In just under four days, I am off to New Jersey to spend two weeks with my mother, who hasn’t been in the best of health since her accident at Christmas. I haven’t been to the States or seen my mother in eight years and as she is now 73, Christmas was a big wake up call for me. I’m definitely excited about it, getting to not only see my mother but my sister and my brother, plus the two nieces and one nephew I have never seen. I also will have the chance to officiate a high school football game in America although the Eagles are playing away both Sundays I am there so I will have to wait to get my chance to see an NFL game live.
If I’m so excited about going to the USA, why am I full of anxieties? Well, it’s nothing to do with going anything mentioned above. It’s in relation to my book “He Was Weird.” While I haven’t lived in the town where I suffered so much bullying and bad times that drove me to write the book, my family doesn’t live too far from that town. I could easily not do what I am intending to do but for my own piece of mind, I need to do. Do what? you are probably asking. What I plan to do is to go back to that town where I suffered so much torment and donate a copy of my book to the public library and to the school where the vast majority of the bullying took place. Sounds easy and maybe my fears are unfounded but my fear arises from the idea of what might happen if someone in that town twigs that I am writing about their town. Yes, it is what I am secretly hoping for but whether real or imagined, I am very anxious of the possible backlash.
First, that town is full of lawyers. Some lawyer may try to say that I am defaming the name of their town and sue me. They may also try to legally prove that none of the bullying I suffered ever happened or more probable, wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Believe me, it was. Now I know why there is a clause in TV and movie credits saying any relation to those living or dead is purely coincidental. If I said that, I would be lying because “He Was Weird” is definitely based on the hell I suffered and many of the names of the bullies are badly disguised. Therefore, I fear the danger of one of my bullies suing me claiming that I am lying. If approached by one of my old nemesis, my prepared response is “You might have influenced my creation of that character but the character isn’t you.” But I wonder if that’s good enough.
There is something that for me would even be worse that lawsuits. That is instead of the town trying to deny the hell they put me through, they would wear what they did to me as some sort of sick badge of honour. There is precedent to this belief. Apparently, after I moved out of the town, some of the locals boasted that they made me move, like it was all my decision. So instead of being ashamed of what they did to me or trying to deny or downplay it, they would be proud of it. Furthermore, they would go back to the age old bullying tactic of blaming the bullying on the victim, on me. Yes, my Asperger’s caused me to make a lot of social gaffs back then and there are times I wished I could travel back to that time and tell the young me to shut the hell up but it will never justify the hell many in that town put me through.
Another fear comes with something I am planning to post about in more detail in the future. Those who twig and respond to the book will be the ones who weren’t my worst bullies and will try the innocent, “I never did any of that to you” approach. Some will even claim to have liked me back then. One girl, who used to call me mentally retarded, said, when I bumped into her a year later, that she missed me. Maybe she was genuine but I know there were others who wouldn’t be. I have a good response to that in the area of actions speaking louder than words.
Odds are the town probably won’t twig that I am talking about them and even less of a chance that any individuals will associate themselves with any of the characters in the story. However, I have found that if I prepare for something like this, it’s not going to happen but if it does, I won’t be blindsided. Wish me luck as I go exorcise one very big ghost from my past.
I won’t make any formal posts for the next three weeks but I will pop up here every now and again in the mean time.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413745743&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird