As I was scrolling through Facebook today, I came upon a post about the suicide of 17 year old transgender teen Leelah Alcorn. After reading the article, which included her suicide note posted on Tumblr, I went to her Tumblr page and read both of the notes she left and continued to scroll through the many posts and pictures she had reblogged. While there were many pictures indicating desperation, there were also pictures of Asian pop idols and anime. I smiled to myself thinking about this young girl sitting at a computer in her room,sharing pictures she related to and felt spoke of her true self. That smile was instantly shaken as I began crying, almost uncontrollably. Another teenager lost. Another useless death.
This past week my social network sites have been full of news clips about Ronin Shimizu, the 12 year old boy who took his own life due to bullying for being on a youth cheerleading squad. I see so many of these stories anymore that I almost feel immune, probably like many others, to the reality that the pain of bullying still exists in our society. For some reason though, I couldn’t rid my mind of Ronin’s face. In pictures of him cheerleading, he looked so happy and so full of life that I couldn’t take my thoughts off of the fact that a 12 year old…12 year old, had killed himself, for any reason.
I’m not going to lie, this has been a really grueling week for me. My new weight loss YouTube channel, My So Called Healthy Life, and videos are helping(please go watch them and like/subscribe please!) It’s one thing to go on a “diet” or make “lifestyle changes”, but when you realize you’re a full blown food addict and you’re going through mental cravings, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms you would go through with any other addiction, it’s really, really difficult. I’m not using this as an excuse. Trust me, at this point I wish I were just struggling with being overweight because that is bad enough, but add on top to it the overwhelming compulsive thoughts of food and eating, doubled with the stress of changing your eating habits, exercising and constantly being surrounded by a foody society…it’s just too much!
As I was sitting in front of my computer tonight, waiting for Alex’s family to come over for dinner, I was thinking about how much my mom loved having people over on Sunday nights. She would invite a few people over and we would all sit around the dining room table and eat chili and raw apple muffins or chicken curry with homemade garlic bread. Later, after the other guests would leave, my mom and I would sit in front of the fire and drink coffee while talking about a range of topics from her desire to have Hilary Clinton as president to the best Woody Allen film to random memories of her being a Pi Phi. The night would drift on as we would play Bob Dylan and Neil Young records, smoke cigarettes and the stories would turn funnier until we would both be rolling in laughter. Finally, it would be time for me to go home. She always asked me to stay overnight, but I always refused, desiring to be in my own bed. Now Alex and I live in my mother’s home and I sleep here every night.
Do you ever have days where you just don’t want to get out of bed? I’m not talking about mornings where it’s either snowing or raining outside and the warmth of your bed entices you to stay put, I’m talking about having an overwhelming feeling of “what’s the point” that you literally almost can’t even put one foot on the ground. Well, maybe can’t isn’t a fair word. It feels like can’t, but what I know today is that it’s actually won’t. Can’t lives on won’t street, or so the saying goes. I’ve had lots of those days in the past and the truth is that I still struggle with some of those days, but today, I know I just have to pull my butt out of bed and start the day. Easier said than done, right? Absolutely. For those who haven’t struggled with true depression, not just being down in the dumps or being sad, but true depression, getting out of bed might be the most difficult task we face in a day.
Recently, with the release of my debut novel The Before Now and After Then, I’ve been asked to write a bunch of guest blog posts about bullying. Most of the bloggers want to know why I created a main character who suffered being bullied and if I myself was bullied when I was growing up. If you’re a reader of my posts then it is probably no surprise that yes, I was bullied during all of my years of school, but what you might find surprising is that today, I’m actually grateful for the bullying.