If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide please contact Lifeline, the national suicide prevention hotline, at 1-800-273-8255. If you or someone you know is being bullied please visit StopBullying.gov for information and resources.
South African Author Nomalungelo Majola, who goes by MysticPree, wrote a book with a title that will stop most in their tracks. Majola’s book titled “How I Almost Killed Myself” chronicles her struggles with being bullied. The title isn’t exactly about a suicide attempt, but rather, the title represents a time when she allowed bullying to put her life on hold and therefore she felt during that time she wasn’t living her life at all. Majola explains in her book that she never considered her skin color as problematic until others pointed it out. In her book she writes, “My peers would politely tell me that I am not beautiful nor am I ugly. ‘You are just fitting’, they would say. The comments were accompanied by direct insults from a teacher who taught me at the time. She would pick on me and say ‘Hey you, blacky, you are making noise.’ It sounds absurd, I know, that a black person would call another black person “blacky”. But having dark skin did not make me immune to such comments. When she first initiated this, I thought it was harmless but when I observed the facial expressions of those around me, I understood that I was being attacked. Her teasing became a habit. This continuously crippled my self-confidence.”
Majola desperately wanted to be liked by her teacher and felt that the color of her skin was the one thing that kept getting in the way of that happening. It affected her performance in school. She began to hate herself. She was made fun of for being dark-skinned. Unfortunately that’s not where the bullying stopped. As she grew, people noted her physical changes. People often made negative comments about her body, eventually leading to an eating disorder. Majola explains in her book what all of the negative comments did to her self-esteem and how it lead her to dark places in her life. She lost the hope and confidence to chase after her dreams. She tells Life On The Up, “I was a dreamer at a young age and wanted to be an actress, writer and singer but because of what was said to me, I felt like I was incapable of reaching those dreams. Hence, I did not pursue them at that age because I thought I had to first reach the standards of beauty. I felt like I had to be loved by the same people who bullied me in order to be something great.” Each part of “How I Almost Killed Myself” goes through various phases of Manjola’s experiences with being bullied in great detail and each part is followed by a note to her younger self—-the things she wished she knew back then, advice she wish she was given, and the lessons and wisdom she has since gained.
Majola opened up about the day she realized how much bullying ruined her life. She explains, “My turning point came when I saw that I was killing myself. I say ‘I almost killed myself’ because I was denying myself a chance to experience life through the person I was created to be. [I mean to say] I almost killed my greatness, almost killed the significant things that make me who I am. When I woke up and realized that I was not living my dream and I was not living my own truth, that’s where I made a choice.” She reveals in her book that the negative comments said to her only affected her because she gave those words power. This realization was one of the first steps in her journey to overcoming being bullied. After that realization, healing began. She also credits religion and her relationship with God, reading, and speaking positively to herself with rebuilding her self-confidence.
She hopes that her book will inspire others to be true to themselves especially in a world where social media is what some of us use to measure success and happiness. She notes that it can be easy to let negative comments destroy you, assume you’re not worthy, and to feel down about your life when you compare it to happy pictures on Instagram. On Instagram or in real life, we never know the full story. Comparison will rob you of your happiness. I think the message in her book is a very necessary one, especially now, that loving yourself may be a difficult task in a world that says we are not enough, but it’s absolutely necessary. When we give our power to others by caring about what they say or how they view us, we are putting our lives on hold instead of living it to our full potential.