me and october 15 and my thoughts on amanda todd

she is not the first bullied teenager to commit suicide. it makes me sad any time i hear about one doing so, but for some reason her particular story has affected me more than others.

i know i have readers outside of the u.s. and canada, and if you aren’t familiar with this story i urge you to stop reading now and go watch her video. it will be the saddest thing you see for a long time.

i had been thinking of writing something about it, and while i have been putting together my thoughts, i noticed that the traffic to my blog has increased in the past few days. particularly to my posts regarding suicide. even more specifically to this post. this may just be a coincidence – i’m not sure. but it did help me make the decision to post some things that people might disagree with. if you do, or if you have any thoughts, i seriously would welcome the comments, either on this page or through email if you don’t feel comfortable posting them on here.

i remember how hard school was. i remember how those days seemed hours longer than any other days, how infinite the time seemed and just how impossible it was to imagine that things could be different when i was finally done with school and on to the next phase in life. when i was her age, i didn’t think i would live long enough to graduate.

the bullies at my high school targeted me because i was weird. and i was. whatever. it didn’t get unbearable until i was in the tenth grade. i spent most of that first semester locked up in a psychiatric hospital. when i went back to school in late january, the word had gotten out and there was a group of about four to five really heartless – and for some reason, mildly popular – fucking assholes that decided to devote a good portion of their days to making sure i didn’t forget what a sad suicidal psychotic waste of a fucking person i really was. as if i could have easily forgotten it. i was a kid, and i was medicated and confused and sad and scared and fucking tired already. that would have been enough to deal with. but then i had to go to school every day and these jackasses would just give me shit, call me crazy, pantomime cutting their wrists, tell me i should kill myself, make bizarre ghost noises at me, etc.

you know, it seems so easy to tell somebody who is being bullied to, ‘just ignore them,’ or insist on how ignorant these bullies are as people, and how you are so much better of a person than they are. but for certain kids, you’re honestly just wasting your breath. see, part of what makes bullies so good at their job is their ability to target and mercilessly taunt people with really low self-esteem. if you have a high self-esteem, it’s a lot harder for them to bring you down. when you have little to no self-esteem already, it’s easy for bullies to just reinforce every bad thing you probably already think about yourself. and because you already believe it, there’s no point in trying to ignore it. what made it so bad for me were that the teachers did nothing to stop them. one teacher – i’ll always remember this guy – was one of those younger, hipper, dudes who was popular with the students because he was just the ‘ young cool teacher.’ (and if any of you reading this went to my high-school, i would be more than happy to tell you who he was and shit all over your image of him.) one day during one of their routine shit-shows, he was standing there in the hallway laughing right along with them. it was then that i realized nothing was ever going to happen to these dicks, and i finally lost my shit. i started yelling at them to go fuck themselves and i would kill them (i wouldn’t really) and i probably threw a grandmother insult in there somewhere (i’m actually positive that i did) and suddenly mr. cool  teacher stopped laughing because apparently i had been the one to cross the line. i stormed off and was approached by one of the gym teachers who told me to stop and come with him. i told him he could go fuck himself too, and he grabbed me. i put up a good fight trying to get out of his grasp, but he was grabbing me from behind and he was strong and i really wasn’t. after that it was decided that i should be home-schooled for the rest of the year. i was a problem. apparently in my school it was perfectly acceptable to relentlessly taunt somebody into killing themselves.

fortunately for them, i wasn’t really a ‘school-shooter’ kind of guy.

but there are those people. people who have been pushed as far as they can go, and when they break they decide to take others out with them. and then there are those who take all of that shit out on themselves. i was one of the latter, and so was amanda todd. like her, i would cry and cut myself, and take too much of my medication and i even drank bleach at one point. i did this because deep inside of me, i knew those guys were right. i was that fucked up. i deserved all of it. this is who i would be forever. it was never going to get any better. i’m sure there were a few who told her otherwise. they tried their best, and that is all they could do. at that point, she was probably far beyond help, but kudos to them for their good intentions.

she showed her tits on a webcam. now don’t get me wrong, i’m sure that wasn’t her only mistake in her short life, and i am not claiming that she was a perfect little angel. but come on, it’s not like she kicked a puppy to death or gave blow jobs to the entire football team while dressing up like a nazi. it wasn’t her finest moment, but christ, it could have been much worse. and she paid for it, dearly.

