When I was just 6 years old, a boy in my kindergarten class bullied me physically. It started off just like any other school friendship, but once I started spending time at his house, things drastically changed. He would lock me in his trundle bed and threaten to hit me, and he eventually threw me into the cement face-first, damaging four of my top teeth, for not doing what he demanded. I once told his mother how he was treating me, and she denied that her son could ever do such things. I was too embarrassed to tell my parents what was happening, so I stayed silent. The day he threw me into the sidewalk, I could no longer hide what was happening. My parents made sure I was safe from him from that day forward, but the damage of his actions would stay with me for a long time. At 6 years old, I declared that I would never allow someone to hurt me again.
Less than a year later we moved to another city for my father's work. I met another young boy who lived across the street who quickly became my friend. This time, though, I was the boss. And I liked how that felt. I myself became a young bully, controlling others and calling the shots. With this new approach to life, I can say that I didn't have many friends. I would pretend that I didn't care, but I was hurting, which I could only express through anger. I didn't necessarily pick on other kids; I was just a force to be reckoned with. It was terribly sad. And so was I.
Reaching junior high offered me a chance to grow and change my ways. I truly wanted to, but I didn't want to give up the perceived power I had gained. So I became an advocate, a crusader for friends or other kids who were being picked on. No one messed with anyone who was friends with me. In a way that reputation has followed me well into my adult years.
Now 43 years old, with many years of healing behind me, I have learned to live with more trust and kindness. My journey is just one of so many others out there living with the effects of bullying. And it serves as my inspiration to end bullying in American schools once and for all.
For over 15 years now, I have been writing and producing educational documentaries on issues from teen suicide and violence to eating disorders and addiction. My most gratifying projects have always been the ones focused on youth social issues and the human condition. It breaks my heart every time I run into a child with so much pain and anger in their heart that lashing out is their only way to express it. I know that kid. I was that kid. And so I have dedicated my career and part of my life to be one of the voices that will end bullying in America.
This blog is my way to share with you the one project that I feel is the most important one of my life: The Bully Chronicles, a movement toward change in the form of a narrative feature film shot in an unscripted, documentary style. The film will feature real teens, teachers, and parents who are living the experience of bullying each and every day. For the first time, the story will be told from the bully's perspective.
I am honored to share a weekly blog with you during the development, production, and post-production phases of this game-changing film. I believe with all my soul that the time has come to raise our voices and speak the truth about how cruelty can destroy the human spirit and crumble our will to keep going. I pledge to be there for you, in any way I can, to bring an end to intimidation and terror, and to spread the power of human kindness wherever I go.
Together we can do it. Today is the day to begin. Won't you follow along on this journey with me?
Peace and love,
Amy S. Weber