I know I don’t usually get too emotional here, but I’m going to for a sec. Because I’m taking a quick break from working on my newest YA book. And this particular story, is digging up a lot of my past that was less than pleasant.
For most of my childhood, I attended a private school that although meant well and tried to help, was basically useless in the realm of preventing bullying. It was a tiny class that just got worse and worse as years went by. I didn’t transfer right away because we really didn’t know of any similar options for schooling at the time, and it was decided that I would stick it out, since I did have at least one good friend that would be there for me. Thankfully, it was more psychological than physical bullying, but still hard when you’re growing up and getting used to being excluded all the time. In your formative years, that messes with your head especially a lot. And although the teachers tried to help, they never laid down the law enough to really make a difference. I know they tried, and I appreciate that. But it wasn’t enough. And punishing the whole class for very isolated stupidity was, well, stupid.
So I stuck it out until like fifth grade, when it got so bad that I transferred. But the academics weren’t up to par in that even smaller school, and so I went back to the original one as there was a new girl entering the class who I hoped to befriend. And befriend her I did, until she later joined the bullies and stabbed me in the back, conveniently while I was stranded for three days on a class trip in Pennsylvania at the end of eighth grade. She’s a real keeper, eh?
Okay, so that’s enough griping for one post. But I wanted to share, because I’ve come a long way since then. In high school, far away from those bullies, I met some amazing friends. I met even more friends in college that I am so grateful for. But this new book I’m writing, is basically a reimagining of my 13-year-old self. Seventh grade, arguably one of the worst years for bullying, is coming back to me in waves. I’m getting that second chance to process this the way I need to.
And that’s where this song comes in. Taylor Swift has such a knack for living in a parallel universe to my experiences, because I swear she must have gone through something similar in the second verse. Check out these lyrics, and then listen to the full song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7banxRJy1uI
I’m thirteen now
And don’t know how my friends
Could be so mean
I come home crying
And you hold me tight
And grab the keys
And we drive and drive
Until we found a town
Far enough away
And we talk and window-shop
Until I forgot all their names
I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to
Now at school
But I know I’m laughing on the car ride home with you
don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day
With you today
My mom would totally do this with me. We’d go shopping, talk about everything, and then think up ways to work through it. Even if it wasn’t anything external, she taught me ways to steel myself for these attacks, and to come out of them even stronger. My favorite advice my mom ever gave me? “Don’t be afraid to be a bitch sometimes.” Still rings true today, almost ten years later.
This book, is going to function a bit as a memoir, but also as a second chance for me to rewrite my own story. After all, isn’t that why anyone writes?
Stay tuned for updates on this latest YA book dealing with bullying, loneliness, exclusion, and more. ALSO, The Sorting Room will be an audio book very soon! Don’t want to wait for that though? Grab a copy of it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B07B8Q4573/ref=dp_st_1546936637
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