There was a story that crossed my Twitter feed
of a young nine-year old boy who committed suicide.
He told his mother he was gay. He told his friends at school too.
According to this young boy's mother, the kids at school said he should just kill himself.
And so he did.
My friend who shared this story asked:
"When will the bullying stop? I feel for this family!"
My response was:
I was bullied & I don't think bullying will ever end.
Sadly, too many kids have NO coping mechanisms.
Self esteem isn't a given. It's earned & learned.
Being bullied SUCKS. It was brutal. I wanted to die.
But I'm this person because I was forged in that fire.
I had very dark days in my youth.
Sometimes I'd come home from school and cry into my pillow.
I never quite fit in except with a small handful of people; my real friends who are, to this day, still my real friends.
But in the midst of my pain, I could not see them. I felt so small and insignificant. Helpless. Hopeless.
Pain whispered incessantly.
No one's going to miss you.
They'd be better off without you.
You don't fit in.
No one likes you.
Your pain is never going away.
It's going to be like this forever.
Every disappointment felt like a piece of my heart was being stomped on and it felt like tiny deaths. I often wondered how many of these tiny deaths can a person take before they really die?
At the time, I was not yet assessed with Asperger's. It was difficult to process my own emotions, much less understand the motivations of others.
An uncomfortable truth.
If I had wanted to kill myself, there was plenty of time and opportunity.
It was very easy to tell myself that they'd be better off without me.
So, what stopped me?
Somewhere in the darkness was a tiny light that said, "It will get better."
"I didn't do anything to deserve their hate. They're the assholes!"
"Who cares what they think of me. How do I think of me?"
"I am not giving them any more space in my world."
"In a couple years I'll never see them again."
"I have shit to do."
In the dark place I found the strength to keep going.
Now that I'm grown, the bullies of my youth have metamorphosed into this bully called LIFE with all of its uncertain twists and gut punches.
It is a reminder that your reaction is a choice.
You'll realize that little by little your armor grows stronger because of it.