Butterflies in Formation!
I slept through my alarm, rushed to get ready. Time to wash the dark bags from under my eyes was not in the schedule. It’s a cold and early morning and I lack motivation to unload the bus and set up the rig. I throw my headphones in my ears and power through the set up. The kids begin to load in and for some reason I’m just not into the show today. Most days I can barely wait for the students to load in and see our show, but today is different. The show starts and just before I go on stage I get an unexpected feeling- butterflies. I haven’t felt nervous before speaking in quite a while, so why now? Why today do I have uncontrollable butterflies flying around in my stomach? Then I remembered back to the first show we did. It was on the first day of school for a fresh batch of grade nine students. That day the principal gave a speech in an attempt to make them feel more comfortable at their first day of high school. He said, “I know there are butterflies flying around in your nervous stomachs, but I hope today that the butterflies will at least fly in formation.” Thinking back on this made me smile from ear to ear as a stepped out on stage. As I told my story of my first Hero Holiday trip I began to relive that experience. I honestly poured my heart into my speech and hoped that the students would here my words and that my words would speak truth.
After the show I was passing out brochures and 6 different students complimented me on my hair. This was definitely not the response I was hoping for. As the gym slowly emptied a girl approached Shayna and I. We could tell she wanted to say something so we asked her how she liked the show and what her favorite parts were. After an awkward silence, she came undone. She told us how she doesn’t have many friends at school because they’re all into drugs and she doesn’t want to lead that lifestyle. I noticed the cuts on her wrist and was able to share some of my challenges growing up with her, our stories were surprisingly similar. It broke my heart to see such a beautiful, young girl with so much potential, hurting so badly. Shayna and I had lunch with her, shared our stories on a more personal level and compared scars. It was amazing to be able to connect with her, bring her hope and encourage her. I actually felt like she believed me when I told her that her life has an incredible amount of value.
After lunch it was time to tear down and say goodbye. While tearing down Shayna and I were extremely upset by the realization that we had to leave this girl, so we decided to each write her a note. In the note I wrote everything that I wish someone would have told me when I was 14 years old. I told her how beautiful she was, how her life had purpose, and I even threw in a couple of my favorite quotes. We stuck the notes in her locker and I hope they made her smile when she found them. I think about her often and hope that in some way we gave her a glimmer of hope. After talking with her the lack of sleep, rushed early morning and hard work didn’t matter anymore. I realize now that each show that I am apart of has the potential to change lives and I am deeply grateful to be a part of something like this.
Brittany, a LiveDifferent Academy student on the road