I had a beautiful run this morning. Got up at 5:00 AM and headed out into the dark of morning. It was raining and so very refreshing. And we need it! We have had just 3 ml of rain in the last 119 days. Unheard of in these parts. Part of my run is through Queen’s Park in New Westminster and the pathway was littered in leaves this morning. Got to be careful as it can get slippery. Again I felt so very fortunate that I can still do this.
As I got ready for work this morning there was much talk about Amanda Todd. She was a young girl, who in the 7th Grade, flashed her boobs to a man online. A moment of indiscretion caught for all to see. From that moment on she was bullied and harassed mercilessly. Amanda took her life this week. She could no longer take the barrage of insults and bullying that transpired because of her indiscretion. I was moved to tears upon hearing this story. Why? Why are we so cruel to one another? Oh, and the words that can cut and tear at the flesh. And the fear that is instilled by them.
Yesterday I spoke of fear in my post. Of how it restricts and confines. And you know, fear if you let it, will leave you feeling crushed and alone. It will take you to a very dark place that seemingly there is no way out of. No doubt Amanda felt this.
I have experienced these feelings in my youth. Fortunately I was not successful in my attempts to ‘end it all‘. I know all to well the unimaginable pain that is felt when just to breathe seems difficult at best. There is no light, no hope, no future. There is simply this gaping wound that continually fester’s and grows, encompassing and destroying the fragile soul. And how do you ask for help? Take the chance and ask.
And so for Amanda I hurt this morning. Tears shed for a life lost to the cruelty of others. Tears shed for a life lost. And I wonder how on this day those who offered up the torment, how do they feel? Do they feel at all? Do they take any responsibility for their actions? Or is it just too easy to say ‘I was just kidding. I didn’t think she would take it seriously.’ How, I cannot help but wonder, did we get like this?
Think about the words you speak. Think about how they are spoken. Just think, please!
Words are one of the most powerful tools in the world. They are extraordinary and I have the deepest and most abiding respect and love for them.
What happened to compassion? What happened to forgiveness? What happened to respect?
You can say its a’ dog eat dog’ world, but here’s a newsflash. We are not dogs. We are human.
Last night, oddly enough or perhaps not all that oddly at all, I was watching Doc Zone. The documentary featured this week was called ‘Sext-up’. It was all about young girls becoming hyper-sexualized at an increasingly and alarmingly younger age. The desire to look pretty, to be a certain size, to become sexual. It if frightening what is available online these days, and even more so are the young women who unknowingly, much like Amanda, have that moment of indiscretion that haunts them relentlessly.
There were several young women who had made the mistake of uploading a rather sexually revealing shot of themselves to someone who was the object of their desire only to see it go viral. What was most telling in this documentary is that these young girls don’t understand sexuality at all. They are being driven by a society that is dictating to them that they should become sexualized while they are still girls.
What has happened to growing up?
With shows such as ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ we are dressing up and sexualizing our daughters from the cradle. Why?
Do we think they look pretty? Do we think they are funny when they behave like a little diva? When they strut about the stage and shake what their mama gave them? When they gyrate and pout prettily?
What message does that send out? If you’re not pretty, are you then doomed to being invisible?
Let’s begin to teach our daughters to respect themselves. Let’s teach them the mystery and beauty of being a woman. Let’s teach them to treasure their sexuality, embrace and nurture it. Let’s teach them what real beauty is.
And while we are at it, let’s teach our sons the same things.
For Amanda I hope she has found some semblance of peace. I pray she no longer hurts, that the soul can now rest. To all of those who feel this hurt, this pain. Ask for help. It is there. And when you emerge from the darkness that currently encompasses you, the beauty and love that awaits is phenomenal. I know this from personal experience, so take that chance and live.
If you have made a mistake, and error in judgement, move past it. Don’t let smaller minds convince you otherwise.
When I go out this Sunday, October 14th, 2012 at 11:00 AM to offer a prayer to Malala and those responsible, I will also offer a prayer to Amanda as well.