Today’s the day of the Facebook (etc) event where you wear a purple shirt to show you…I don’t know how to word it…how you feel about all the gay kids in the news committing suicide because of bullying in school.
Y’know what? I’m wearing a purple shirt today. In the 7th grade, someone started the rumor that I was a lesbian. I was picked on relentlessly for it. For 5 years, every day, this one group of girls and a few of the guys would harass me, call me gay-girl, ask me if I liked kissing girls…so on. I was told I wasn’t wanted at school, why didn’t I just stay home, why didn’t I wear a bag over my head so people wouldn’t have to look at a gay-girl.
The irony is that I wasn’t gay. Not even close. There was a guy I had a bit of a crush on. He told me he wasn’t interested in gay-girls. (What?? I still haven’t figured that one out.)
Anyway, I know what it feels like to be picked on. It’s miserable. It’s like getting dripped on day after day after year after year and it finally wears you down. I know why these kids felt like killing themselves. I’ve been there. I’ve been so nervous and upset about going to school that I threw up every morning before getting on the bus. I’ve carried a knife in my purse (this was before such things were illegal) with fantasies of harming someone.
I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE.
I wish I could tell these kids that it gets better. You leave high school. You leave those awful, awful people and go off and meet people who share your interests and values. You meet people who like you for who you are, not for how you dress, where you live, or whatever nebulous criterium they require for acceptance.
It gets better. You will be stronger and wiser for having gone through this awful time. You’ll understand better, be kinder and gentler to people who are marginalized. It. Gets. Better.