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When I was younger, I used to hear this idiom tons and tons of times. Heck, I’ve even reiterated it in my head hundreds of times, if not thousands. Because at one time, I thought that the more I said it in my head, the more likely it would come true. But yet in the end, words are the things that hurt the worst… because they’re nothing tangible, yet they hurt emotionally, which in the end, may have a long lasting effect. Especially for a child.

If someone gave you a time machine to use, what period in your life would you go back to? For me, it’s simple. Of course I would choose childhood when school was a breeze and life was simple as pie. But for others, they would choose anything other than their childhood because it is only filled with sadness and despair. As a child, I only remember my only real stressor in life was what to do the next day for fun. Shall it be playing on the playground or running in the field to play soccer?! But for others, they’re not so fortunate. Instead of thinking of what to play, they’re thinking of how to rid themselves of the suffering and pain inflicted upon them by other children in their class.

After work today, I hung out with my two little cousins. One of them is 14, and she used to be the loudest and most cheerful little girl you could ever imagine. Now? She’s quiet, shy, and introverted. On the other hand, her little sister, she’s the exact opposite. She’s outgoing, has great connections with her fellow classmates at school, and loves to talk to me. She’s not afraid of trying new things or speaking out to ask for things. I often look at them and go “how are they even related and how are they even sibings?!” but when I saw them on the playground playing together, I knew exactly the reason why.

After the older one got a haircut, she was somewhat upset by how it had turned out, so she scurried back home leaving the youngin’ and myself taking a stroll in the park. From what was supposed to be a simple walk in the park turned out to be a complete reflection on my part. And empathy. And sympathy. The little one told me about her sister, and how she’s been struggling to even simply “stay alive” at school due to the bullies that have been harassing her. From what outwardly appeared like a normal 14 year old girl, who was shy and reserved, was someone who was broken deep down inside, and shattered into a million little pieces who desperately needed mending. As I listened to the story of my cousin’s life, I recalled the simple line from the book “Because all my life I’ve learned to suffer in silence” Here was a true case of what it meant to suffer in silence. Never would I have guessed that she has already endured more than I have in comparison to my 22 years of living in terms of hardships and bullying. And a child should not have to endure all this.

I must say, I had it pretty good with not being too bullied at school. There may have been a few instances here and there, but never has it reached the point where I wanted to take my own life away. And NEVER should it ever get to that point. Not for anyone. Especially not someone who should be enjoying their life as a child without a worry in the world. But yet, for this little girl, she’s been through all that. And still, at this moment, she is. It broke my heart to hear the story coming from my cousin’s mouth, because they’re so close to me (in blood), yet, I don’t know anything about them. It breaks my heart to know how much they’ve been through, and yet, when I see them playing on the playground, it doesn’t appear that way. They still manage to have loads of fun playing on the playground, even if it is with a simple swing or monkey bar. When I saw the two of them playing together on the playground, I knew instantly why they were meant to be sisters. Because the little one was the support and the strength for the older one. Together, they were one. And I knew that no matter what, I could always count on the younger one to be there for her sister. That’s why God gave us siblings. They were laughing and giggling while playing together. Now -that’s- how childhood should be.

When my younger cousin was telling the story, I didn’t think the climax was necessarily when she described the fighting and the crying, but when she said this: “… and after, all we did was just pray. Together.”

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It’s rather odd how my 14 year old cousin reminds me of the main character in the book I’m currently reading (The Witch of Portobello). All her life, the main character has been searching for love in her life, and how to love someone. But what she doesn’t realize is, is that she’s more than capable of showing love to others. She doesn’t realize how much she’s touched the lives of the people she’s been in contact with, even if it’s for a moment. She leaves a long lasting impression on others. And I believe my cousin is just like her. She seeks for acceptance, and love, but she doesn’t realize just how amazing she is because all her life she’s been picked on by others and having her bad qualities talked about by others. It only takes one negative thing to ruin a thousand good ones.

Every time I look at her, I can’t help but think of all the suffering she has and is currently going through. She keeps asking me if high school is hard (since she is entering grade 9 this summer) and continually asks if it was hard for me to socialize (since she will also be going to a different school). When I first heard of the question (without prior knowledge of her past bully situations), I thought it was rather simplistic, because I’m sure everyone gets butterflies when they are placed in a new environment. But after hearing her story, I now understand that not only was she nervous, but scared because of her previous experiences with her classmates. And I don’t blame her. I remember back in my days, one thing I looked forward to was meeting new friends at school, but for some out there, it may be the one thing they are dreading the most; because they fear that someday those people may hurt them. And they have no where to turn to…

All she wanted was to be loved“. That was another quote that just struck the needle on the head… She only wants to be loved. A simple sentence… made up of simple words… yet why is it so hard to accomplish? If only it was as simple as stated… the whole world would be a much better place. If only people knew how much words could hurt someone deep inside. Despite the fact that we may repeat this idiom to ourselves everyday, it still affects us long after.

It’s odd how God works. A day of hanging out with my cousin not only has made me learn more about them, but they have taught me a little lesson as well; that words do have consequences… and that someone who may appear to be shy and introverted may only be that way because of their past, and all they need is some mending. Time. Love. Love. and more Love.

Some people may need a little extra nurturing, so if that’s the case… don’t give up on them. Because I’m sure that deep down they know you mean them well, and they really do appreciate every little thing you do.

So go out there and share your wonderful gift out there to the people who need it. Because everyone has that special something, so use it =). Mine? I think I’ll smile just a little more everyday. Show that world what you have! Don’t be afraid. Because someone out there in that big world needs it.

Love,

Steph

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