reading a lot of the comments people have been saying has led me to assume that a good amount of folks out there seem to forget all the dumb shit they did when they were young that just didn’t happen to end up on the internet. seriously, there is nobody in the world who hasn’t at one point did something they weren’t too proud of, and hoped if they could just get through it without getting caught that they would never do such a dumb thing again. and most of them did get through it, and maybe it is that one little secret you carry with you. something that even years later  you are ashamed of or feel guilty for or just acknowledge in your head that it was so stupid and even now you would be mortified if anybody else ever found out about it.  just think about it for a moment…i’m sure you have it.

as i watched her youtube video, it was easy for me to forget she was still  just a child.

when i started to pay attention to the words she was misspelling and her errors in punctuation it really hit me. she was just a kid who was carrying all that awful stuff. she knew she messed up, and she was sorry, but it was never going to go away. and people weren’t going to let her live it down.

and i completely understand how that feels.

had i been able to talk to her, i wouldn’t have been able to tell her it would get better. that would have done no good, and i might have felt like i was being dishonest. when you are that deep in it, any thought of a calmer future can be  a fantasy as outlandish as the idea of winning the lottery. it would be a wonderful thing to happen, but chances are, it won’t. i never would have suggested that killing herself was the best option – because it wasn’t. but i cannot judge her for doing it. given the situation, i am honestly surprised she held on as long as she did.

everybody always asks, ‘what could have been done?’ that’s a tricky question, because we’ll never know. she made the decision as to what should be done, and for her to take that route meant she had reached a point where in her mind there were no other options. it’s hard to blame a person for that. that pain is a horrible thing that can only be tolerated for so long. she was strong. you can’t argue that. she was also human. and she suffered for as long as she could. i hope when people think of her they concentrate on her strength. the strength it took to wake up every day, the strength it took to go to school and be around people and know that at some point during the day she was going to be fucked with and no matter how good of a day she was having before that – it was all going to be turned to shit. if you’ve never lived through that, trust me, it takes a lot of strength. the best thing anybody could have done for her would have been to  just be her friend. be an unassuming, nonjudgmental, ‘i am totally here for you no matter what,’ friend. maybe one day she would have believed that there are good people in the world. people who she could rely on, could cry to, could share those feelings with. people who would help get her through shitty times. maybe that would have been enough for her to keep going.

maybe.

but it is over. she is gone, and the people who made her life hell still continue to do so by vandalizing her memorial pages with hateful shit. why? because to them, it’s just funny. it’s funny to get the reaction out of other people. and why the fuck not? these cowards are safe in their homes and the anonymity of the internet gives them the balls to be as brutal and disgusting as they want to be. there are always going to be assholes in the world, and eventually karma will catch up with them.

at this point, all we can hope for is not only an investigation that finds the person who was blackmailing her and posting her photo online but also for these people who are lamenting the fact that nobody stood up for her to be more aware in the future.

there are so many kids going through something similar right now. and honestly, they aren’t that hard to spot.

just look.

i hope that people start looking harder.

i hope that kids stop giving a shit about their high school reputations and start sticking their neck out for somebody on occasion.

i hope that if you are a parent, and this happens to your child that you don’t blame yourself. you love your children, and if you’ve done everything that you can do legally, then just support them the best that you can. unfortunately, you can only do so much. but make what you can do count.

i hope that if you are a parent, and your child is one of those cruel bastards who gets off on making other people’s lives miserable, that you get them some serious fucking help.

mostly, i just hope that girl has found the peace that she deserves.

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~ by alltheavenueslookugly on 2012/10/15.

16 Responses to “me and october 15 and my thoughts on amanda todd”

  1. Beautifully written, Sean.

  2. Wow. I hadn’t heard of this (being outside of the US and Canada.)

    I did as you said. Stop reading and go to YouTube and watch the video. How terribly awful and sad.

    I’m pretty speechless. Like you say, her grammar mistakes and the whole thing make it even sadder – just a young girl, not a woman, with a life ahead of her and ended like that.

    I agree with you. I hope these people are caught and that she can rest in peace.

