Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Author Spotlight - Michelle Levigne talks about bullies

In "Invitation to a Wedding," our heroine faces the ultimate nasty trick, played on her by the "mean girls" who have come back to town for the wedding celebration of her best friend from childhood.

Stacy was the housekeeper's granddaughter, and even though the Ashcrofts treated her like a member of the family, obviously the other "social elite" families in Tabor Heights didn't agree with them, because their daughters grew up trying to keep Stacy in "her place," and interfere with her friendship with Dinah Ashcroft.

I've never had anyone play such a nasty trick on me -- try to keep me from a friend's party, or cut me out of an activity where I had every right to be there, but I've suffered other "slings and arrows" of abuse, criticism, mockery, and people telling two different stories to keep two sides apart. (Does that make any sense?) The best tactic when dealing with "social bullies," as I call them, is communication. Stacy and Dinah drifted apart and stopped communicating. The bullies never would have gotten between them if they had talked to each other.

Instead of believing someone when they say, "Jenny doesn't want to hang around with you," confront Jenny directly. I wish I had learned that lesson years ago. There are people who believe I hate them, when it turns out that a third party told me they didn't want to be around me, and then told them the same thing about me!
I dream of the day when these people who discouraged me and bruised my feelings and my dreams will want something from me ... and yes, I admit, I want to "get some back" at them.

It's not nice. It's something I'm working on. My favorite scenario, practiced many times in my imagination, is for them to come up to me at a booksigning with some friends they want to impress. They'll exclaim about how great I look, and how well my books are selling, and they're so glad for me -- and when they try to hug me, I'll pull back and say, "Sorry, I don't recognize you. Where do I know you from?"
I hope I grow to the point that I forget about the bruises, the hurt feelings, the lies people have told about me, the mockery -- so that when someone shows up, claiming to be an old friend, it's the truth when I say, "Sorry, I honestly don't recognize you. Where do we know each other from?" And when they tell me, I'll be glad to see them.

That's the biggest triumph over bullies. To lose the hurt they tried to inflict on us. To succeed despite their mockery and lies and trying to put us in what they believe is our "proper place."




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