The idea here is, what can we do to help the potential suicide victims of bully culture? We can tell them that it gets better, that we were once where they are now, and that now we love our lives.
I'm not going to make a video but I am writing a little something, and here it is.
I grew up in a small town in New England. I saw my friends get beaten up for being different. I was mocked for my differences on a weekly basis if not a daily one. I happen to be bisexual and polyamorous - I knew of only two other polyfolk and one other bi person in my age group. Getting yelled at out of car windows was routine when I held hands with my girlfriend, being teased and mocked felt constant, and the relationship I had with my parents was pretty adversarial. I knew I was different. It was often painful. I got teased so much for crying that I sort of shut it off, and still have difficulties letting myself cry today.
But, when I got to college, all of that changed for me. I knew other people who were interested in learning, who liked sex, who were queer, and I felt like I was really in the company of my peers for the first time.
Finding My Way
Being in high school in a small town it's very hard to choose your peer group. This is really tough. The good news is, it changes almost immediately once you are self-supporting. When you are paying your own way, you get to decide for yourself where you want to live, what you want to do, and who you want to hang out with. This was a total revelation for me. I definitely remember people who had made fun of me when I was younger. I have run into a few of them as adults and they seem much smaller now, much less powerful and cool than they once were. As an adult you can make the choice to only spend time with people who really respect you and honor your choices, and I can proudly say that everyone who is in my life knows what my lifestyle is and is okay with who I am.
A Happy Memory
Something that I would never have imagined when I was in high school is that a younger member of my family also turned out to be queer. I am so glad that I was able to be there for her when she started taking those first steps toward accepting herself and coming out, and even beyond that, to her dating women, getting more comfortable, having successful relationships, and eventually settling down with a partner that she cherishes.
Another experience that I will never forget that would have been completely impossible in my teenage years is seeing a baby be born - a totally magical experience.
What I would Tell my 15-year Old Self
I would just want to say that there's a whole big world out there. Small town life is really insular and you think that the way people around you act and believe is the way everyone acts and believes. Happily, this is not true at all! Once you get out there you will find that there are more people who do it your way than you could possibly have imagined. Hang in there, baby, it gets so much better from here on out.