50: Don’t Fight It, Just Write It

50: Don’t Fight It, Just Write It

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Kids

Don’t Fight It, Just Write It

Stay strong. Stand up. Have a voice.

~Shawn Johnson

As a little girl in elementary school, I was unusual in many ways. I was born in a Caribbean country called Trinidad and Tobago. I loved to wear flashy clothes that were not the latest trends. I was very shy and became frightened easily. I wore glasses. I had imaginary friends, and I was very, very good at language arts. All the things that made me unique also made me a target for bullies.

In second grade, another student caught me talking to my imaginary friend in the library one day about my love for books. She told everyone I was talking to myself. The rest of the class had a great laugh at my expense. After I walked into my third grade class wearing glasses for the first time, everyone started calling me four-eyes and nerd.

When I gave a presentation in fourth grade about where I was born, no one had ever heard of Trinidad and Tobago, so they made fun of me and called me an alien from outer space. A group of boys used to point at me and laugh at my brightly colored clothes every day. And a girl I really wanted to be friends with told me if I didn’t do her Language Arts homework for her every day, she would never speak to me again.

Sometimes I came home feeling very sad, and I was afraid to tell anyone about what happened or how I felt. So I would go to my room, take out some paper, and write a pretend letter to my imaginary friend whom I called Star. After I felt better, I would crumple up the letters and throw them away as a symbol of starting fresh. Soon, I ended up writing every day in a notebook, and it became my personal, secret journal that I hid under my bed. My journal entries would all begin with “Dear Star.” I realized that writing helped me feel better because I also wrote about happy things as well. In my notebook, I wrote in all different colors and even drew funny pictures sometimes.

As time went on, every time someone hurt my feelings or something made me sad, I would come home and write about it to Star. Eventually, I realized that I was good at writing, so I started writing stories like the ones I would read all the time from the library. I started turning my bullies into mythical creatures and silly characters in stories where I could control what happened. If the guy who laughed at my clothes wore a green shirt that day, I would come home and write a story about a green monster who I turned into a butterfly with my magic wand. If they laughed at my glasses, I would write a story about a girl who had magic glasses that gave her the power to see through walls like Superman.

But even though I would write these cool stories in my room, it didn’t stop the bullies from picking on me and I was too afraid to stand up to them. I knew I had to do something because I did not like crying every day. I decided to use my writing ability to reach out for help. One day, I wrote a letter to my teacher about what I was going through, the same way I would write to Star. She talked to me kindly one day after school and told me my letter made her cry and that she was proud of my courage and creativity. She called my parents to explain that she would make sure the bullying stopped. She took charge of the situation because of my letter and had a serious talk with my bullies and the entire class.

My bravery in telling the truth through a letter inspired my teacher to ask all the students to write letters to her about their feelings regarding bullying. She was amazed by the feedback she got from the letters. It was useful because she did not know how much bullying was going on right under her nose. After that, she came up with new activities for us to play together so we would get to know each other better. She made us talk about things we were good at and taught us how to point out the good things about fellow classmates. She developed stricter rules for conduct that included bullying clauses. This made my life a whole lot better. Through writing, I made a difference.

Today, I am a professional writer, editor, and author. I’ve written for newspapers and magazines. My stories, both fiction and nonfiction, are inspired by all the great and not-so-great things that I have experienced, and continue to experience, in life. Writing about my feelings not only helped me survive childhood bullying, it has become my career and my favorite hobby in the world.

The lessons I learned from this childhood experience have benefited me my entire life and made me a better person. First of all, don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Always try to find the good qualities in other people. And if you are afraid to speak out about something that is bothering you, then write it.

~Neesha Hosein

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