The boy swivelled towards her with his long legs that easily reached the floor where Cassy’s toes barely touched without stretching. He leaned in close, giving Cassy a cruel expression.
“What’s your name, new girl?”
Cassy tilted backwards in avoidance to being too close.
A menacing frown helped show his true colours. “Excuse me? I asked you a question."
Cassy's and Zack's first interaction is important. It may seem petty for Cassy to withhold her name. It's only a name, right? Why stir up trouble?
Cassy is the personification of courage. She's set her boundaries and maintained them so no one oversteps them. As a woman, I've allowed myself the discomfort of not expressing my boundaries by giving a man my phone number (whether it was fake or not), just to get them out of my hair. I've avoided speaking my mind in fear of sounding harsh or rude. I have always been mild mannered. Even as an adult, it's hard to allow myself to not feel guilty about telling someone no or I'm not comfortable with something.
I've tolerated a bully because I couldn't stand up for myself. I believed, and was told, that it would eventually end when they got bored. Yet, the only time it ended is when I stood up for myself. I never condone violence, but unfortunately, it took me punching my bully before he backed down. I should have never let it get to a point that I needed to risk my own well being. If I had stood up for myself, and set my boundaries, it would've ended so much sooner.
I've learned through the years, that yes, things do get better, BUT, why should I tolerate it? It doesn't make me happy, and I'm not comfortable. Why does a teenage girl have to tough it out when a person says something inappropriate to her? Why should a teenager have to live in fear for four years because a bully has set their sight on them. Yes, eventually it ends when high school ends, but they shouldn't have to take it.
Writing became a way for me to express feelings, doubts, and experiences. I wrote Cassy as the opposite of me. Cassy understands her boundaries and does not step down when placed in a difficult position. Zack assumes he's entitled to have her name, as though it's a sign of power when he hasn't given her his.
Cassy's world is falling apart, she's lost both parents, moved to a new city, and is dealing with her dysfunctional family. The last thing she will tolerate is a troublesome bully, who thinks he owns the world.
It was important for me that Cassy's character was head strong. She speaks her mind (which gets her into trouble). Even if she wavers throughout The Egyptian Heir with who she is and what she can handle, she tries to hold true to herself.
It is important that no one feels like they are forced to do something they don't want. Whether female, male, LGBTQ+; a child, a teenager, or an adult, know that you have the power over your own boundaries. Never feel obligated to demean yourself for an entitled person.