Do you know what’s cruel? People.

Do you know what’s hard? Walking into a room full of them, setting yourself down, and saying, this is who I am and I’m okay with it.

Because a lot of people won’t be.

But this is what I am learning, this is what I am coming to know through the sticks and stones I dodged, and the words that left me bruised in their place -

Words leave no wiggle room for grace, however, the condition of the heart we speak them from does. It leaves so much room.

We are fearful and crooked artists, we stitch our words together clumsily, creating sentences with our histories. We curate our opinions based on our unique life experiences. And we make accusations out of unbandaged wounds under our tongues. It is not in our nature to be good. But good is the only thing He is, and because of that, our words do not fall flat.

I have been called a lot of names - I have watched them catapult in slow motion of off tongues, stared as the ominous dots floated tauntingly on the other end of the phone, waiting for the text to stab me through the screen.

We live in a time where we’ve memorized a lot of people’s lives, but we know nothing about their hearts. We could ace a quiz on their fashion choices, their friend groups, the most liked photo on their Instagram, but we don’t know a second of their past, don’t know the first time they felt the sting of words or the first time something made them cruel.

We’re all walking around speaking to each other through the holes in our skin, the jagged spaces judgement and criticism and lies have used as an entrance.

We must be kind. We cannot understand each other via VSCO filters.