Interview #78, with author of BULLIED: Katherine Mayfield!
Katherine was first interviewed on this blog in 2012. She has written a new, very important and socially-minded book titled BULLIED — so read on for more details on the project!
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Hi Katherine! Describe your latest book in 5 words:
Guide to recovery from bullying.
What inspired the book?
Two things: one is that I feel very sad when I hear about another teen who has committed suicide in response to bullying, and the other is that I was bullied as a child, and when I was in my thirties, I thought seriously about committing suicide because I was still so full of pain. It took me a long time to recover from the bad experiences I had as a kid.
With this book, I wanted to reach out to young people who are in distress and pain, and show them that there is a way out of the darkness, that bullying does end, and that by letting go of their bad feelings and focusing on what they enjoy and do well, they can move forward and create a much better life. I wish there had been a book like this when I was growing up.
Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):
“If someone is bullying you based on what you look like—if you’re taller or shorter than other people, or if you have braces or glasses, or anything else—they are using one single characteristic about your physical appearance to judge the entirety of who you are. One trait does not define your real self. You are not a nose, or a pair of glasses, or the clothes you wear. Everyone has talents and gifts, and no matter what you look like, when you focus on your gifts, you can live up to your potential and ultimately become a much happier person.”
— BULLIED: A guide to recovery from bullying, by Katherine Mayfield
Share some of your favorite quotations (10-100 words):
These are some quotes included in Bullied:
“Imagine the choices you’d make if you had no fear—of falling, of losing, of being alone, of disapproval.”
~ Martha Beck
“One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.””
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.”
~ Samuel Butler
“Instinct is the nose of the mind.”
~ Madame De Girardin (French author)
In the introduction, you mention that you were bullied during school days. Did you ever want to retaliate against the people who bullied you at the time?
Great question, Jess! Yes, I did, but I was way too afraid. The feeling of violence was in my nerves and wanted to get out, and so one day I started petting the cat a little too hard, and my mother said, “Gently! Gently!” I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I spanked my dolls when I was a kid to try to get rid of some of those bad feelings.
I think that a lot of bullies have been bullied themselves, or violated in some way, so they take their anger out on people who seem quiet or weaker or less able to defend themselves. Sometimes the smartest, most creative and innovative people are the ones who are bullied, because others are jealous and want to cut them down to “normal” size. But I believe that people are meant to grow and explore and invent and create, and become the very best and biggest that they possibly can. I wish our society encouraged that more than it does.
Well-said! What were some of the challenges involved with writing BULLIED?
Another great question! There’s a part of me that really does not want to look at these issues, at the pain in my past, and at the continuing stories about young people who end their lives because they can’t stand the bullying anymore. So I had some resistance to finishing the project, even though I believe it will be helpful to others.
In my family, a huge value was placed on helping others and relieving pain, and that’s what keeps me writing books on these subjects even though sometimes it’s difficult for me. If I can help people heal the way I have healed, then the work is absolutely worth it.
What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?
Resting! Relaxing! Having fun! And I have two other memoirs in process, along with a workbook for people who have been emotionally abused that my muse is encouraging me to work on. And then there’s the novel I’ve been writing for about ten years…
I’m also going to be teaching a couple of writing workshops, and several workshops on writing and publishing memoir. I always think, “When winter gets here, I really want to hibernate for awhile,” but so far it hasn’t happened.
It’s good to be busy ;) Please share with us your websites/blogs/etc:
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Much thanks to Katherine for stopping by — be sure to check out the above links for more info on BULLIED!
KATHERINE’S BIO: Katherine Mayfield is the award-winning author of Bullied: Why You Feel Bad Inside and What to Do About It, The Box of Daughter; Healing the Authentic Self, and Dysfunctional Families: The Truth Behind the Happy Family Façade. She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.
You can also preorder a copy of BULLIED on Katherine’s website.
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