Eye-to-Eye is a series of interviews with the individuals who inspire us every day. This week, we chatted with actress, activist and author of “The Survival Guide to Bullying” Aija Mayrock about finding her strength, voice and creative passions.
What was the catalyst that made you want to speak out and write "The Survival Guide to Bullying?”
I was really badly bullied from the age of 8 until the age of 16. I was verbally, physically, and cyber bullied. At 16 years old, I read a news story about a boy that had committed suicide because he was bullied. He was the same age as me. I was heartbroken that he resulted to that. And in that moment, I decided that I couldn’t sit back and watch it happen any longer. If I didn’t do something, I was just as bad as the people that bullied me. So I put pen to paper and wrote my book.
If you could offer one short piece of advice to someone being bullied, what would it be?
Never go through bullying alone. That was the biggest mistake I made. Please ask for help. You can get through this.
How did you get in touch with your creative self even when you were being bullied?
My creativity was the way I survived. Writing and acting gave me a sense of purpose on this planet. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Most of it was bad, but at least I was being creative.
How far do you think creative expression can go in helping to combat bullying (or other negative experiences)?
I think creative expression is always an escape when someone is going through a difficult situation. It’s a great outlet, sense of purpose, and confidence booster. Creativity can be anything—art, music, sports, science—all of that is creative!
I think that without my creative outlet, I might not have survived the bullying.
As a writer, actress and activist, what would you say your ultimate ambition or goal is?
My dream is to give a voice to the voiceless through art—whether that is movies, television, books, rap music—and so much more. I want to tell the difficult stories. I want to spread important messages.
What projects are you currently working on? And what do you have coming up soon?
I will be speaking at Madison Square Garden on May 24th! Very excited for that. I am also working on my second book and possibly something in the film world…
You can follow me and my journey on social media (I’ve included them below). Also, feel free to email me (and yes - I do respond to my emails)! :)
You can also stay up to date on the latest from Aija and purchase her incredible book here!