Hi friends and visitors,
For the longest time I have thought about writing my first non-fiction book about my own very real journey through life. I had thought my life not interesting enough for a book, but thinking back on all my experiences, there are some very important lessons to be learned and I have, after all, had an extraordinary life. There is a central theme running through my life and that is bullying. I am different. Because I am different I have been mistreated at times both as a young man and an adult. It is something of which I am truthfully embarrassed. I don’t know why, I guess it’s because we are told that bullies prey on the weak and the last thing I want to be remembered for is being weak.
Throughout my life, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve (hence the cover). What you see is what you get. No airs or graces, just me. Real, flawed, vulnerable, but always hopeful that around each corner awaits a better life. I have, of course, had many good experiences and I am blessed with two great children (now adults) and the most wonderful wife a man could hope to be married to. But even with all the blessings (and there are many) there is also heartache. I have often wondered why I have been so misunderstood and why some people (more than a few) have seen me as an easy target. I guess it’s because I do wear my heart on my sleeve and by attacking me, they make themselves look good.
Bullying is, whether we like it or not, part of life, but whilst it’s easy to understand why kids pick on the weak and even easier to forgive them, when you are bullied by your peers, your colleagues or even your boss, it is much harder to deal with and even harder to forgive, let alone forget.
In my many stories, differences are celebrated and although my characters are in many cases maligned, dispossessed, cast out and treated meanly, they always triumph and come out of it stronger for the experience. How I wish it was that easy in real life. It never ceases to amaze me how much I am inspired by my own stories, as if they are speaking to me, encouraging me to endure. Whether it’s Red Bear, Lilly (The Black Fairy), Glenys (The Little Green Hen) or even Kipp The Kid, each of my characters has to deal with considerable hardship and bullying is certainly part of their journey.
These stories have served as an antidote for the meanness, the relentless persecution at the hands of others, simply for being me. That this has followed me into adulthood is, well, troubling. I used to want to be someone else. I used to dream that I was loved by everyone. I used to imagine what life would have been like if I wasn’t so odd, so unusual, so different. If you met me in real life, you would understand where I am coming from. I have been at war with myself, fighting to bring some sense of normalcy to my personality, up until recently. But lately, I had decided to celebrate, rather than regret my differences, using them as inspiration for the stories I so love to write.
Bullying is a hideous disease in society. It’s purpose is to squash, to push down, to destroy the soul. It is enacted by people who want to draw attention away from their own inadequacies. They malign, they undermine, they gossip, they tell lies and when they are done destroying one individual, they immediately move on to others they see as threats. In the end it matters little why people do this. It only matters THAT they do it. By picking on those who they see as weaker than them, bullies gain a deluded sense of artificial self-importance and status. In their own eyes the feel it elevates them in their small world and they tend to surround themselves with allies who are just as superficial, shallow, mean and needy.
You see it everywhere. But it is online, in the artificial social world created by brilliant minds, but controlled by no one, that this bullying reaches a whole new level. The results of bullying in childhood continues into adulthood and you will often find those who were bullied at school are also the same ones bullied at work. This is learned behavior. It starts in the home, is mastered at school and because bullies tend to get away with it, when they become adults the bullying not only continues, but becomes much more sophisticated. It is society that allows bullies to succeed, by failing to properly deal with it in school and then not only allowing it at work, but encouraging it by promoting bullies, mistaking their bullying for ambition.
And so, of course I wanted to write a book about it. I have made the decision. I have even come up with a title and a cover. If you have been bullied in your life, you may indeed find this book intriguing, sometimes entertaining, often heart breaking but also inspiring. If you have been a bully in life, you probably won’t read it. Because to a bully this might well be an expose on their modus operandi. And the one thing a bully does not like is to be exposed for the fraud he or she really is.
What are your own thoughts on bullying and how do you feel about this proposed new book?