Nick Wilford at Scattergun Scribblings is hosting an amazing blog hop, and I knew I had to participate. Here are the details!
And now, here's a flash fiction piece that I wrote especially for the occasion!
A young woman stands in an empty hallway, a poster clutched in her hands. Being here brings back so many memories.
The words still burn, though the intensity has faded some. Years have passed, but the name-calling and the isolation took a toll on her that most can’t see from the outside. Words may not inflict a physical wound, but that doesn’t mean no damage is inflicted when a bully hurls verbal daggers at someone for sport. Verbal wounds are of a more insidious nature. They fester beneath the surface, eating away at your self-confidence and planting the seeds of self-doubt.
As a child, she often felt like she could never make it through. No light at the end of the tunnel. No support from anyone. She assumed it would always be the same.
Then something changed.
A single person stood up for her. A new face emerged from the crowd and declared, “What you’re doing is wrong.” In so doing, he stepped into the line of fire. Insults were directed at him for taking her side, but he shrugged them off in a way she admired. It seemed as if they didn’t injure him in the same way they did with her.
“I can deal with a few bullies,” he explained. “If they’re after me because I did the right thing and tried to help someone, then it’s worth all the trouble that comes along with it. I’m only sorry I couldn’t help more.”
He may have thought he didn’t do enough because she still faced daily ridicule. Yet, he did far more than he realized. Words can still injure, but when someone has an ally, it makes them a little more resilient. When she saw someone stand up for her, it shone a light into the darkest corners of her life. More seemed possible, because someone made the effort to know her as she was and not as others defined her.
His kind words brought her hope.
Thanks to this brave boy she once knew, she understands the dual nature of words. They can wound greatly, but they can also heal. They can encourage and inspire. They can act as a shield for those who don’t feel strong.
That’s why she now stands in the hallway of her old high school. She presses the poster smoothly against the wall, securing with a little masking tape some words of encouragement similar to those that helped her unmask her own potential all those years ago.
To all of the bullied
and the downtrodden.
You can do anything.
You are not forgotten.
To all of the people
who don’t fit in.
You are unique.
You too can win.
To all of you who are lost,
I’ve come here to say,
hold on, stay strong.
and you will find your way.
To all of those who dare
to do what’s right.
You are so special.
Continue to be the light.