Not As Easy As It Seems is the title of Eastridge resident Erica Peters’ memoir which focuses on bullying.
It was released as an e-book on Amazon Kindle last month.
For five years, Erica was bullied by pupils at a Cape Town high school, which she refers to as a “torture chamber”.
She said her e-book is an eye-opener to what it’s like being bullied for years.
“This e-book doesn’t only apply to those who were bullied, but also to those who have been downtrodden,” she said.
Erica added that the first three chapters are free and the sample is downloadable on the Android Kindle app as well as Kindle Fire. This was released in October which is national anti-bully month.
Speaking to the Plainsman, Erica said for years she had worn the labels given to her by pupils. These included fat-ass, loser, ugly and worthless. “It was the worst years of my life, I am not to sure why I was the victim but I was. Many of my classmates did not want to be my friend, so I ended up being by myself. I wanted to be invisible.
“I remember the pupils telling me that I want to be ‘white’ and that I had a ‘fake accent’ and somehow they wanted to show me that I was a coloured,” she said.
Erica said during classes, the bullies used to pass messages to each other, cut out pictures of overweight people and pasted notes on it. “There is nothing wrong with overweight people, but they would add rude comments with it. Usually people would say being bullied builds up character, but no, it did not. It made me feel insecure, and made me wonder if there was something wrong with me.”
Erica said her family were supportive and kept motivating her throughout her school life. “My mother said they behaved in that way because they were jealous, as I was good academically. Somehow I didn’t think that it was true, and because I wanted the bullying to stop, I performed poorer academically. But not long after, it continued again,” she said.
Erica said the bullying became so bad that she even attempted to commit suicide in a shed on the school grounds. “I was about to slit my wrist, but then I realised that I am worth living despite my situation,” she said.
Erica said after she matriculated, she wanted to be normal and searched for love and normalcy in all the wrong places. “I turned to the three B’s, booze, boys, and bars.” Then in 2013 she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease.
For a year she was unable to bathe and dress herself. She couldn’t keep her food down and started losing her hair.
“My friends disappeared one at a time until I was left alone. I questioned myself: why is my life spiralling out of control? I then decided to take control, prayed continuously and asked God for help. Today, I am healthy, because I believed in the power of God,” she said.
Erica said it took a year and a half to complete the e-book and she hopes that it will inspire people. “Bullying is real and it can affect you in your young and adult life. My message to parents is to pay attention to your child. To pupils, if you feel that you are being victimised, speak to your parents, the social worker at school or someone you really trust. Swim against the current, don’t allow others to dictate your worth. God made us all different for a reason, and ‘different’ shouldn’t be considered a bad thing,” she said.