- I speak to you as an adult who was once a scared teenager like you
- I speak to the adult that you are becoming
- Whether you’re male, female, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Black, White, Asian, short, tall, skinny, fat, popular, friendless
- Who is considering to end your life
- Who have been bullied
- Who is a bully
Monday, October 18, 2010
CHRISTOPHER’S “IT GETS BETTER” STORY
In response to the recent teen suicides in our country hundreds of Americans, including celebrities, posted videos they’ve created for the gay and the questioning teenagers. They talk about their high school experiences and stress not to give up on life and that things will “get better.” I would like you as a reader to indulge me for this blog entry by allowing a break from the topic of HIV this week so I may progress this noteworthy and effective movement -in my own words.
For the teenager out there who’s reading this:
For the teenager out there who’s reading this- this story is dedicated to you.
When we were born we had no knowledge. When we were children we asked many questions and accepted the answers given to us. When we became teenagers we asked less and less questions and repressed the answers given to us. When we became adults we no longer asked questions because we knew all the answers. At such time a child asks the questions of which we provide the answers to. And so the child sets off with this newfound knowledge we granted him/her. What was the message we gave them?
I’ll tell you the message that adults, especially parents, guardians, and teachers should always give to children: Life will never be easy because every day we learn something new, even as adults when we are expected to have all the answers. We learn that each day will never be the same as the other, filled with happiness and celebration, or heartache and sadness. But most importantly, no two human beings will ever be the same as one another, but all human beings are equal. As you get older and you as a person change both physically and emotionally you will begin to understand this. In the meantime, you must never hurt others for what you do not understand or are afraid of. Everyone, including you, has the right to be themselves.
Generations after generation of teens have been taught to believe that you need to have all the answers by the time you finish high school and know what you want to do with your life. I had no idea who I was in high school. I had no idea who I was in college. Now, I am twenty seven years old and I am still discovering who I am and realizing the things I have always been- special, loved, wanted, and welcomed. If we all knew then in high school what we know now as adults perhaps things would have been different. I wouldn’t have isolated myself as much as I did out of fear. I would’ve ignored the teasing and remarks aimed to hurt me. I would have known that high school was only the first chapter of my life. Unfortunately, life does not allow that luxury and maybe for good reason. Where are all those people that verbally hurt me back in high school, today? Who knows, who cares.
I can sit here and give you specifics about my high school experience. However, so many individuals have already done so on Youtube through Dan Savages, “It Gets Better Project” and I cannot thank them enough for their bravery and speaking their thoughts. I only wished these resources were available to me when I was younger. Perhaps I would have made smarter choices in high school and reached out to peers and educators and loved ones. Perhaps I would have realized that I am not alone and that there are others out there just like me rather than choosing to isolate myself. That hurt I created I believe was the ultimate reason to the predicament I have created - living a life with HIV. But that was me and this is you.
Let me offer my hand to the gay and questioning teens that are currently victims of bullies. Don’t give up and don’t let them win. There is nothing wrong with you. The bullies are the ones with the problem only because they don’t understand you and are yet unable to value all that you will accomplish when you are free to dictate your own life in the years to come. Bullies can also be adults as well as peers. Find someone to reach out to if you are being harassed in any way. Remember that everyone, including you, has the right to be themselves.
If you are someone who is a bully- leave them alone. You will only be doing greater damage to yourself in addition to the person you are physically hurting.
My final thought on this entry is this- not only will I promise you that it gets better, but it gets incredibly and substantially better. Hang in there and when high school is over you will be free to live as the person you desperately have been trying to be. Who knows, by sticking around you may save the life of another teen who will one day seek your help.
We in the LGBT community will always be here to welcome you with warming arms.
On October 20, 2010 remember to wear purple, in honor of the lost teens who felt they had no one and nowhere to turn to in their time of crisis. They will forever be in our hearts.