On the surface, 18-year-old Aija Mayrock seems like any other artistically inclined teenager. She enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. She dabbles in poetry and has written a few screenplays. But for the past two years, Mayrock has also been immersed in a project particularly close to her heart: she wrote The Survival Guide to Bullyingand self-published it earlier this month.
For Mayrock, the self-publishing process wasn’t easy. She started from scratch and didn’t know where to begin. But with the help of a few influential contacts, Mayrock completed the e-book just in time for an October 1 release date—the start of National Bullying Prevention Month.
Like many young people, Mayrock was bullied throughout her childhood. As a third-grader growing up on New York’s Long Island, she was called fat, ugly, and stupid. “A nothing.” When her classmates weren’t making fun of her during gym, in the lunchroom, or in the girls’ bathroom, they took to the Internet and lambasted her on Facebook, posting mortifying photos and calling her names. It was a humiliating experience, Mayrock admits, and despite her parents’ frequent attempts at intervention, the situation only got worse. To this day, Mayrock says she’s still unsure why her peers hated her so much.