Bouncing back. Like a ball. But I am no ball. I am not there to be hit, to clear the ropes, to be sent out of the stadium in a freakish moon-shot. No. I am no ball. I am not there to be tampered with. I am not there to be smacked into the stands. Unlike a ball, I feel every blow.

Distance. It has severed our connection. These days we are friends in a virtual world, thousands of miles away from the impact of our words. Yet we throw them like balls, caring not where they land.

But land they do. And some we can block away, perhaps even return with interest. But the occasional phrase pierces our armour, gets under our skin. That ball becomes a weapon, a knife to our vulnerable insides. Enough to kill any whose heart is feint.

But that is not me. I will block. I will parry. Nothing will breach my defence. For I will listen to those who cast their stones at me. I will absorb their words, not be injured by them. Sure, my fists will clench when I hear them but when my fingers flick freely again I will look on those words with perspective. Like a batsman, I will leave those that are nothing balls, recognise that they serve no purpose, understand that the thoughts of those who do not care are irrelevant. But the something balls I will take on the chin. I will learn from the pain of their impact and set myself again for the next.

Because I am something. Someone. And I feel the hurt, but I choose to grow. I will not shrink, nor shy away. I will not be defeated by the bouncers, the fast-balls that social media rockets towards me. Each relevant blow will teach me something. I will learn from each. And I will thank those who bowl them for showing me how to flourish.