Today I read a story.
It made me cry. Not the kind of cry where you sit and tears trickle down your cheeks and you think "How sad, why do things like that happen?" but the kind of crying where you can't speak and are overcome by the horror of what happens in this world sometimes and you can do nothing but sob.
Here is the story.
You see, I never met Amanda Todd. I never had the chance to know her, or hug her or try and make it better for her or to even let her know that if she just held on a little bit, that it might have had the chance to get better.
No one has that chance now. :( Amanda, I wish I could have been your somebody. I wish ANYONE would have been your somebody.
I cried for her Mom & Dad, for the pain that they are enduring. I cry for them as some of the details unfolded, for the moment that they discovered she'd done something like flash someone on the internet. As a mom, I know I'd have wondered what I did wrong, I'd have been angry that she was so foolish, that she didn't know better, my heart would have broken for her for what was happening and for what I could see as an adult that she didn't. That actions have consequences. I'd have wanted to kill the person who was blackmailing my daughter, and I'd have been proud of her that she didn't give in to his blackmail... and so sad for what she was about to endure as he shared her picture with everyone. I cried for the heartbreak they are enduring and for the second guessing I know that they must be doing, wondering what else they could have done for their child,, and for their rage, for the helplessness they must be feeling now... and that they felt as it was happening.
I cried for the people who knew her. The ones who loved her, as they must be questioning why they let life get in the way and didn't make sure to tell her how important she was to them. I cry for her family, for her childhood friends who remember her at 5 years old and the funny things she probably did.
I cried for the kids at school who always meant to say hello to her, to sit with her at lunch who secretly thought she was pretty awesome, but were too afraid they'd be next to get picked on. For those that though they were her friend... who now realize that she didn't feel she could count on them, she was hurting too much to realize you were there.
I cry for those who tried to help her but couldn't get through. I cried for those who she tried to reach out to, who didn't listen and hope the guilt that they feel is something that they get help for.
I cry for the parents of those who bullied her. I'm sure you are filled with shame to realize you raised children that are so thoughtless, so ignorant, so cruel. If not.. I hope you are. I hope it was an oversight and you didn't raise them to be like you are.
For those that bullied her.. I did not cry. I thought evil thoughts so dark that I had to sit down. For some of those children are still posting horrible things about her. People that have never met her, simply saw her video or read her story are judging and condeming her still. She was a child. She made mistakes. She paid the ultimate price for that. When will we, as a society, realize exactly what it is that is happening?
I have children. Neither are terribly popular, they are both a little "off" and different in ways that are going to make them incredible and amazing adults. They are the shine in my life... and yet I know it hurts them to sit alone at lunch, or not be included with others becuase they are a little nerdy and weird or just different. I'm lucky. I'm here and I see whats going on. Not everyone has that luxury. I don't know what Amanda's parents had going on in their lives... or how much they tried to help, but I do know that sometimes it isn't easy to see. They've both been bullied and it breaks my heart.
I cried for the younger me.
If the internet had been around, I could been Amanda Todd. I was painfully shy with everyone but family as a kid. It didn't get easier, when we moved, I was in 3rd grade and that's what I remember most. How I didn't fit in. I was teased for being tiny, for being new, for being good at math, for my hair not being "right" for chewing on my pencils and pens, I was smart and outspoken and didn't think to hide it yet, so many things... I remember once, a girl didn't like me, and running home, being chased up to the door of a house where I felt safe because it had gone from 1 girl to a group of kids. Kids get brave in groups, my shirt was torn, my hair had been pulled and I was just waiting to be beaten. I'd borrowed her pen and forgotten to give it back.
I grew curves, I got prettier and more "adult" faster than many of my classmates and it was noticed. That was a source of more teasing, but it was different, the girls were nastier, the boys were just more aware.
By middle school I was desperate to be liked. I was naive and very caring and could probably have been talked into anything. Luckily, I wasn't... but placed in a situation like she was, I could have been talked into it. I wouldn't have realized the far reaching implication of my actions. I would have been mortified at doing it, but I'd have felt wanted and I wanted to be liked. I can guess that she felt like someone wanted her for her, and she was obviously missing that. I know, because I was.
I had a good childhood. My parents loved me, I have a brother and sister and extended family. No one was beating me... I just never felt like I fit in. It wasn't their fault. Some kids seem to attract bullies. I understand how it happened.
In high school, I finally made more friends, though situation after situation arouse. A note I'd written to my best friend fell into the wrong hands and was shared with the entire school. Everyone knew my business, and mocked me for it incessantly. I remember begging to change schools and my parents telling me it couldn't be that bad. It was. It was worse than I can put on paper, but I remember going home at night, laying in my bed and just wanting the pain and hatred and awfulness to stop. Every thing seemed to compound it. I can't imagine having my mind impaired by drugs or alcohol at that time... it would have made it seem insurmountable.
I could go on and on about this, but you see... that won't do anything. It won't make it better. Nothing made it better for the kid I was then, only time and growing up and making my own choices. Nothing can make it better for Amanda. It's time someone made sure that there is never another story like Amanda's.
Now... how do we, as society do that? October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
Maybe people will finally listen.