Letter to a Bullied Girl

Okay, so I'm kind of freaking out a little bit. I received an email from a follower of this blog. I tried to email her back, but her account wasn't accepting emails. The girl said that she was being bullied and that she has tried to commit suicide several times and that she knows she will again. She also asked for help on writing about her experiences with being bullied and wanted some advice.

The fact that I can't reach her is scaring me, so I'm posting the email (of course, I'm not using her name) I sent back to her. Hopefully she reads this and doesn't go through with any more suicide attempts. And hopefully this gives hope to others who might be struggling with the same thing.

In any case, I hope this letter finds the right person at the right time. (And please don't mind the long-windedness and emotional repetition -- I was very anxious to get this out to someone who was hurting, so I didn't take the time to self-edit.)

Dear ______,

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. First of all, I'm so sorry that you've gone through such terrible times with bullies. If you have taken the time to check out my latest anthology, DEAR BULLY: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, you will see that you are in some excellent company. So many of my author friends (many who share their experiences with bullies in the book) have gone through terrible bullying situations. I was bullied when I was in college and I thought that my situation was bad, but when I heard other stories, I realized that so many have gone through much, much worse. And they've all come out the other side. The fact that some of the most successful authors today were victims of bullying should give you some hope. They used their pain, their stories, their experiences to become the brilliant writers that they are today.

You need to join them and become one of those important voices. 

The fact that you've had so many suicide attempts saddens and frustrates me. You are a voice that we need to hear. The world needs to hear you. Don't take that away from us. This part of your life will feel so small and so far away if you can just get through the next few years. And then you will laugh at those who treated you badly, because you will be better than they ever were. You will be stronger, smarter, more resilient than your bullies EVER will be. 

Times like these when it feels like there is no end in sight to the bullying is when you need to turn inward and focus on yourself. Read. Write. Find others who share your passion. So many writers who were bullied as kids turned to books for shelter and escape.  Some of them said that at times they felt like books were their only friends; authors were the only ones who truly understood them.  And then they grew up and started writing for teens who were just like them -- giving them the lifeboat that they received when they needed it most.

My suggestion to you is to write, write, write, read, read, read. That's the best thing you can do right now. It will give you a sense of purpose and an escape from what you are going through right now. Once you have left those bullies behind, you will go on to do great things. But why wait? Do it now. Start writing your stories. Think about what you are going through right now and imagine that you are giving advice to a young girl, younger than you. A beautiful, talented, smart girl who was bullied so badly that she wanted to end her own life. Write to that girl and give her the strength to pull through and come out the other side. Stories like that are invaluable. Many of the authors in DEAR BULLY found themselves writing to their younger selves, giving them the advice they wish they had when they were your age. Most of them felt the process was therapeutic and wished they had done it earlier in their lives, so that it would help to heal old wounds. 

The wounds from bullying never really go away, just as the wounds from any traumatic experience linger. But they make you who you are. They make you stronger. And soon (very very soon) you will be at a point where you can look back at this time in your life as something that happened to you, but did not conquer you. You will not lose this battle. Don't let the bullies win. The wounds are there, but they have no power over you. Only if you let them. And you are stronger than that, I can tell.

So from one creative writing spirit to another, I'm wishing you all the best on this journey. You will survive this. You will overcome. And I look forward to meeting you on the bookshelves one day in the not-too-distant future.

Sending you one great big hug and the strength to wake up each morning and take on the day (and those hateful, mean-spirited bullies) no matter what. 


P.S. Please don't ever try a suicide attempt again. We need you, your voice, your heart, your spirit in this world. Think of all the people you can help with your words, the lives that you can impact and ultimately save.