Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Darkest Hour is just before dawn.

I'd like to take a moment and talk about something that's been really bothering me the past few days. 


As many already know, Amanda Todd took her own life a few days ago. She was a girl who after making a mistake, ended up with years of stalking, bullying, and harassment. She posted a Youtube video a month before her death that spoke of her problems and how they affected her. 

It would be an understatement to say that being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager in today's day is even harder. I was bullied as a teen. But I can honestly say, things are worse now. Back in my day, there were no cell phones, internet, etc.  When a kid wanted to be mean to you, they had to do it to your face.  Today, kids can bully and torment without even having to say who they are. The anonymity of the internet has given them a chance to behave much worse.  They now have a doorway to where there are no actions for their consequences. 

But of course that's not true. 

Amanda showed us that there are consequences. 

What makes a teenage girl believe that there are no other options than death? 

Amanda made a mistake when she was 14. Guess what? I made a mistake too. When I was 17, I drunkenly allowed a boy to take advantage of me at a drive in. I didn't know it, but people saw everything. Now I'm going to say I'm thankful that there were no cell phone cameras in my day and age because I can only imagine how much worse things could have been for me. 

People make mistakes. 

But no one deserves the kind of harassment this girl received for making a bad judgment call.  This girl did not deserve to be a victim. 

I had actually met Amanda. She was in competitive swimming with my second cousin. She was a polite, friendly, intelligent, and pretty teenager.  But as we know, being all those things doesn't mean that they can't have problems. It annoys me now when I see people making comments like 'But she was so beautiful'. There seems to be this misconception that being beautiful means you can't have any problems. Being beautiful should solve everything. Guess what? It doesn't work that way. 

To the teenagers that worked so hard to make her life the living hell it was. You should be ashamed of yourself. You should sit in your bedrooms and think about how lucky you are that it's not you. Read the comments written online.  Understand that life can change in a heartbeat and that you can be bullied yourself. The odds are good that you probably are. 

And to the people who are making comments about how no one cared about Amanda until she was dead. Guess what? People did care for her. She had a mother who loved her (and still does) very much. She had a father. She had a family. 

And don't go blaming the parents either. Sadly, parents only know as much as their teenagers are willing to tell them. They are not mind readers. And sometimes, even the most careful parents still find out the hard way that they didn't have a clue to everything that was going on in their teenagers life. 

And last, to the teens out there who are being bullied. You are not alone. Talk to someone. If you can't talk to your parents, find someone online to talk to. There are chatrooms set up to help teens cope with abuse. Talk to whoever is willing to listen. Talk to your cat or dog. Talk to the wall. Just get the words out of your head. 

And remember, you are not alone. It gets better.