Thursday, July 7, 2011
Who's Jo Ramsey?
Well, I am...This is my first post for YA Stands, so I'm going to take a moment to introduce myself and give readers an idea of why I'm here.
My name is Jo Ramsey. I've been writing since I was five years old, and have a filing cabinet drawer full of stories in spiral notebooks to prove it. Several years ago, I came up with an idea for a YA series about teenagers with psychic abilities who battle the forces of darkness, and I ended up with thirty manuscripts in that series and ten in another series about two teenagers who use skills like energy healing and channeling to fight demons, send dead spirits to the other side, and keep our universe from being vaporized. Those two series, The Dark Lines and Reality Shift, are now being published, along with some contemporary YA I've written.
When I was growing up, I was bullied. A lot. From kindergarten on, kids found something "weird" and "different" about me, and they didn't like it a bit and made sure I knew. For my part, I couldn't figure out why they didn't like me. I didn't really understand how to make friends, and when I tried asking kids why they picked on me, I just got picked on more. By the time I was in junior high, I pretty much hated myself. After all, if all these kids, along with my own mother and grandmother, found so much wrong with me, I had to be a pretty bad person. In high school, I attempted suicide more than once, and I tried to run away. I tried anything I could think of to get out of my situation. Nothing worked. And then I grew up and married a man who treated me the same way everyone else always had.
Things have changed a lot in my life. I'm no longer married to that man, and my current husband treats me with kindness and respect. I've learned that I didn't deserve to be bullied or treated badly, and that the way people treated me was their problem, not mine.
The thing is, bullying doesn't go away. There are still people I went to school with whom I won't talk to because of how they treated me. I've seen my grandmother only once in the past five years, and that was only because my father convinced me that I should see her once more before she passes away. And the only reason I have any contact with my ex-husband is because we have children together.
Bullying hurts, and it leaves a long-lasting effect on the person on the receiving end. In my novels, there are several characters who are bullied, and/or who are victims of abuse at the hands of their parents. My reason for doing that is in part to work out what I've dealt with, but more than that, to show readers that anyone can be a hero, no matter what they've been through.
Here on YA Stands, I'll be posting about bullying, domestic abuse, and self-esteem. I'll also be around to answer comments and questions.