Friday, October 01, 2010

I Will Survive Doing It My Way on The Finally Friday Freakout

We will survive if we can endure. I wish I could have told that those young souls who ended their lives because of bullies. Suicide is not a good option. It is final but the pain that is left behind for others to carry is too much.

There are people that want to do better but first, a musical interlude to mellow us out after a tragic week that will pass into time but not without a handkerchief of tears.

This is Chantay Savage with her rendition of I Will Survive (Doing it My Way)

If you never experienced being bullied as a child or a teen you really don't understand. There are adults who call it teasing, kids being kids or any other word used to explain away one or more people targeting another person.

Age is not an excuse. Youth is not an excuse. We've had elementary school students tease other children into suicide. There is something profoundly wrong here.

If you have never had 15 kids make fun of you in stereo then you do not know what hell on earth is like.

It can be physical. Verbal. It can be emotional. It can be a two for one deal that last for years. Let me emphasis that last part, "for years." That is after you tell the parents, after you tell the teacher, the principle and any other adult.

Some adults will act and some will tell you to suck it up or fight back. Some of the incompetent adults will laugh and join in on the attack because unbeknown to the young person an internal cage is being rattled.

Adults who hear stories of young suicides ask how did their pain get bad? Because the student in question had no place or person they could turn as a resource. There is embedded sexism, homophobia and all kinds of sanctioned body abuse.

Sustained abuse is either internalized, reciprocated or medicated. Death is the ultimate pain killer. Seriously, don't do drugs and don't kill yourself.

Survival and Coping

We as straight, gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer and asexual adults have to put out more emergency soul repair kits and mental life rafts.

We have the power to inform and counteract the negativity and the misinformation.

I like Dan Savage's idea about creating a video channel telling gay youth that there is another side if they can hang on because it does Get Better.

The Twitter hastags #stayalive #itgetsbetter has some good idea such as the repetition of the suicide prevention hot line for LGBTQ youth 886-488-7386. Other folks are offering coping ideas, music and resources.

The Gay Lesbian and Straight Eduction Network has an anti-bullying resource page students.

It doesn't matter to me if you are a teen or an older person trying to hold on praying expectantly or holding on 'til your change shall come.

It might mean actively looking for positive mentors. Artists, poets, dancers, sports folks. It might mean reading or searching for your historical pathfinders to figure out how they moved forward.

Deep breaths. One moment at a time.


  1. "Sustained abuse is either internalized, reciprocated or medicated. Death is the ultimate pain killer. Seriously, don't do drugs and don't kill yourself."

    You hit the nail on the head with this statement. People often fail to look beyond isolated incidents of bullying into the culture of scapegoating and picking on certain kids who are different in some way; which as you pointed out, adults often participate in. The longer term effects of being the 'odd kid' or the 'dyke' or whatever other social outcast category one occupies can be truly devatating, and as we see, fatal. Not only suicide, but drug addiction, high risk behaviors and even, god forbid, incidents like Columbine. I am a parent/community representative on the Governanace Council of a charter school here is Milwaukee that was created to be a safe haven for kids who have been bullied in other schools. The population is largely, but not exclusivly, LGBT. There are many graduates of the school, including my own son, who credit the school with preventing them from dropping out.
    Thanks for your very sensitive post and the beautiful video. :)

  2. Thank you for your kind words. I don't know what it will take to really get people to focus on the long term effects. Look at our public discourse where verbal cruelty is called freedom of expression and only the loud bully voice is heard.

    Has it come to if people point out the dollar value of sustained bullying that might get people's attention.

    I don't know.