Bad Seeds & the belt

Lately, the topic on all of the daytime shows and the evening news has been of bullying.  When I heard of the kid who jumped of the bridge to kill himself after his dorm roommate had set up a webcam to broadcast what ended up being his intimate moments with a male friend, I wanted to cry.  It hurt my heart.  It disturbs me to hear of anyone being there in that still moment, making the decision that their life isn’t worth living anymore and carrying through with a suicide.  Maybe I wanted to cry because I have been there before.

I was a freshman in Highschool when I tried to take my own life.  I was depressed after years and years of what could be called bullying.  It stared when my twin sister & I moved to a new school in the 4th grade.  The kids weren’t used to seeing our “ethnic” hair in all it’s grandiosity.  I’ll admit, it was big unruly hair that we didn’t have a clue how to manage or style.  We got called every name in the book: Medusa, “used” Q-tip head, puff head, brown snowball, etc. etc.

It was a constant battle going to school, feeling so unpopular, & ugly.  We managed to survive middle school but my sister had had enough, she left our highschool in the middle of freshman year to start fresh at a school in my Dad’s neighborhood of the city.  I, on the otherhand, was left with the same old peers threatening my sanity.  One night after school I had had enough, I felt worthless, there was nothing more to live for.  I wanted to get back at all those people who teased me and made me feel bad about myself.  I could see it, their evil little laughing faces turning sad when they heard the news that I had taken my own life.  They would feel the same pain that I had felt for all of these years.  They would feel guilty, like it was their fault… and it was.

I fastened the belt together and slipped it around my neck, then twisted it again and looped it over the top end post of my bunkbed.  I slowly let my body hang and lifted my feet from the mattress on the bottom mattress.  I thought to myself: This is it.  The belt was squeezing my neck tighter and tighter.  The room started to get quieter and quieter and a greyness started to fall over everything in my view.  It started to get darker and quieter.  Darker and quieter. I started to get scared.  This was it.

But I couldn’t do it.

I quickly planted my feet on the ground and stood up.

I sobbed in my room for a long time, thinking about what I had almost gone through with.  Thinking back now, I wonder what really saved me.  Was it simply the fear of actually doing it? or was it something else?  I think deep down, my parents had instilled in me a strong sense of worth from early on, that when I started the new school and got teased so bad, there was always a part of me deep down that knew I was beautiful & worthy of love.  I think I thought of my parents, how sad they would be when they found me.  I also thought of my twin sister and how devastated she would be for the rest of her life living with the pain of my suicide.  In my usual style, I had anxiety about the anxiety.  I luckily had too much empathy for others being in pain.

I don’t know exactly what saved me but I’m glad it did.  I think when you are wrapped up in your own four walls of life, it’s hard to see the bigger picture.  It’s hard to see that it is “just” middle school or highschool, a short blip in a lifetime.  It’s hard to see that this time will pass, you will survive, you will move on, you will overcome it.  Highschool isn’t forever.  Those bullies that constantly threatened my happiness were only able to harass me for a short time.  I escaped them once I graduated.  I moved on to college and on to bigger & better things and I was stronger for it.  I was a more compassionate person, a more empathetic person.  In a way, it shaped me into the loving & caring person that I am today.  For that, I thank them. For the years of being self conscience and having low self esteem, I don’t.

The lesson I’ve learned most from being bullied, is to not let anyone have control over how I feel.  I will only feel ugly & worthless if I allow myself to believe it.  So no matter what hateful words those bullies spew, I don’t give their words power.  I don’t believe them.  Regardless of if everyone else believes them, I don’t.  I stay true to what I know, what is in my heart, who I am, what I believe about myself.  I will survive.  I did.

I wish I could go back in time and give that kid who jumped off the bridge a big hug and say: “Don’t do it. You are a beautiful person, with a wonderful future.  This too shall pass.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You will survive this embarrassment.  If your parents or others don’t accept you for who you are, then TOO BAD for them.  Live this life for your own happiness.  The only thing that matters is what you think of yourself, so SHINE!!!  You are loved.”

RIP Tyler Clementi.

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