GUEST POST: SNEAKY LIFE-CHANGING MOMENTS

Nadia L King was born in Dublin and moved to Perth, Western Australia with her family at the tender age of 11.  While growing up, Nadia desperately wanted to be a journalist and scored her first newspaper job at 17. Since then, she has worked in media and public relations in too many industries to count. She is an overexcited person who adores words and writes short stories amongst other things. Her first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Buy it here.

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In every lifetime, there are life-changing moments. Some are obvious and others sneak up from behind and take you by surprise. Earlier this year, I had one of those sneaky life-changing moments.

My eldest child gave me a tour of interesting YouTube videos. Included in her tour was a video made by Canadian teen Amanda Todd, whose video went viral following her suicide

Her words, which accompanied the video, continue to give me goose bumps and move me to tears:

“I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although I’m sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyone’s future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I ?”

On 10 October 2012, Amanda Todd’s life tragically ended through suicide. She had faced bullying, harassment and cyber-bullying, and struggled with self-harm, alcohol and drugs. In the end, she took her own life. For me, my initial reaction was intense sadness. I grieved for her story.

Some tragedies in life touch you no matter where they happen or how small the human cost. The tragic death of one teen across the globe almost four years ago changed my life. I had to do something. I didn’t make a grand gesture or fund-raise for suicide prevention programs. I didn’t volunteer at a helpline call centre. I’m a writer, and I simply sat down and rewrote history in my mind. That’s how Jenna’s Truth was born. I wrote a story to help me (a woman in her forties) make sense of such a senseless loss of life.

Jenna' s Truth by Nadia L. King

Jenna’s Truth is YA short fiction. It is my fight back against Amanda’s death. It deals with similar issues to the ones Amanda faced – bullying, cyber-bullying, peer pressure and social media. It is the landscape our teens face every day. My main character, Jenna Wilson, is an ordinary girl from an ordinary family in the suburbs. Nothing about Jenna is extraordinary except she represents our children and our children are infinitely precious.

Another life-changing moment came when I had the privilege of meeting Rebecca Laffar-Smith, CEO and founder of the West Australian publishing house, Aulexic. Rebecca is an extraordinary woman. She embraced Jenna’s Truth and turned it into a powerful resource for schools.

My hope is that Jenna’s Truth will impact teens. An early version of the book is being taught at Reading College in Berkshire, England. Next month, the finalised version of the book will be released.

Like most writers, I want my book to do well. For me though, I want more – I want Jenna’s Truth to save lives. I’m an eternal optimist. As I send my book out into the world, I pray with all my might that I have honoured Amanda Todd’s short but inspirational life and that one teen somewhere will stop and know that even ordinary, they are infinitely precious and must stay to fight for life. I hope that by reading Jenna’s Truth they’ll come to believe their life matters and that hope exists.