Sometimes I get so deeply sad by how mean people can be to one another that I just cry. It’s a helpless cry that comes from the bottom of my heart, that expression is such a cliche but it’s a cliche for a reason because when you really feel something it does physically rise up from inside you. I don’t normally write about serious things because I like to try and be a source of positivity and humour but I want to share this story tonight.
Today a video has begun to go viral of a 15 year old Canadian girl named Amanda telling her heart breaking story of years of taunting at the merciless hands of total strangers and class mates. Devastatingly, Amanda committed suicide this weekend, just over a month after sharing her story.
If you look at her video on youtube you can see that there are many others just like it, that there are thousands if not millions of people suffering and hoping to find comfort in people’s attention so I know this is not a particularly unusual tale. What really struck me about Amanda’s story was how long her fight was, how tough she was to move schools three times and how hard she tried to give herself a chance.
This isn’t the case of an irrational teenager suddenly snapping and making a terrible mistake. This was a slow suffocation that should have been stopped. That there are people out there with such hatred oozing from their hearts that they can bring so much suffering to someone else is obviously disturbing. However, what really sickens me is how many hundreds of normal-ish people missed the chance to make a difference to Amanda along her descent.
To me this is the real problem, that it’s more convenient to just lay low, to ignore the hate flying over our heads. I know this isn’t an original thought but it’s just something I’m becoming increasingly fired up about. With the whole possibly-gay thing I have experienced on a very small level what it’s like to be hated by strangers. I get hate mail on this blog every week. If this was happening to me when I was a vulnerable teenager I wouldn’t have the armour to deflect it. I would have needed others to come to my defence.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to school so that I could have the chance to be the sort of person who opened my eyes to others’ hidden suffering and made the effort to be kind to them when it was more convenient to just stay out of it. I don’t think I was a bi*ch but I certainly wasn’t brave enough to stand up to protect others. Maybe I would have been though if it was cool to speak out and do the right thing? Perhaps this is where we can make a difference? How do we create a culture that rewards someone for speaking out, rather than mocking them for caring? Even writing this I feel like I’m being really lame on my moral high horse and that people are going to judge me for it. Whatever, YOLO and I’m determined to make some sort of difference in this area in my life, I’m going to start small by publishing this.