Sticks, stones, and words.

I thought I would share with everyone something very heart-warming that happened to me today. It’s not often, in this icy-cold technological world we live in, that we find people who are truly brave. Computer screens have made us cowards. If someone post something we don’t agree with, we tear them apart with our words. See somehow people think that as long as it’s through a screen they cant cause any “real harm.” I’m sure it started off mild. People saying they didn’t agree with what someone said; all while respecting their right to an opinion. But thats no longer the case. One incident in particular stands out to me. A women on a random site I visit posted that she wasn’t a fan of some random farm animal, (Ducks maybe?) because they gave her the creeps. A man proceeded to tell her that she was scum, and that he hoped she got raped with a tire- iron. But I mean sticks and stones right? Words cant “really” hurt you… I’ve never been sure if I agree with that.
I believe there are times in our lives where words scar us. Have you ever had someone say something to you that was so cruel that you still think about it on occasion. I realize sometimes when I NEED to be brave I cant, because somewhere down the line someone let me believe I wasn’t good enough. I remember one time in particular I was giving out screen-savers I’d made to my friends. They were personalized and my friends LOVED them. Everyone was praising me and telling me what an artist I was, and at the time I needed that. Sometimes you need someone to see you. To recognize your worth. One boy I didn’t really know decided he needed to “call me out.” “These are @hit,” he told me. “You should be disgusted. You’re just as worthless as your photos.” And man that hurt. I had never been called worthless. (Stupid, lazy, pathetic, crazy, weird, but not worthless.) Something about that word worthless stuck with me. Like my whole existence was in question because some punk behind a screen thought my gifts to friends were crappy. Sometimes when I’m making something I still feel the pressure of that word. I even get the urge to send pictures to him, ones I know aren’t “worthless.” I wanted to argue with that boy. Tell him how much worth I had. Show him pieces that had been in shows. I wanted validation from someone who wasn’t even brave enough to come out from behind a screen. But the worst part of that experience was what happened next… nothing. He posted this on my wall. Many of my friends saw it and chose to say nothing. Maybe thats what hurt the most, that I wasn’t important enough to defend. Today I was. To one person, on one post, I was worth defending.
We all have that one person in our lives that we love for no reason. We’ve known them for years upon years. Sometimes we’ll go five or six years without them, yet we never stop caring about them. This is how I feel about my close family friend. We’ll call him Angelo. Angelo and I have been friends for… ten years? He truly is one of the most remarkable people you have ever met. He’s got a touch of a temper, but a heart purer than you’ve ever seen. That boy could abandon me at a truck stop south of the border and I’d still love him. He’s been a brother to me as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to draw the attention of a lot of stalkers. He always took care of it. Even after he moved 14hours away. These last few years have been hard though. We’ve each been through so much, we lost touch. Recently though we’ve started back where we left off. And that brings us back to today. See today I realized, Angelo is brave.
Angelo posted something on his social media I didn’t necessarily agree with. I left a tasteful comment. Hoping for nothing more than some clarity. Instead one of Angelo’s friends took it upon himself to tell me what a hypocrite I was. Having grown a pretty thick skin, this didn’t bother me. I had no intentions of responding, because “words will never hurt me.” But thats when something amazing happened. Angelo took it upon himself to comment for me. “Watch your tone with her.” See usually I’m too independent for such things. I don’t expect people to defend me or my honor. Maybe thats what made this simple comment so wonderful. Maybe it was the fact I was completely blindsided by it. That one comment kept a smile on my face the whole day. I expected the nasty comment from the coward with the keyboard. He didn’t know me, so I would have never taken his comment to heart. But there is something truly special about the bravery my friend showed. Its a courtesy not many receive. Millions are harassed online daily and no one steps up to defend them. Today was different. Today I saw a glimmer of hope for the internet.
So heres my advice for tonight; Be careful with your words. Souls scar so much easier than skin. Defend your friends. If you truly care about someones feelings, don’t let others speak to them in a way that could cause them harm. Be brave. Online, offline. Be brave in every aspect in your life. You are so amazing and should never feel like you are incapable of being brave. Stand up for what you believe in, but be tasteful in how you do it. And finally, remember, you are worth so much more than you will ever know. Goodnight everyone. Sweet dreams.


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