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Local author advocates anti-bullying efforts


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Courtesy photo. Michelle Williams Turnipseed, of Prince George’s County, holds her book, “Nina and The Bullies.”

Courtesy photo. Michelle Williams Turnipseed, of Prince George’s County, holds her book, “Nina and The Bullies.”

Published on: Thursday, August 15, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

Michelle Williams Turnipseed is not your average author — she is a restored victim of bullying and a reformed bully, hoping to help heal her community with her book “Nina and The Bullies” and by establishing the “No Bully Zone,” a safe haven for children who have been bullied and those who are bullies to come together.

“Until I wrote my book, I didn’t realize I was bullied or that I was a bully,” the author said.

 Turnipseed, 55, is a wife and grandmother of five. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s and attended school in the Washington metropolitan area until she and her brother moved to Maryland with their single mom. Turnipseed said she has lived a “nice middle-class life” — but not without being bullied.

“Being that I was bullied from fourth to sixth grade, I was so used to people making me feel so bad that when we got over to Maryland, people were putting me up on this pedestal that I was from D.C. and don’t mess with me.

“I’ve always been a very outgoing, outspoken person, and I have a brother that is year younger and my cousins are a year younger. … People would say, ‘Don’t mess with them because that’s Michelle’s family.’ I wasn’t really a mean girl. I wasn’t roughly bullying people. I was more like: ‘This is going to be done fairly,’ and ‘You’re going to do it my way or the highway.’”

Turnipseed realized as she matured that being a bully was not something she wanted to be.

“I started thinking it’s not good to do things to hurt people, and I wasn’t really into the violence. I was more into the peace and love thing. It was the ’70s,” she said.

While watching an episode of “Anderson,” journalist Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, Turnipseed decided to take action.

“He (Cooper) did a series on bullying and a kid committed suicide,” she said. “And, I was sitting there with my mouth open and the tears running down my face, and I said, ‘God, please use me to help somebody.’”

Then, Turnipseed began writing “Nina and The Bullies.”

“I was writing from my heart to help other people,” she said. “But I didn’t realize this would be a healing — a healing from all of the feelings that I felt from being bullied, the feelings that I felt from hurting people. I feel like I can make amends by trying to help now. Bullies need love.”

The author said her book is relatable to readers of all ages.

“My target audience is the whole community, all ages, because it takes a whole community to stop bullying,” she said.

Turnipseed also started the “No Bullies Zone,” an organization dedicated to creating a safe haven for bullying victims and bullies. She plans to have therapists available to help families dealing with bullying.

 “I think bullying starts from the home. I think bullying starts from the person within because of something that is going wrong with them,” she said. “Bullying is a disease to me. Hurt people hurt people.”

“Nina and The Bullies” is available in print and as an e-book. You can find it at Author House, BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.

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