Author Aija Mayrock Presents Her ‘Survival Guide to Bullying’

Teen author Aija Mayrock–yes, you read that right, she’s a teen and also a published author–knows a thing or two about surviving bullying in high school. “To anyone currently struggling with bullying, I would say that I and every other person that has survived bullying have been in that place where they don’t see a light, but you always have to see some flicker of light–even if you make it up. You need to see a direction and way out, because there is a way out. Nothing is permanent. Bullying will not last forever. It’s what’s in the here-and-now, but it doesn’t exist in your future. So become your own superhero.”

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Mayrock, now a sophomore at NYU, decided to be her own superhero at 16 when she wrote The Survival Guide to Bullying after suffering years of abuse in high school. “I remember that year there were a lot of teen suicides in the news, and it was really, really heartbreaking. There was one particular night where, I remember, I was doing homework, and I read an article about a 16 year old boy who had committed suicide, and there was just something about this kid that hit me. To me he looked like the kid that would never have been bullied. He was popular and an athlete and had everything going for him, but he saw no hope and he killed himself. I just started crying. I literally couldn’t stop crying. My mom came into my room and said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ And that was the moment I realized I have to write a book to help these kids make it through.“

This incident was the catalyst inspiring Aija to take action, the book was a long time coming. Her history as a victim of bullying when she was younger informed much of the book, truly some dark times for Aija. Her book details the intense bullying she suffered, both in person and online. During her hardest moments, she kept diaries of her struggles, which helped inspire her in the writing process. “I went and looked through my old diaries from when I was being bullied, and I suddenly understood all of these things that I wished I had known in my most difficult moments. I just started writing, almost like stream of consciousness, about all different things that could have gotten me through it.” But in addition to her own anecdotal tales, Aija also did some research. She interviewed psychologists on bullying and as read as much as she could on the subject. She wanted it to be a legitimate resource for people struggling with bullying, with events that–at the time–seem like they are life-or-death, but which with a little time and distance from the situation, one can indeed find a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

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The book is filled with a lot of practical advice as well creative expression. One really unique part of the book are the poems, sort of like rap poems. “I didn’t know how to begin, and at the time I was listening to a lot of rap music. So I started writing these kind of rap poems about bullying and about my experience, and there’s ten in the book. Wherever I go in the country to speak, I always perform them and the kids instantly respond.”

In fact, Aija gets letters daily from all kinds of people affected by her book. She recalls one story in particular: “I actually just got a tweet the other day from a man who was 58 and read the book. He said that it helped him because he was bullied in high school, and he still had the emotional scars of having been bullied, and this helped him get through it. The response has been overwhelmingly wonderful. I didn’t realize, I guess, until this point that bulling is universal and it happens in every country. I’m really so surprised and grateful that people reached out to me with their stories.“

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In her own words, Aija describes The Survival Guide to Bullying as “a guide that any kid or teen can use to deal with their fears, deal with cyber bullying, and really just get through this difficult time and onto a life where they are happy and bully-free.”

Aija’s favorite passage:

“Why ME?” I would always ask myself. I will never know for sure why I was bullied. All
I know for sure is they chose me. I was the girl they decided to be mean to. And one day, a few years later, I asked Rebecca why everyone was still so mean to me. She said, “It’s not personal: It’s just you.” How can something be about me but not be personal? I realized that it made perfect sense. It really wasn’t personal. The bullying may have started with something someone didn’t like about me, but it continued because I was the one that they decided to bully. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was me or someone else, and they went with me.”

This girl is changing the world, one bully at a time. For more info about Aija and her work, check out http://aijamayrock.com/. You can also order her book via the website, as well as pick it up in bookstores now, or download it via eBook on her site.

 

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