Evade, avoid, repeat. That’s my motto. Lately, it’s become more of an anthem. Some days, it works.
Tonight, for example, I didn’t notice that my open letter to my friends and my family wasn’t liked by even one of my family members on any of six social media outlets. I didn’t notice that out of 338 Facebook friends, only a handful read my letter or liked it.
In fact, It almost slipped right by me that out of my last 20 posts, only three family members interacted and the exact same 25 people.
A few wrote to tell me “I wanted to share it, but…” I understood. It’s hard to think about that kind of violence.
I would know. I struggled to write it.
Approximately 3 million reports are made annually, which include more than 6 million children. But we all just continue to watch. Meanwhile, CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman, an “expert,” wants to refer to the line between discipline and abuse as a gray blur?
I guess she’s never been a victim.
The same thing happened the first time my work was published by Elite Daily. #YesALLWomen began trending on Twitter, sparked by the Isla Vista Shooting.
Instead of mourning the victims, we placed gender against gender and one kind of pain against another, rather than addressing that we have a culture of violence.
#YesALLWomen is an important and meaningful hashtag. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I understood that. But as someone who experienced the death of two classmates and the tragedy of the Columbine Massacre when I was a high school student, it was frustrating to watch the world divert the attention away from the lives that were lost.
When I was 15, I remember thinking to myself that what I was hearing about would be a part of history one day. I never imagined we would allow it to become a way of life.
My friends and family struggled to congratulate me or share it the same then, too.
I called my mother and father and told them that day, even gave them the link to read it. Six hours later . . . silence.
No big deal. People forget how you made them feel, right? Maya Angelou reminds us that’s not true:
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Everyone is Talking About Homosexuality, But No One Is Talking About What Matters.
Less than 24 hours later, I realized that if I wanted my message to be heard, I needed to change the title. People wouldn’t read it and they definitely wouldn’t share it, if it alluded to a lifestyle they consider immoral, sinful, or perverse.
If I reference homosexuality or if I advocate on behalf of a transgender adolescent, I must be one of those people:
Leftward thinking people truly do whatever it takes when it comes to convincing others that their lifestyle — and other lifestyles — are simply equal expressions of human life.
Telling someone Jesus loves them is not the same as telling them you love them. Jesus can’t tell our children how much we love them or how important they are to us. Jesus can’t tell them how much they matter to us.
That’s our job.
Leelah just needed to know her parents loved her. She screamed it. She needed to know that her life mattered to them; she mattered.
When I was her age, I attempted suicide. It has taken fifteen years to admit that, but it took my church seconds to deem me unfit for ministry contract I had signed. In fine ink, it disclosed, “Perfection required.”
I guess I wasn’t called or anointed. I guess I’m not a leader. I’m just a sinner. My life didn’t matter. I didn’t matter. Only good Christians mattered.
At least that’s the message they sent. Now, as an adult, I know they were wrong, but back then I didn’t. I hid the truth, carried the guilt and blamed myself. I wish I hadn’t.
I’ve read the bible. For me, this was the verse that screamed among everything else:
Three things remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
I can’t help but wonder how many people viewed Leelah’s suicide note the night before her death and chose to ignore it.
It doesn’t take a Bible or a hashtag to share your faith, show love or save people. If you want to change the world, it’s simple.
Go spread love throughout it.
Someone in your life is sitting at home right now and they’re wondering why they should go on living. They’re suffering in silence and painting a smile because that is what we’ve come to believe is normal, polite and expected. But they’re lying. They’re desperate, broken, hurting and alone, and silently thinking,
I don’t matter. No one cares. If I die tomorrow, nobody will notice.
They say pain changes people. I’ve come to find it true myself.