This article is dedicated to Jamey Rodemeyer, a good soul whose life was too short. People, let us learn from previous mistakes and assure that no other teens end their life over sexual preference, or anything else for that matter. If you haven’t gotten the message already, here it is: Parents, please speak to your children about bullying because it has detrimental effects on others; because words can hurt, and in many cases, kill. Thank you.
A few weeks back I logged into my account to check my email. I often “goof around” on the web and click the top stories category before I start research or homework. I wondered what I would find today. Perhaps fall’s latest trends, the newest celeb scandal, maybe even what was new with Justin Beiber. None of that was what I discovered, though. No, today what headlined my computer screen was something very different. Something that caused me to feel as if I were punched in the stomach. Something that not only made me feel complete sadness and compassion for a human I did not know, but also worried me for future generations. Well this thing that was absolutely heartrending to me and brought tears to my eyes was reading the news that a 14 year old boy had committed suicide after being bullied over his sexual orientation. I thought this was just an unfortunate thing that happened until a few weeks later when I read another young boy had ended his life too. This sparked a thought that shook my very being to the core: What if this wasn’t a onetime thing, what if this is a trend among teenagers who are struggling with some form of self acceptance and bullying.
In an odd way, I felt like I knew Jamey. It’s something I can’t explain. I think maybe because Jamey was in a way that innocent 14 year old we all knew at one point in our lives. He represented innocence, an innocence that the world often takes advantage of at times. So after reading about the upsetting news I clicked “like” to his facebook memorial page. I was absolutely appalled by what I saw. I expected to see kind and encouraging messages, even “I’m so sorrys” from his former bullies; well I saw nothing of the sort. I scrolled down in disbelief at all the horrid comments and pictures people had left. One frequent commenter posted a graphic that’s text read “Much like a sperm, he shoots to hell. God doesn’t like pussies”. The complete disregard for another person ending their life astonished me, it really did. Reading those horrible things made me sick and that’s nothing compared to the messages Jamey received when he was alive. Things like this were found written to him “Jamey is stupid, gay, fat, and ugly. He must die!” You think that’s bad? What about this cold statement “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it=) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” Words like this convinced a 14 year old boy that he was simply a hated human being and a waste of life. Did you ever hear people say that if you tell children they are something long enough, they’ll start to believe it? Well I for one think that applies hugely to this unfortunate loss of life.
I know that a parent’s nightmare is to hear that something has happened to their child, but it’s a totally new part of a nightmare when you find out the child them self chose to do it because they felt their life was literally that unbearable. So to prevent something like this from ever occurring again, I’ve put together a list experts say are warning signs your child could be considering suicide.
-Change in sleeping and eating habits
-Pulling away from family, friends, regular activities
-Rebellious or violent behavior
-Abuse of things like drugs and alcohol
-Unusual neglect of personal appearance
-Radical change of personality
-Grades dropping, persistent boredom, trouble concentrating
-Frequent complaining about physical symptoms sometimes resulting from emotional symptoms; such as a head ache or stomach ache
-Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
-Does not tolerate praise or rewards
-Also!! Look out for verbal hints of a teen planning suicide like such as:
-“I shouldn’t be a problem for you much longer.”
-“Nothing really matters.”
-“It is no use.”
-“I won’t be seeing you again.”
While Jamey Rodemeyer was alive, he posted a YouTube video encouraging homosexual teenagers to hold their head up and love themselves, it gets better he promised. Unfortunately every person has their breaking point and Jamie reached his even after that inspiring and truthful message. So in honor of Jamie, and all the other young lives lost because of bullying, please I beg of you, talk to your kids and let them know that bullying will not be tolerated and explain to them how words really do hurt a person. So parents make sure your own child is not a bully; that is a deed you can do for society that would benefit everybody. Also to any young person reading this that is struggling with bullying or self acceptance please know that ending your life is not the answer, and will just have an ultimately negative impact on those around you if you pursue it. The world won’t always give you a shoulder to cry on; so be strong, live your life the best you can, and love yourself; and that my friends will lead you to true happiness and acceptance. I leave you with a piece of advice that actually comes from Jamie’s favorite artist Lady GaGa, “Love yourself and you’re set.” It’s that simple, it really is.