if you are a reader, there’s a fair to middlin’ chance you were bullied as a kid. There is apparently something irresistible to a bully about a kid with her nose in a book.

Nerd. Geek. Freak. Weirdo. The ever-popular Four-Eyes.*

Yeah. Guilty as charged, and proud of it. Proud now, anyway. At the time, I sat in the way back corner of the lunch room by myself with my sack lunch (no way would I risk standing in the line at the counter where I might have to talk to someone) and of course my book. I was lucky. My schools were mostly safe suburban places with mostly safe suburban kids. Plus, I had the advantage of being less a target (with a few exceptions) than a ghost. Most of the time, I was invisible. Books were a way to enhance and actually enjoy that invisibility.

Can you identify the future Jessa Slade?

Can you identify the future Jessa Slade?** It’s a little tricky because for once she doesn’t have a book. Horses were almost as good as books though. Actually, book + horse = girl dream.

When author and advice columnist Dan Savage founded the It Gets Better project, I thought it was a great message. Because it really DOES get better. With time, the insular, powerless world of the bullied does widen. You find your people and find your voice.

Today, some of the coolest people I know come from the bullied classes: the quiet ones, the smart ones, the weird ones. To get through the hard times, they read, they wrote, they made music, they drew and painted, they took photographs. They created new worlds for themselves. Maybe at first those new worlds only existed on paper, but eventually those worlds came to life. Creation as a way to escape became creation for passion’s sake, a passion that could never be slapped out of their hands and was too strong to be mocked.

I hope the new focus on anti-bullying helps those who need it. And I wish everyone could find the spark that turns negativity into creation.

Much thanks to Yasmine Galenorn and Mandy Roth for proposing and organizing this anti-bullying blog hop.

To read more from Authors Against Bullying, follow the blog hop with these authors and feel free to post a link to your blog in comments:

* Also, Giraffe. What sort of weak-minded bully uses Giraffe as an insult? First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being tall and quiet with admittedly knobby knees. And second, giraffes are awesome, as anybody could tell you.

** I’m the one in the pink pants with the oh-so-welcoming body language. I never liked photographs because they messed with my invisibility superpower.

36 thoughts on “Creativity Against Bullying

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  19. Jessa,

    As one who also hid from the chaotic world of verbal bullying at school and alchoholic disfunction at home, I just wanna say ‘Hallelujah!’ for all of us who morphed our escape into a passion into a career. Go, Creative Ones!

    Katherine Paterson, (Bridge to Terebithia) said (loose quote) ‘I think there’s an unwritten rule that every successful author had to have a difficult childhood.’ Obviously she was being a bit facetious, but she does remind us that the drive to commit to something day after day, hour after hour, does often come from an original need to escape one’s circumstances.

    I hope that out of October as Anti-Bullying Month will come understanding and acceptance for many, many young people. And the courage to create and to let our light shine.

    thanks for caring enough to share,
    Cathryn Cade

    • Sometimes I think of a world where there wasn’t any stress or difficulty, and I think that would probably be bad in its own way…but I’d like to try it, just for a little while!

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  23. What a cute picture! I wish that there was anti-bullying awareness when I was in school. It would have made growing up so much less painful. Sadly, I was never invisible although I wished I were. I escaped into books and used the library as my sanctuary. No wonder I’m a writer!

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