Not that long ago, a young teenage girl not far from where I am, killed herself. She’d been bullied in school for quite some time, and she couldn’t take it anymore. We forget, that at that age, our friends, schoolmates, and now, social media, are our whole life. If we don’t have the acceptance of that triad, we have nothing. You might even say, she was bullied to death. I wept when I heard about it, and I watched what happened when a friend of hers created a page on Facebook so friends and family could grieve together, by posting photos and loving messages in her memory. Instead, what happened was, people continued to bully her. Even in death, the comments being made on that page, and on the photos were disturbing. I couldn’t read them. I couldn’t bring myself to know that this poor girl, even after she’d died, still had to undergo the criticism and scrutiny from people who hadn’t actually taken the time to get to know her. To make themselves feel better, they needed to make sure she felt bad about herself.
I shake my head as I write this. That this is what it’s come to. Being grateful to not be in highschool now. I want to cry when I think about my nephews in a few years, entering the schools when this is what is going on. I want to weep for them and for the terrible things that other kids may say to them. I’m not saying I was immune to it. I had some experiences with being bullied, and being mocked, and being made to cry. But never, EVER did I consider killing myself over it. That wasn’t what life was about back then.
It was just easier.
This past weekend, I shared about ownyourawesome while in a course, and doubled over in tears when I talked about the message I want to share with the world, and the world in which I am sharing it into. It doesn’t line up.
How can I possibly tell people that they are awesome and all the reasons why, when kids are literally killing themselves. How can I possibly put out a book telling people how to be awesome, when this is the world we live in? How can I do it? How can I risk being heartbroken every single time someone kills themselves because they couldn’t see how brilliant they really are, or because someone told them they aren’t? The death of the teenage girl, left me heartbroken. But I couldn’t tell anyone that I’d taken it so personally because I didn’t know her. It sounded crazy, in my own head.
See, that’s the thing about not saying something out loud. It makes us sound crazy. Where, once I said it out loud, I could then start to think about something else.
Like..maybe I COULD take the message global.
But I couldn’t see it until I said it out loud. Until I shed the tears and said the words. That I felt I had failed this young girl, and all those who may come after her. For not getting the message out fast enough. I cried until all I could say was “Who am I to tell anyone anything about anything…”
And the woman who was leading the course, said to me…“Rita. If not you…then who?”
That’s all I needed to hear. My heart is going to break every single time something like this happens. My life is going to alter every single time I hear another story of another person (child or adult) being bullied or taunted for being different, or for being themselves. My conversations are going to get deeper. More fulfilling. My message is going to get out there.
Why? Because THAT is what I said matters to me.
So if there’s something that you want to do that will ultimately change the world you live in…do it. Let’s do it together. Let’s take on a world that isn’t set up for awesome, and plant a flag.
Why? Because we said it mattered.
Anything other than that is just a bunch of background noise.
go be awesome.