While at work yesterday, I talked to my friend who was rather distraught by the fact that a 14-year old girl at her alma mater had killed herself. It hit close to home for her, because see my friend went through almost the exact same thing at that same school. I suggested she write something, as it will help her let out all the emotions she was feeling, and here’s what she had to say
“I’ve been crying for the past thirty minutes. My heart is broken over someone I didn’t physically know but psychologically I know everything she was going through. A young girl at my former high school killed herself over bullying. It pains me so much because for my first two years I went through a lot of bullying at that hellhole. Sometimes I dreaded getting ready to go to school. It didn’t make it better that it’s a small, private all girls school so the environment is all the more closed-minded. Whether it was because I was too skinny, too nerdy, too weird, too awkward, a virgin, didn’t wear designer clothes all the time…it was always snickers, stupid comments and remarks, getting ostracized. And I just kept it all inside and hoped it would all go away. And eventually it did. I graduated on good terms with people and a few good friends. I became a lot more self-confident but I still harbor some mannerisms evident of someone who isn’t all the way sure about herself. And this girl ended her life at FOURTEEN years old because she felt it was too much to bear.
I wish someone could tell her it was going to be OK in the very near future, to be strong, to tell her how beautiful she was and she should just stay true to herself. It makes me wonder…if I have a child, especially a daughter, will she be open with me about her teenage life or will she keep it all inside like I did? If she keeps it inside, how will it affect her psyche? And when will teenage girls/women understand that there is NO point in tormenting our fellow sisters?! I have to mention “grown” women because many of these teen “mean girls” become conniving, manipulative women who take pleasure in putting other women down. No, you don’t have to like everyone (I certainly don’t), but I pride myself in not bringing women down, even women who’ve done me wrong in the past.
My greatest wish is I would love that everyone who reads this, if you
have a little daughter/sister/cousin/niece/whoever at that impressionable age. Call them and let them know they are BEAUTIFUL inside and out, and that if anything ever troubles them, they can talk to you no matter what the topic, no judgment. That’s the least we can do in her memory.
Rest in Paradise EM“
Every year teenagers in the so-called developed world kill themselves over situations that were probably not worth taking their lives over. Situations that could have been resolved by talking with parents, friends, siblings or even strangers. I want to blame this attitude of “giving up-ness” on the culture, or lack thereof, but that wouldn’t solve the problem. Like my friend said in her last paragraph, its always essential that folks know that you are there for them no matter what! Love is free, and sometimes we do not realize its power, and/or potential to change life stories until it’s too late.
I was bullied back in Cameroon when I was in boarding school, and the saddest part about it was, it was by my own classmate. I mean, this girl verbally assaulted me day and night, and given that we were at school there was no escaping her wrath. We were in the same class, we sat at the same table in the refectory (cafeteria), we sat on the same bench at mass! When I say there was no escaping her, I mean it. She never hit me, she never cornered me in a dark room. No. All she did was throw jabs and come at me with things she knew would hurt, and it worked. I cannot count the number of times, I considered running away from school just to get away from her. If it wasn’t for the fact, that I knew my parents would have whooped the living daylights out of my butt, I would’ve probably made a mad dash for home. I don’t even remember exactly how I got this girl to get off my case, but I think it had something to do with me becoming friends with the only person who had a worse tongue than her. Hey! Dont judge me. I did what I had to do to survive. The saddest part of this story is, five years after this incident took place, I found out this chica had passed away. The first thing I did was heave a big sigh of relief, right before I proclaimed “thank God.” Yes, she traumatized me that much. I did later ask God to grant her eternal rest, but I truly truly felt relief that she was gone.
I cannot say for sure how I managed to survive, other than the fact that african parents are drill sergeants, so sometimes the thought of them keeps you in line and makes you a survivor, but I do hope that there will come a day where no child has to go through what EM, my friend or I went through. I always say that I’d rather not have kids, than have them and screw them over psychologically. For both kids, both the bully and the kid being bullied, it all begins in the home. A little love, and reassurance from parents and caregivers could go a long way. Like Viola Davis character, Aibileen, said to little Mae Mobley:
“You is kind. You is important. You is smart.“
These three could go a long way in saving the life of a child. Share the LOVE