What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Arienne.
I’m a normal teenage girl. I like pizza. I’ve had my heart broken by a boy. I spend too much time doing my hair. I’ve walked through the labyrinth of social nonsense that typifies the teenage years. I’ve grown up in a loving, middle class family in a lovely, Midwest community.
It’s been a great life. Except for the one little aside that wasn’t. The one thing that stopped me in my tracks, sucked the breath right out of my average girl self, and made me question everything about everything. For a painful period of time I was ruthlessly bullied by an adult authority figure in my life. The details are irrelevant, really. They are actually pretty textbook and normal. And that’s the problem. That it’s the norm. And to get through the norm, most people just stay silent and don’t let on. That’s what I did for quite some time. Until I realized that I have a voice and I chose to use it.
There is so much power in speaking. Speaking shatters lies. Speaking unlocks chains. Speaking stops terrors. Speaking gives courage. Speaking empowers. Speaking doesn’t always change the situation, but it will change you. What happens when you speak truth isn’t necessarily that someone else steps up to rescue you, it’s that you begin to rescue yourself.
The thing is, you also need someone to hear you. To really hear you. Even just one. One person. ONE PERSON. I’m so thankful I had that. And that’s what I want to do is be the one person to as many people as I can. There are so many who don’t have even just one.
I hope to combine my interests with my passion for justice to impact the lives of others. No one can change the fact that the world is full of pain and heartache, but no one should have to go through it alone. I’ve become fueled with a passion to stand up for what’s right. I want my life to be dedicated to fighting for justice – for the impoverished, the marginalized, and the everyday typical teenagers like myself. I want my future to lead me to places where I can be the reason that someone didn’t give up. The world begs us to find our identity in someone else. I want to help show others that who they are is enough. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” The most recent proof that all it takes is ONE is Malala. My typical teenage life is nothing like hers. I’ve never endured anything like she has. I can’t hope to be like her because I don’t know her adversity. What resonates with me about Malala, though, is that at such a young age, she understands the value of life and is an overcomer because she believes in her own worth. She is only one, but she is enough. She wouldn’t let anyone make her believe that she didn’t have value, that she wasn’t of worth.
"One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world," Malala has said. It just takes one. ONE.