I wore purple yesterday. Why? Because I wanted to show my support to the families of the teens who recently took their lives because of terrible bullying due to their sexual orientation, perceived or otherwise.
A lot of people have been writing essays and posting videos to reassure teens at risk It Gets Better.
If I knew someone was being bullied at school, this is what I would say to them:
Now, I have no idea what it feels like to be gay, but I do know what it feels like to be brutally bullied for years and years through elementary and middle school. I actually think I am claustrophobic to this day because of an incident in elementary school involving a hoarde of kids knocking my glasses off and backing me into a dark corner. I could go on and on about the emotional, verbal, and physical abuse I suffered through.
You know what? It does get better. It is so hard to see it when you wake up in the morning afraid to go to school, and then come home and cry because of whatever the assholes did to you that day. I know this. I also know the importance of finding peaceful times in the chaos. Summer camp. Visits to my Grandma's. My annual new-clothes shopping trip with my Aunt in the Big City. No one knew they should pick on me at summer camp so I got to let my guard down and make friends. Loving Grandmas and caring Aunts are always great to have in your back pocket.
Hopefully if you are bullied you can find some peace like this to recharge your batteries and get ready for the next assault.My parents of course were at the core of this. They sent me on these trips. They let me skip school on days when the potential for bullying was extra-high. They did the best they could to help me. I hope your parents are there for you too.
Make a real exit plan. Get some far-away college brochures. Skim MLS listings and find your imaginary apartment, get a crappy job and start socking away some money.
If you can give the big F-U to the podunk town that didn't understand or respect you, you will find your niche. You will find people who will love you for who you are. The years after I first moved away and had to scrape by on a student loan were some of the most fun of my life. I found out how much fun you can have with how little--laughs are free!
To this day I am often surprised by the generosity of my good friends. You will be too. Trust me.
Please. Just hang in there. You are worth it. The world needs you.
And really. Living well is the best revenge.