The Prison Inside

Image via the Telegraph, UK.

Hi. I’m moving to Tennessee for a few years.

I don’t really know what you think about that, and frankly, at this point, I have already made my decision. Frankly, what matters is that I am jumping into my own fear.

I am moving South of my own accord.

Why? The answer is a bit complicated.

When I was young, I lived in Arkansas. In those formative years, I grew up thinking I didn’t matter. When I did matter, it was for my test scores, or to boost someone else’s grade, or to win or to get better. I was depressed and lonely. I saved face by pickling my own Asian face and hoping that, one day, I would be accepted in someone else’s eyes. When I left, I thought I had escaped.

It’s a bit of a stereotype to think that bullying is the worst base on numbers or statehood. Bullying is the worst based on quality or lack of quality of life for every student impacted by it. Sadly, I didn’t just face bullying in Arkansas, but also as the new kid in school in Illinois. For years, people called me ugly names and I believed them.

I am lucky. I have amazing parents and friends sent by God. However, that is not to belittle how awful and hostile a school can be. Not only did I have students (straight A ones too) make fun of me, but coaches, teachers, security guards and even counselors. The very people who were supposed to protect me in school, they tried to teach me that I was a disease, a mistake or a joke.

Who was the worst bully though? The worst bully, the one who said the most vicious things. She always stayed close, harboring ill thoughts and words that cut like razors. That bully was me. I said the meanest, crudest things to myself, to the point where several times I thought, “I don’t deserve to live.” So, the first thing you need to do, as Sean Stephenson says, is to escape “The Prison of Your Mind.”

Those days of bullying are long gone. Sometimes, my mind’s prison comes back. She revisits my story and tells me all the ways I can’t. Then, I let the bully go, because my mind can also be a garden. I now know that everyone is capable of cruelty, but also capable of profound love. I know I have voice all my own and I will fight with every fiber of my being to make sure that the underdog will always, always, always be heard. I want those kids with the worst bullies, the ones who live inside them, are going to be not just okay, but absolutely great. Stunning, unbelievable, accomplished, astute, role models. Phenoms. Geniuses. I believe God made every soul on this earth precious and perfect in His sight. For that, because of that, I want just one more student to know that someone out there cares. Not just me, but the Creator and a whole world of loving people we haven’t met…yet.
Yes, I am going to somewhere where this was reported. But you know what? I’m also going somewhere where this was reported.
It doesn’t matter that I’m going somewhere new, only that I’m going.
It doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe, only that God believes in me.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t know, because I have faith that great change will happen.
It is inevitable.
Great things are going to happen. We just have to stop bullying ourselves, let go of assumptions or stereotypes or prejudices, and step into the light of honest, real thinking.
You’re going to change the world. Is it for better or for worse?
“He was despised and rejected[a] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[b] and acquainted with[c] grief;[d]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[e]
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
-Isaiah 53:3 ESV
Christ was bullied by all of mankind, and He was the Son of God. If that’s the case, then humanity truly needs work.
“Work hard. Be nice.”
S.
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