  3. Brilliantly put. I’ve seen some awful things being said around the internet about the poor girl. I’m sorry you had to go through that stuff, too. Take care x

    • thank you. i think i had it much easier than her, seeing as how the internet wasn’t really a big thing when i was in high school. if there had been facebook and twitter and all that, i can’t say i wouldn’t have been a lot more likely to do the same.

  4. I’m really shocked – that was so terribly sad. I could feel the sheer loneliness and profound sadness oozing out of those notes.

    What I don’t understand is why the fact that she exposed her breasts on the internet was seen to warrant a sort of a witch-hunt against her. I can’t see how exposing your breasts in this case is morally wrong at all (looking at it from a point of view of secular ethics). And the fact that she got involved with someone who already had a girlfriend – calling it adultery just sounds strange – although wrong is hardly an act so cruel and depraved as to justify the vilification she was met with.

    PS Was she living in a very religious community where any kind of sexual behaviour that flouts the proscribed rules is (severely) punished?

    • i don’t think it was that at all. from what i understand she was threatened by this person on facebook that if she didn’t perform ‘shows’ for him online he would post the photo of her breasts (her 12 or 13 year old breasts) all over the internet. and he did. and she was mocked for it.
      yeah, i find it appalling that people seem to think that whatever sexual things she might have done would merit a death sentence. this was just a case of people being fucked up. she is hardly the only sexually active teenager in the world. 😦
      i find it strange that the people who were so quick to call her a ‘slut’ seemed to have no problem with the pedophile who was trying to solicit naked internet shows from a 12 or 13 year old girl.

  5. Very, very well said. When I heard about Amanda – and then watched her video – I was horrified…but, sadly, unsurprised. There are a lot of cruel fuckers out there, and a good whack of them are teenagers.

    I actually really lost it in the YouTube comments section, because of the continued trolling. I’m sure I’ve been flamed like fuck ever since, but if it encourages even one person to realise what an arsehole they’ve been, then good.

    I’m so sorry you had to go through what you did, Sean. I hope your bullies (including the dickhead teacher) are paying the price for their actions now – or, at least, hanging their heads in shame at what they did.

    RIP, Amanda.

    Take care

    Karen xoxox

  6. thank you, karen. i couldn’t even bring myself to read the youtube comments because i knew i wouldn’t be able to hold back. i’m sure they are just as horrible as they are anywhere else.
    i think it’s awesome you spoke up. and hopefully you made at least one of those people second-guess what they were doing.
    take care. 🙂

  7. Thanks for such a poignant, inspiring post. Xoxo 🙂

  8. Sadly no Amanda Todd is not the first and will not be the last teenager to take their own life due to bullying, as I have written before, bullying is not the right word or does not express the extent of what is actually happening to a person experiencing it, bullying seems to make the reality of what is happening seem somewhat downplayed as we us that in built word association in our minds thinking that there is no long term effects, remembering back to our school days and our parents telling us to simply ignore what was going on.
    Ignorance = arrogance which leads to tragic at the end of the day.
    Again a great blog ((hugs))
    Angel

    • you are absolutely right, angel. it goes so far beyond what most people consider ‘bullying.’ it’s awful, and hopefully the laws in the u.s. will get tougher when it comes to that sort of thing.
      hope you are doing well! hugs to you, friend.

  9. Sean,
    I always looked up to you in high school. You and your friends were cool to me. This post really hits home because this bullying starts at a young age. My daughter is 6 and last summer she was taunted, beat up, and scared by a bunch of older boys (10-12). The school did not listen to me because I am a young single mother and it has been shown to be frowned upon. These kids had parents who were well off and had a “perfect family life”. It finally got so bad I had to threaten the school and finally the kids left her alone.
    My daughter is different from the other girls and kids. She does not make friends well and I hope that this does not happen again…. But it is unfortunately. I hope anyone reading this knows the pain these kids go through and I don’t remember children being so cruel. I remember high school an middle school… Because that was horrible I was bullied all the time. I just thought I would share my thought….
    Sean you are a great person and you deserve great things in your life!!!

    • thank you so much, mallory. you are such a sweetheart, and if your daughter turns out anything like her mom, you won’t have to worry at all. 🙂
      good for you for being proactive about stopping her from being bullied. it is unfortunate that people who are different are forced to suffer for just that.
      i hope it isn’t too much for her, and if she can make it through all that, she’s going to be an amazing adult.

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