Listen to the Silence

The inspiration of my artwork comes from the ongoing issue of bullying. Bullying is an act of willingly inflicting pain to others and, although it's not oftentimes physical, the emotional trauma never leaves the victim. In my piece, I am conveying that youth violence can be prevented if youth understood one another and didn't feel so alone. It is important to unite and transform bullies into positive youth that contribute to the well-being of society.

In the back of a class of twenty-eight students
Sits a brown-eyed, black-haired girl.
Her glasses make her a nerd, though no one knows she's struggling to achieve passing grades.
"Loser," they call out, pointing, laughing, pushing her into lockers.
She walks alone.
"How are you?" Quiet Tom asks.
She tries to smile, but instead a faint sob escapes her dried lips, knowing he doesn't really care.
As the rain pours down, she walks into the empty home and finds her brother in the garage.
"She's ugly, but what can I do?" her brother tells his best friend.
He didn't think she'd hear him. She did.
She trips on the first step up.
"I can't do this anymore," she thinks.
She breathes heavier with each step
Until she reaches the top,
And suddenly, the top feels worse than the bottom.
The scars hidden beneath her skin continue to burn.
She turns the computer on.
"Why are you so ugly?"
The message on the computer screen blinks, taunting her.
She switches the computer off.
Her bed awaits her, tear-stained pillow cases and blankets to caress her,
Though she doesn't remember what it's like to feel accepted by anything but her
Pity-filled bedding.
Three streets down, Quiet Tom considers the words he heard last week.
"You're hopeless." It's not his voice in his mind; it's the voice of his English tutor.
"You'll never amount to anything. Don't bother trying anymore, there's no use."
Three streets down, as she wakes up with her face smothered with tears,
The doorbell rings.
He, too, has tears streaming down his face.
"Don't listen to them.
Do your best at whatever you do.
They're tearing you down to build themselves up,
They're relieving their grief by hurting you,
They're hurting inside, too, but they're not admitting it to themselves.
Don't... please don't let that stop you from holding on."
Don't let them hold you back."
Tom stares into her hallow eyes, for he knows there was some sort of hope keeping her at the doorstep,
And then he walks down the street without saying goodbye.
She switches her computer on again.
"React, loser," it reads.
It was the end of eleven other messages telling her that she's annoying,
Stupid,
Useless.
So she reacts, simply by not reacting,
For she knows that someone cares,
Someone else understands.
Someone else is listening to the silence.

Artist: Suzanne Joanes
Age: 17-24