I wish I could say that the world will never hurt you. That you will never be bullied, harassed, put down, degraded, shamed, judged, or misunderstood. I would like to tell you that you will cross paths only with the kindest and gentlest of souls, those who will treat you with nothing but love and respect. I cannot, though, because I cannot lie to you.
I wish they would see you as I see you. They see a little boy who is different, one who does not speak as well as others his age. A boy who struggles to express himself. A child who does not quite fit in. I look at you and find a smile that lights up a room. I see a boy caught up in his own beautiful mind. I see someone who craves affection though he cannot define his needs.
I wish they knew what I know. They think because you are overweight that makes you lazy and deserving of scorn. They do not know how you yearn to be a part of their group. They do not care that their relentless teasing drives you into a downward spiral. I know that when you are safe in an environment with family and friends you are a vivacious girl with a laugh that sounds like a song. I know that you would like help, not hate.
I wish they understood that hiding under your public persona is a person who is struggling. Can they take the time to delve beneath the surface to see that you are fighting depression? Would they be willing to lend a helping hand if they could see how anxiety grips you in a chokehold of paralyzing fear?
I wish that “different” was embraced instead of ridiculed. My hope is that uniqueness and quirkiness will someday be the new normal. I want to see an end to derision directed at anyone who does not fit the mold. Let us use words as healing tools and not as weapons.
I wish people would not judge you as a part of this or that group. I want them to get to know you for the individual that you are. I think they would be surprised to find who they might become friends with, if they defined you by character rather than by race, profession, religion, sexual preference, or looks.
I wish I could assure you that it gets better as you get older. That people mature and behave like the adults they are supposed to be. That they do not get on social media and attack one another over differing political or social views. That “grown ups” will not bully or harass others from behind a keyboard.
I wish that you would find me. I promise you that I will work on making it better. I pledge that I will be one of the good ones. I will be there to provide a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, and a real concern for your well-being. I swear there are more of us than there are of them, and you will know us when you see us. We will be here waiting to welcome you into the fold.
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