My first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” shares my experiences with being bullied in high school. I want all parents to know, that when a child is bullied, it’s not about your child, it’s about the bully being incompetent. The best advice was given to me by my grandmother, to let them know you are not afraid. That worked, but sadly when there is one, there’s another and defending yourself is a work in progress.
In my later years, I look back in pity on the bullies as I realized most of them were bullied at home, by their parents. It’s up to EVERYONE to work together on this. I truly believe when parents say, “Not my little darling” it could be their cover-up for child abuse. Children do re-act to how they are treated at home by duplicating in the playground and the locker room. A girl from Germany who was a whole year older than me because she got left back to learn better English harassed me (that means she was 18, picking on a MINOR, so my mother could have pressed charges on her!) in the locker room taking a photo of me when I was changing. (God bless my little sister who said, “At least you have great legs!”) I learned this girl’s father abused her by making her walk around the house naked because she walked in on him while he was going to the bathroom.
That girl used her anger towards her father on me and abused me in both grammar school and high school. One day she had a bad acid trip and was crying to me and confessed she was jealous of me. When I brought this up to a guidance counselor, the bully lied and said she never said such a thing and said she didn’t like me because I was a punk rocker. (That’s hilarious and even more of a reason to pity that person who was legally an adult tormenting me).
I share because today I am extremely happy and blessed to have the best husband in the world. Anyone who reads “Guest List” will see that it’s a very positive story with no dark descent into drugs or alcohol. And though it’s not a children’s book, it’s an inspiring story parents can share with their children.
Note: I recommend parental guidance for “Guest List” because of bad language (hey, it’s a punk book!) and some delicate situations where I share about being a young woman navigating NYC during a more dangerous time.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is available to speak in schools on anti-bullying. Please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and availability. Will travel!