Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It Gets Better

If I could remove a couple years of my life they would have to be the years I spent in middle school. I had a really tough time in middle school. High school was okay but middle school were flat-out the worst years of my life. I was teased and bullied nonstop for almost three years. The bullying even escalated to physical attacks and demoralizing gestures. It was a horrible time for me. I vowed when I left for high school that I would never consider a day as bad unless it was middle-school bad. And so far I haven't had a day that was worse. It keeps my bad days in perspective.

Now I'll freely admit, I was a weird kid. I still am. And I'll tell you that I'm stronger in many ways because of those years. When I got to high school and was called names, I didn't even bat an eye. Names didn't hurt anymore. I found happiness with who I was: nerdy, odd, quiet, and bookish. I was the kid in the corner reading a book and telling tarot cards. I was the kid who slipped away during lunch to write. I never really fit in but at least I didn't have bad days. And I don't think my childhood was all that unusual. I'm sure most of us can tell stories of being teased and bullied.

This is all to say that I completely love the new video series that has been sweeping the internet called "It Gets Better". The project is geared towards LGBT high school and middle school students to show them that life gets better after those challenging years. I know that at the time for me, things seems like the end of the world. These videos are designed to help combat the high incidences of young suicide. It is to remind kids that after all the horrors of high school and middle school, life actually gets better. You may still get teased, but you simply won't care as much. For many LGBT kids, the future may not seem so clear when they are in high school and kids are calling them names. This is a wonderful reminder that they can have some amazing lives if they just hold on.

The series is targeted towards LGBT teens but I think that the message is even more far reaching. I wish someone had told me when I was being bullied for being different, that it would get better. That after middle school I wouldn't care about being teased. That once I reached college, different would be okay. And that I would gradually find people who would not only accept me for who I was but appreciate those differences. I know that there is an incredibly high incidence of LGBT teens who commit suicide. Anything that can be done to prevent that is amazing in my book. And after watches these videos I truly think they should be required viewing in middle and high school.

Videos are recorded by people like President Obama, Suze Orman, Tim Gunn, Dan Savage, and many others. In fact there are currently over 1000 videos posted on the It Gets Better project website. Videos are from celebrities, LGBT speakers, community leaders, and just everyday people who wanted to share their experiences. Each tells a story of struggle and survival. Of power from powerlessness. And each is inspiring. I wish I had had something like this when I was growing up. I wish I could go back and tell the 11 year old me the same thing. It gets better. And it really does.


Anonymous said...

It is my first post here, so I would like to say hallo to all of you! It is unquestionably pleasure to be adjacent to your community!

Cat B said...

And Hello to you. Welcome! Thank you.