Sticks and stones may break my bones...but words can really hurt me | HerCanberra

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Sticks and stones may break my bones…but words can really hurt me

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As the year draws to an end I tend to reflect on the year I have had, and start to think about the goals I want to achieve in the following year. While there have been many wonderful and challenging and rewarding events throughout 2014, Sunday 9 November will remain a significant day for me that has and will continue to change the course of my life.

One month ago today was the inaugural World Adoption Day. Individuals touched by adoption were invited to draw a smile on their hands and put it up on social media. As is so often the case in my life, I didn’t think, I just did. I trusted my instincts. I was ready to “come out”, to share this aspect of my identity and my personal history with the world. This was a huge personal step for me. Friend, family and strangers were supportive. I was proud of the choice and thought things would just move on.

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And then the trolling began. I will not reiterate the words here. They were so disgusting and hateful and cruel, I would not want to fill your screen with them, and reiterating them only gives them more power. I am not a stranger to “haters”. Anyone that puts themselves out there in the public eye – no matter what the forum – is likely to experience these characters from time to time, but I would never have anticipated the level that this would go.

After several cries, support from my wonderful network and a particularly emotionally intelligent dog, I was ready to push back. I wrote:

“I normally pay no regard to haters, but today, for the first time, I make an exception. Thankyou to the internet trolls who felt entitled to privately message me their negative opinions about my identity as an adopted individual. I make the exception because all I have shared with have been stunned by your words, and I want to highlight that prejudice and judgement occurs in unexpected ways. While yes, your words hurt, I am grateful: as a direct result of your actions I was reminded of the incredible support I have around me from family, friends, my leaders, guides and mentors. #flyhigh xb”

The comments I received to this post blew me away. Friends, acquaintances, strangers, with beautiful words of love and acceptance. More than any other post or achievement or action I have taken to date. As a result of this experience I am keen to hold an World Adoption Day celebration in 2015, and with the encouragement of others am considering writing out my story.

While definitely one of the most challenging experiences I have had this year, I have also learnt so much from this experience. My mentor relentlessly challenges me to find the good in every situation, and I can whole heartedly say that I have been able to do that. As a result of a few horrid words, I have been flooded with words of love, support, encouragement and acceptance. As a result of their cowardice, I have committed to boldly and unashamedly living my most authentic life. As a result of blind hate, I am committed to learn to accept and love myself, just as I am.

It was a hard and challenging journey, but the universe knew I was ready to face it.

Be careful with your words this holiday season, they hold immense power to impact on others, you choose what kind of impact you will make.

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2 Responses to Sticks and stones may break my bones…but words can really hurt me

Heather says: 9 December, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I wish I’d know it was World Adoption Day, I would have worn a a HUGE smiley face in honour of my youngest niece, who has brought so much joy to my family. We were first sent a photo of her when she was six months old, I fell in love with her through it and that love just grows and grows.

I am so sorry you had negative and hurtful comments, and wish you all the best.

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