I am having a hard time falling asleep tonight so I have been surfing the web. I came across a series of “It Gets Better” YouTube postings. For those of you who do not know they are short(ish) video postings against bullying by and against young people.
Dan Savage started this campaign as a result of the rash of young people, mostly gay, who took their own lives because they could no longer deal with the hurt that was being thrust upon them by their peers. The videos are not really geared toward the bullies but to the recipients of the bullying.
These videos have become somewhat trendy but many are still are quit moving. The President, Vice President and Secretary of State have all produced videos as well as most of the rest of the cabinet and members of congress led by the Nancy Pelosi. Many of the elites of the entertainment and business worlds have joined in. Tonight I watched one produced by a few Orthodox Jewish young men that was both heart breaking and hopeful at the same time.
It is a simple message, things may be tough now but it won’t last forever and it will get better, you will graduate from high school, you will become an adult and you will leave all of that badness behind.
I am here to tell you that it does get better. I was a tall, gangly ok scrawny, red head with glasses, a silver front tooth, and the not very coordinated son of one of Easton’s greatest athletes. I stuttered, I wore glasses, I had ADD before anyone knew what it was, and I was obsessed with my church/religion and politics. I was more comfortable with my parent’s friends than I was with kids my own age.
I had a few friends and one in particular was oddly supportive and protective at the same time. For some reason this very athletic, handsome, graceful and well spoken kid liked me and was always there to back me up. We were quite a pair from the 4th grade through high school he and his family we like a second family to me. I would stumble and trip, I would have panic attacks while trying to play football, I would try to debate him in class and in spite of the stutter he always allowed me to have my say. I am to this day very grateful for the friendship of both Donn and his family and I wish the years have not separated us.
But he or a few other “body guards” could not protect me. I was bullied, A lot. Hell, even the girls tried to beat me up a few times after getting off the 6th grade bus. I just retreated to my books and left the world for a little while.
I am ashamed to say that I participated in some bullying myself. One of the boys I helped to bully once said to me “Why are you of all people doing this?” I just looked at him and shrugged. I of course knew that I was doing it for self protection; at least they weren’t coming after me. He of course knew this and was at times guilty of the same crime.
But, through it all something inside me forced me to push on, sure I thought about just chucking it all in, quite frankly I still do. Because this shit is hard, nothing ever came or comes easy for me, everyday is a struggle but I still have hope. My guy does what he can to help it getter better for me. I have friends, I have family and most importantly through it all like Bill Clinton “I still believe in a place called Hope”.
So, if you know of a young one getting the shit kicked out him just because he is not like all the other boys or if you know of girl who is just not quite fitting in, reach out, tell him his is great, tell her she is special. Tell them it does and it will Get Better.
If they need more information or if you do please check out the below websites.