By Jules Lavallee
Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/25/2019 “UNBULLIED!” is a book in which Author Kalyani Pardeshi shares her personal experiences of battling bullying as a teenager, the valuable life lessons she learned from each experience while including in each chapter a task and techniques to develop the very skills she used to deal with bullies and to overcome the emotional scars they inflicted on her.
“UNBULLIED!” is a candid and vivid look into the real pain that Pardeshi endured while being bullied. She shares the coping strategies that she used to win over her bullies. Can you imagine what it is like living with your bullies, day in and day out, three months at a time before you get to escape to the safety of your own home? This was Pardeshi’s reality in boarding school. The only safe place was the middle of the night, asleep in her dorm room, she found comfort in the darkness of the night – daybreak only brought nightmares, the kind you see while you are wide awake. Sleep was restless, fear, anxiety, and worry taking over – what will daybreak bring? Would she be able to handle it or would I shatter into a million pieces? She didn’t fit in. She didn’t have the right clothes or the right shoes or even the right lingo and knowledge. She had lived a sheltered life in which you were loved and accepted because of who you were, not because of what you had.
A reader is asked to journal their experiences and with the help of Pardeshi’s guide, they can recondition their thinking and bring power, not to the bullies, but themselves. She brings inspiration page by page to readers with constant positive reminders throughout her book including:
“I am not what my bullies call me, I am whom I choose to be.”
“Don’t quit until you get the results you want.”
Pardeshi is an Asian who was born in Lu Saka, Zambia and moved to South Africa during the peak of the apartheid. She came from a conservative film. Her first experience with bullying came when she was at a prestigious boarding school. She would wear long dresses. She was called, Sis Mary and Sis Georginia. She didn’t know what these meant. She asked her friend what these statements meant. She said they implied that she dressed like a nun. She cried most of the time and could only talk to her parents on the phone, although she couldn’t express the kind of trauma she was experiencing. Teachers downplayed her feelings and actions by the bullies who taunted her. They would say things like, “Kids are just kids, they are silly. Don’t take it seriously.
She decided it was time to share her painful story to help others overcome bullying. She had volunteered at an anti-bullying workshop held at her daughter’s school. While the workshop was well presented, the bullies in her school were at it again, a mere week after the workshop. Her daughter asked me, “What is the point of these anti-bullying workshops if they don’t stop bullying?” “I knew I had to do something to keep hope alive within her. Armed with years of experience in bullying – from school to the workplace and within the family, unbeknownst to me, I had developed tools, techniques, and tactics to combat bullying and to thrive despite it. The techniques in “Bullied” are just part of who I am and how I handle tough situations hence I never recognized them as tools that can help others until I wrote the book.”-Kalyani Pardeshi
In “BULLIED!” for example, “Locked and Loaded” Technique shows that preparation is half of the battle, prevention is the best cure, and to talk to friends, teachers, so you are never alone.
“No matter how nice you are, not everyone is going to like you. And that’s okay – this part is so important to add. It is okay if someone doesn’t like you, it is not your job to make other people happy. We all are responsible for our happiness, we were not put on this earth to become people pleasers. This was the toughest lesson that took me eleven long years to learn. Why so long? Because it was a lesson I learned from family members. You see, when it comes to family, we naturally think we have to give it our all in relationships because “blood is thicker than water.” No, it isn’t. Family bullying is very difficult to address because there is nothing more painful than being isolated by family. You consider family as your haven, the one place where you are supposed to be accepted as you are. Imagine the pain of being isolated because your family cannot accept you as you are. Yet there is a desire within us to be accepted by those we consider our own. This desire can lead to changing ourselves and succumbing to people-pleasing behavior just to be accepted by those we consider family. This results in two things – lack of the very acceptance you seek and feelings of resentment towards yourself for changing who you are for the sole purpose of acceptance.
All this said, it is so important to recognize that those who truly love themselves are easily more accepting of others, it is those who are insecure that project their insecurities onto others.”- Kalyani Pardeshi
Like so many people who are bullied, Pardeshi was beaten up because she called out unjust behavior. She was cornered, no one stood up for her, no one stopped the physical assault, a crowd gathered, only to cheer the bully on in her assault. This taught Pardeshi that speaking the truth can lead to dire consequences but it didn’t stop her from speaking the truth, it taught her how to speak the truth while protecting herself.
“While I share my personal experiences of bullying, I have shared unique personal growth lessons I learned from each experience, the idea of sharing this specifically was to show readers that it is truly possible to focus on the lesson and not on the pain even in the most difficult of circumstances. While the emotional pain from bullying can be debilitating, if we change our focus, it allows us the opportunity to overcome difficulties and seek out positive and effective solutions. What prevents us from doing so is that we are so focused on the pain that we see no other way out. I see those who face bullying as heroes because it takes immense courage to show up as you are, every day, despite being bullied. Bullying can change you and scar you, the fact that you don’t allow it to is a huge accomplishment. Each chapter ends with an exercise/task for the reader to achieve one of a few goals: develop techniques I took a lifetime to develop to combat bullying, build self-confidence, identify their strengths, focus on them while also building on these strengths. For me, one of the most important tools I have shared is templates that readers can use to help communicate with those who can help them. When facing bullying, we often don’t have the right words to describe what we feel because we are overwhelmed by pain, these templates are key in getting the reader’s message across effectively yielding the results they eagerly desire. In a nutshell, Unbullied is a step-by-step guide to put an end to bullying, to overcome the emotional trauma from bullying and to build self-confidence.”-Kalyani Pardeshi
For those who suffer at the hands of bullies, “UNBULLIED” goals are to recognize that being targeted by bullies isn’t their fault, they are not to blame for being bullied. They didn’t do anything to bring this behavior upon themselves. They have the power and the tools (from the book) to change their tomorrow.
“UNBULLIED!” can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1079160361