As part of the August 2015 GHF Blog Hop, I’m sharing an excerpt from the Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families prologue. (Note, too, that NEXT WEEK over on Goodreads I’m hosting a giveaway of the book.)
Imagine you are a child standing on a playground behind your elementary school. It is the middle of recess on a warm spring day. You are a girl, eight or nine years of age.
While the other children scamper about and happily play on seesaws, swings, and the monkey bars, you are alone. Once again you are excluded by the same small group of girls, a pack that alternates between being your friends and your sworn enemies. You are unsure what you have done wrong this time, but they have made it clear that they do not like you.
One of them actually used those words earlier: “Hey, we don’t like you.”
They tell you that a lot. They also change the reasons why they do not like you.
Sometimes they say you talk too much.
Sometimes they say you think you are smarter than they are.
Other times they say that you dress funny or your hair is too curly and weird.
Occasionally, they decide that they do they like you. For a few days you enjoy the feeling of acceptance. Yet, it still feels awkward.
Some days you feel anger rise up and you spout off to the clique’s ringleader that you do not like the way they treat you and other kids. She mocks you openly. Once you became so frustrated with the perpetual cycle of your being liked/not liked/liked/not liked that you made a diagram illustrating the aggression cycle in the clique. You shared it with the girls in hopes of resolving the problem and working collaboratively on a solution.
That encounter did not go well. They called you “weird.” They rolled their eyes while pointing one finger at their temples and twisting their wrists to make loops in the air. Crazy.
You wept. You only wanted to help and you used your powers of observation and curiosity and your innate sense of social justice to come up with a plan. No one cared. You’re weird.
For you, school is a drag. You get frequent stomachaches from anxiety. They hurt so much you think you might die. Your chest hurts.
Your head hurts. You dread the bus ride to school and back. Decades later you will loathe the smell of burnt cinnamon rolls because it smells like the school cafeteria—where you experienced profound isolation and pain.
Most days when you get home from school, you are so worn out from the emotional gamesmanship that you overwhelm your mother by discharging words and feelings. You can tell that your frustration in turn makes her uncomfortable and angry. Together you feel powerless and overwhelmed.
As you may have guessed, the girl in this particular vignette was me–which explains at last why writing this book was so cathartic. (In case you’re wondering, the other vignettes in the prologue are composites.)
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• If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, click here for options. (Many, many thanks to those of you who have read the book and left reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.)
• Speaking of Goodreads, fon’t forget that I’ll be starting a GIVEAWAY of Gifted, Bullied, Resilient on August 29. Be sure to follow me over there to get updates. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.
• Finally, be sure to take a few minutes to read what other have to say on this important topic via today’s blog hop:
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