The stories we tell each other

Apr 27, 2010 | Opinions

Two posts in a single day. Who would have thought I’d ever have so much to talk about?

I read a lot of blogs, and inevitably I follow my nose through their links and find my way to other blogs and websites. Today, I’ve wandered into a blog by an author called Neesha Meminger, and I’ve read a post of hers that talks about bullying.

I was bullied as well, a long time ago. Shut up, sit down, get over it. It’s not all that important. It’s your fault. Stop making waves. Stop getting people into trouble. Maybe if you tried to make friends, they wouldn’t be so mean.

It’s so easy to tell that story, the one where it’s not really bullying. The other one, where you have to face up to the needlessly cruel things people do, is a lot harder. Maybe it’s because you did something, and you can’t admit that it wasn’t right. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to say it happened to you. Maybe it just makes you too uncomfortable.

It’s so easy to tell children the stories that won’t hurt them, or shake them, or make them feel uncomfortable. It’s easy to tell them that nobody is racist or sexist anymore, and persecution doesn’t exist. They hear that narrative and just brush it off when they are racist, sexist, or when they persecute someone. She started it. She’s just making trouble. I was only joking.

Writers should tell the hard stories. We dream that the world can be different to what it actually is all the time; dreaming of a voice for the silenced is not beyond us. Those narratives are harder to tell, but they are very, very powerful, and they can change the world for the better.

I, like many others, still carry the scars of the easy stories. I have a duty not to let them stand.