So, it might come as a bit of a surprise to know that Aly used to walk to school, eyeing the ground, being too nervous to look anyone else in the eye. At one point in her life, she would hunch over a little, so she could appear as short as the other girls in her class and village. Why, she even had a stuttering complex whenever people spoke to her! That was Aly, not long before the events in “Prossia” took place, when her main concern was proving her worth so she wouldn’t be bullied anymore in “Evaluations of the Tribe.”
In this story, we don’t see an Aly who’ll put a guy in his place, if he crosses his boundaries. Instead, we see an insecure, low-self esteemed, severely troubled young girl who wants nothing more than the kids in her class to leave her alone. It’s not like she ever did anything to them. Still, Aly finds herself facing that ultimate adversary many children – and even adults – must face on a day-to-day basis. She knows all too well what the grounds to being bullied are:
· Not having anyone to stand up for you
· Having parents or guardians who can’t seem to help
· Having parents or guardians who only make matters worse when they try to help
· Wondering what you possibly did to deserve being born different, the reason to your harassment
· Wishing that you were either dead, or better yet, had never been born at all
· Hating yourself along with those who make your existence miserable
· Dreading every morning you wake up, knowing “that person” or “those people” are just waiting on you, and you can’t do anything about it
Regardless of the circumstances, having to deal with the constant harassment, both verbal and physical, of the people you must mingle with is not acceptable. Like Aly, you do not have to simply “cope” with it. If you do, you might break, just the way she did one day in “Evaluations.” Still, there is hope. I know it’s hard to believe, but it does get better. Take it from someone who’s gone through the trenches, himself.
And what about those of us who now get to watch the travesty from the sideline? It is in our power to act and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves, much the way Aly’s best friend, Catty, does for her in the story. That means you’ll have to go out of your comfort zone. It means everyone around you will look at you, as if you’ve lost your mind. It means, at times, you might lose the support of some friends, and yes, even family.
Thing is, we’re all stuck on this tiny blue dot in the vast universe, so it’s way past time we start standing up for ourselves, and those around us. No, it doesn’t mean you have to do something as epic as a March On Washington every single day. But maybe we can learn a thing or two from Catty, who took the time to help Aly pick up her things when someone knocked her down. Who knows how that small gesture will come back in good favor. You might just save a world, at least for a day. One down. Over 7 billion to go. Good thing there’s a bunch of us around ready to do our part, eh? ;)
Goodreads Prossia Giveaway