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Monday, October 15, 2012

Brian James speaks on bullying & a giveaway


Today I have Brian James who shares his thoughts on bullying. He has also generously donated a signed copy of Life is but a Dream and Dirty Liar.
 
 
Brian James
 
 
I often write about characters who exist on the fringes. One reason why is because that is who I was as a teenager and I feel this need to give a voice to kids who felt alienated from the typical High School experience. I've always tried to share a point of view with readers that they may be unfamiliar with them because I believe a lot of bullying that happens stems from ignorance. Opening our eyes to the plight of others can go a long way in changing that.

My personal experiences with bullying lie on both ends of the spectrum. For most of my time in High School, I was an outcast. Before it was acceptable to listen to "weird" music, or shave your hair, or wear clothes that were different than what everyone else wore, it was perfectly okay for the kids in school to ridicule you in the halls, throw trash at you in the lunch room, and simply refer to you as "Freak." Granted, this experience is different than somebody being picked on for things he or she can't control. In a way, I chose this type of isolation and ridicule because I believed in being true to myself. Often I'd wear the disdain of others as a sort of badge of courage. But that doesn't mean it never led to moments of despair.

By the end of my High School career, the tables had turned a little bit. So-called "alternative" music and culture suddenly became cool. Almost overnight, my crowd went from being shunned to being courted. We became the trend setters, the cool kids. After enduring three years of randomly being shoved and mocked, the temptation to suddenly lash out was irresistible. I found myself becoming the one who ridiculed others in the hallways, who shouted hurtful things, who dumped all my frustrations onto easier targets. I did things that bother me even to this day. But that's the way bullying works. Like any kind of aggression, it becomes a cycle that never ends if it isn't addressed.

Every time I hear about a new school shooting, my heart not only goes out to the victims, but quite often to the perpetrator. That's because it's always the same story. It's always a kid who has been dumped on their entire life, who reaches a point of such hopelessness and bitterness that they feel their only option left is to take extreme action. We see it happen over and over and over again, and it always seems as if nothing is being done to deal with the real issues because it's easier to deal with the consequences. It's easier to put in metal detectors than it is to try engage the isolated kid in the back of the classroom.

There are no simple solutions to bullying. I honestly believe that open and honest dialogue is the only way to prevent it because tolerance comes from understanding, and understanding comes from listening. The real tragedy is that both the bully and the bullied are usually in desperate need of somebody to talk to, and neither are equipped with the skills to seek help. But each of us can play a part. We can refuse to accept the behavior within ourselves, and we can refuse to accept from our friends. Bullying is like a shadow, shining a light on it is one sure way to help make it disappear.
 
 
 
 
 
Both books are signed and donated by the author.
 
Rules:
13+
Open to everyone
Winner must respond within 48 hours
 


 
 
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. I saw this happen with some people at my school. Someone who was once picked on, ends up finally "fitting in" and then ends up being mean and insulting to the people who were their friend in the "uncool group". I was friends with people from every group. I was fortunate that I was never really picked on or bullied. Sure some people might have picked on my hair or flat chest, but somehow, I was always my own person and didn't care what anyone said or thought and I ended up being friends with everyone. I fit in to all the groups somehow.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that. It shows how easy it is to become a bully without even really understanding it. I also often feel some sympathy for the perpetrator in school shootings wondering what happened to bring that child to that level of desperation. Bullying can have fatal consequences on both sides, not to mention the emotional scars it leaves.
    Thanks so much for the giveaway! I read Life is but a Dream and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read more from this author! I'd love to have a signed copy of one of his books.

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  3. Hmm I can agree with you on this one!

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  4. I'd love to enter but I don't have Twitter :(

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