The Dear Bully anthology, edited by Carrie Jones and Megan Kelly Hall,with essays from 70 different authors (including me) talking about their bullying experiences, is out this week.
My own bullying experiences–which didn’t involve any specific person, but pretty much my entire school, through elementary school and junior high–pretty much defined my school experiences. I’ve never made any secret of them, and I never saw them afterwards as a source of shame. In a strange way, I see them as a source of pride: because here I am, still standing and happy and living my life and no longer defined by those experiences; and also because through all those years I never gave up pieces of myself in an attempt to fit in, something many of my supposedly more fortunate classmates can’t say.
But I also don’t wish those experiences on anyone, which is why … even though it feels strangely exposing to share my story in so public a place … I knew I had to do so. I don’t honestly know how much difference a single anthology will make, but if we don’t try to do what we can we’ll make no difference at all, and even if all the book does is tell a handful of kids, hey, other people have gone through this too, that’s no small thing.
I’m grateful for all the work the editors put into gathering our narratives together. It’s no small task, and it was done entirely as a volunteer effort (all editor/author proceeds are going to the charity Stomp Out Bullying), and it’s good to see it out in the world.