First off, let me say that no, this is not what you come to this blog for.
This is not what you're looking for on the blog and for that I apologize, but I just felt the need to speak up.
This recent rash of bullying related suicide is driving me insane. We've seen at least 3 kids in the past 2 months, ranging from 13 to 18 take their own lives due to different forms of bullying. These particular cases have been due to homophobic bullying, which blows my mind since it's 2010.
Growing up, I was always the fat kid and the other kids were ruthless. Not only that, but as I got older I discovered that I was into art and music and apparently in a small town that makes you a "fag". Wearing clothes that don't have a label on them makes you "poor". Being different than everyone else makes you "weird". I didn't see anything wrong with that, though.
What's weird about drawing or reading comic books? Isn't that what kids do?
What's weird about playing guitar and listening to punk music? Why does that make me a "fag"?
To give you some perspective of the town I grew up in and still live in, it's a small logging town called Lake Butler in North Central Florida. High school football is the sport of gods and everybody drives to the cemetery to have sex after school. The population is under 2,000 people.
My problem was, that I didn't fit into the generalization of what a kid should be in such a small, country town. I didn't play football, I didn't like to go hunting, and church was not my number one concern.
There were even rumors bouncing around for some reason that I was an Atheist. I'm not an Atheist, but even if I was, who cares? Why does it matter? That would be my personal preference, not yours.
I didn't drive a truck in high school, instead I wanted a small SUV so I could haul my band's equipment to shows. If you don't drive a truck, though, you must not be a man.
I know I'm ranting at this point, but what I'm getting at is that these small things add up. These constant insults over every trait of my personality or my life accumulated into a ball of tension inside of me. I hated myself most of the time because it felt like everyone hated me.
I was bullied into almost killing myself more than once all through school and if it hadn't been for parents who cared and having music in my life, I wouldn't have made it out alive.
Ultimately, the goal of this post is that hopefully you will start to think twice about comments you make to people. I'm not talking about defending yourself, because you have to do that. What I'm talking about is senselessly critiquing or teasing or berating your peers. It's unnecessary and makes people feel horrible. Why would you want to do that?
Also, if you see someone being bullied or if you know a kid in your life who is going through a hard time at school or in their life, reach out.
You don't have to be a genius or a saint to make a difference and you could save someone's life.