Hey, Internet Bully, yeah you, the one that told me I have no “self-worth” and you hope I “fall hard – fall real hard down the mountain”. The one that called me an “asshat” and said I’m not bringing hope. Yeah….you.
I lied. I admit – your words sucked for a hot minute. Sucked so much now you got me writing about it (thanks, dude). I read them at 6:30 in the morning as I was preparing for my workday at church. I responded to you with love and grace and it was hard. Man, the old “Danielle” would have slaughtered you with a verbal assault. She would have ripped your soul out, stomped on it, spit on it, and kicked it in the gutter. That girl was angry – wait – no that girl was broken and sad and that showed in angry ways. She was always on the defense because her heart was broken, her spirit annihilated, and ugly words were etched in her skin. She no longer exists, though, by the grace of God. Her heart has been repaired and beats stronger than ever. Her Spirit flourishes and radiates a soft glow. The words carved in her skin have healed and you can look as closely as you want and I promise nary a scar can be seen.
Actually, I know of you. In fact, we share some of the same “friends” on Facebook. Your brother is pretty prominent in Cleveland and owns some pretty successful businesses. He seems nice and recently shared the “Circle of Love” event held yesterday to inspire love and peace in the city of Cleveland. I saw the picture of you and your family at a wedding. Everyone looks quite lovely. Your parents (I assume they are) look really kind with smiles beaming from ear-to-ear in the picture surrounded by all the people they love so dearly. I bet you all celebrate wonderful holidays together. Then I saw you in the forefront kneeling down next to a little girl and holding her hand. You had a joyous smile on your face and you even posted, “Great times together. I love my family.”
Sadness washed over me immediately. I wonder if your family knows the ugliness you are capable of. Like, when your Mom hugs you goodbye does she realize her son shamed a stranger on the Internet and told her to fall off a mountain? You told a woman she has no “self-worth” and she should be disgusted she is sharing her story. Does Mama know this as she prepares a home cooked meal with you sitting at the table as you recap your day? Did you include me in your recap of the day? Does your brother know you are spreading hate at the same time he is trying to spread love in the very city streets we all walk on? I wonder what his customers would think if they saw the ugliness you try to spread on the Internet? Perhaps your family does and they are trying their best to help you. Or, maybe they have no clue because you live a double life. Regardless, I am sorry.
I am sorry you are hurt and broken. I’m sorry you suffer from pain and you don’t love yourself. See, we were once the same. Instead of being angry at you – I’m going to pray for you. Obviously, you cared enough to write something to me because I struck a nerve. Maybe you see anxiety, mental illness, addiction, and hopelessness as a weakness because you suffer from those very things. I’m sorry. It breaks my heart for you because I know how you feel. It sucks. You are not weak. In fact, sweeping it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist will end up destroying you. My prayer will be that one day you will experience internal peace and it will radiate to all those around you. There is so much ugliness in this world right now and even though you are just a “number” if each of us can overcome whatever we are battling, our numbers will grow, and we will eradicate hate and anger together.
I am bringing you up the mountain with me. I am. I am going to write your name on a piece of paper and carry you with me the whole way. Even when you feel like you want to quit – I won’t let it happen. I am going to say your name out loud at the very top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and declare God’s will over your life. No need to thank me – it is the very least I can do. Heck, that is why I share my story so boldly – to help those like the old “Danielle”. God gave me a second chance and it would be a disservice if I swept my story under the rug because I was full of shame. I will not live my life in vain. Nope. I will continue to share it and share it proudly because there are too many people out there that need to hear it. People just like you.