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ASHLEY

ASHLEY

When kindness and truth rewrites the story

Ashley Mays / Sydney, Australia

The earliest memories I have of the school playground are that of being bullied. I would sit alone at lunchtime in the corner of the quadrangle
watching the other kids laugh and play. I felt so alone and ashamed that no one wanted to be my friend, and I had no confidence to utter a word. Within a crowd of people, I felt completely overlooked. I vividly remember hiding in the corner of my parent’s bathroom on the end of a conference call where a group of girls told me I was not wanted as their friend. I lay down on the cold bathroom floor and sobbed, my heart was shattered. As I grew older the bullying continued with entire classroom chalkboards filled with jokes about me. The times I did try and step out to make friends, girls would purposefully ignore me and walk away.

Psalm 78 in The Message translation of the Bible says:
“I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, COUNSEL WE LEARNED AT OUR MOTHER’S KNEE. We are not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation – God’s fame and fortune, the marvellous things he has done.”

The story and message of Sisterhood was passed to me from the women and mothers who were further down the journey than I. At a time when there were so many distracting, loud and hurtful voices – it was the truth within the language of Sisterhood that showed me I had value in Christ. Some of the early words that framed the message were “Warrior, Princess, Daughter”. I allowed these words to take shape within my heart. For the first time I was told that I was more than enough and I finally realised that I was part of a greater company of women who believed in me. I knew that I had a grandmother who woke in the early hours of each morning to pray for me, and a mother who stood beside me in the times I was most broken. Their prayers and support echoed the truth of this message.

Years have passed and I now have a voice to make a difference and speak into the hearts of others who feel alone and ashamed because they too are victims of bullying. I have the opportunity to tell them that they are valued and that “kindness rules”. I have the honour of coordinating ‘The String Movement’ – a global movement that exists to disarm bullying by encouraging young people to use their voice, creativity and community to make a difference. Anyone can tell a story but everyone wants a story they can be a part of. I love that my
everyday life is filled with making the stories of young people known, telling them that despite their past, they also have a bright future.

For more information about The String Movement visit www.thestringmovement.com