Written by Bryan Caron
To the girl in the mirror.
She doesn’t look the same after having to cut her hair into a meek elven bob. It’s not the style she would have preferred; she loved her long, beautiful locks that glistened in the pearl of the morning sun. But the change was necessary after the girls at the slumber party who once called her friend cut off a large chunk and taunted her with it long after the laughter had ended. They said her hair was a nappy rag. They said it would look better if it were all gone. They said she would be beautiful. They said she would be a princess.
Now they giggle at what they did, scorn her for doing such a stupid thing; as if it were her fault; as if she had a choice.
To the broken shell in the mirror.
She has lost the creative affection she once held so dear, and the smile her parents entrusted her with has long been lost at sea. She wonders if she’ll ever find it again, but the sickness keeps her from even looking. She still wears one when she can; no one seems to realize it’s fake. So she will continue to hide behind it for as long as it takes.
What else can she do?
When she’s faced with the agony of living, what can she do?
When getting up in the morning takes longer each day, what can she do?
When she opens her locker to find all of her belongings — her books, her notebook, her art and the reminders of her joy — washed in what the girls claim to be water, but which she knows to be something much worse…
What can she do?
To the ghost in the mirror.
All life has faded from her eyes, and there is nothing left but an obedient shell; and still, no one notices. She has learned how to hide, how to remain invisible to the world around her. She has become one with the idea that she will never be. She has given up her zeal; has given up the fight; has given up…
When the calls are coming in constantly, when not even her bedroom is safe from the mockery of the girls in the locker room who would take a picture of her at her most vulnerable and then spread it across the school, only for it to erupt across social media like a wildfire; to be laughed at, ridiculed and Photoshopped again and again and again until she is inundated with words like:
To read the lies about her promiscuity; to hear the whistle of a jock thirsty for a taste; to witness the actions of a boy who would go out of his way to videotape himself leaking over the girl with nothing but rape on his mind; to know that she has become a trophy to the sycophants of the Internet.
So she hides from it all the only way she knows how, dreaming of the day she can become nothing more than the fog among the wind and dissolve into what she believes — what she has been relentlessly told — she really is.
To the one who is supposed to protect me from the viciousness of life.
I cry out to Him to help me, to rescue me, but He stays silent among the storm. What good is He if He cannot find it in Himself to reach out and carry me through this troubling time and tell me that everything will be okay? I scream; I hurt; I beg; I pray. And yet no answer, no love, no help ever arrives. My family
my loved ones
(is there even such a thing?)
have seen the cracks and wonder aloud if there is anything wrong. I lie; I give them the answer I think they want to hear. I don’t know if it’s working anymore, but they remain silent. I like it that way. They can’t help me. If they knew what has happened, the contempt I have had to endure, they would laugh and tell me I’m just being silly. They cannot understand.
How could they understand?
Because it’s all I have left.
I have given myself up to the grief and have chosen to break the remnants of my heart into the ash of my spirit. It is okay; my tears have finally become part of the sea as they were always meant to be, and I am…
To all of the girls who can’t sleep because their tears won’t let them.
To all of the boys who get physically ill because they are afraid to walk the halls of their school.
To all of the kids whose souls have been shredded so deeply that they can’t stand tall against the power of ridicule; who can’t find the strength in their own individuality; who believe the demons who tell them they aren’t worth the life they have been given and who have lost the fight before it’s even begun.
The bully is nothing more than a disease — a virus — that will infect your entire life unless you find the courage to fight back. Not against them, for that is only masking the symptom. No one has the right to tell you who you should be. Hold on tight to that one exquisite piece of you, and you alone; only then will you be able to destroy the fingers of influence that seek to cause its extinction. It won’t be easy; in fact, it may be the hardest, most frightening thing you will ever encounter.
But you are not alone.
Open up to those who find your uniqueness glorifying; to the hands that God has given you for protection and love. They are waiting for you, to guide you, to help you find the confidence, the hope and the joy that still live inside of you. No one has taken them away; they are simply buried within the depths of your wounds. Find the courage to speak out; find the courage to help others; find the courage to believe in your importance and one day you will find your way out of the darkness.
To those who are lost, and wandering among the forest of disillusion — no one in this world is worthless; no one in this world deserves to be submerged in the fear of derision; no one in this world should ever feel that the only way out is to become