Monday, October 11, 2010

It Gets Better

These days I spend a lot of time in front of the computer crying. If you know me, you know it sometimes doesn't take much: the At&T and Folger's commercials are perennial crying favorites. I like to think emotional freedom is a trait I picked up at home: my dad's a good crier. We're all good criers. Some would say it's an ethnic thing, some would say it's political, I don't know what to think. I just know that it's always been ok to cry and that empathy was never greeted as weakness.

Well, for several years now, the internet has been trying to compete with TV for my tears and I blame Dan Savage. A couple of years ago it was this which just reduced me to a blithering mess. Upon rewatching, nothing has changed.

Now, more recently, it's this, the It Gets Better Project developed by Savage after a spate of suicides by gay or perceived gay teens. In an effort to give these kids some kind of support, gay adults, and quite a handful of straight ones too, have been making videos trying to explain that as crappy as adolescence is, especially if you feel on the outside of your society, it gets better as you get older and get to make your own decisions about where you live, whom your peers are, and how you want to live your life. To say this stuff is heartbreaking is a massive understatement.

However isolated I have ever felt (and I'll lump you readers in here with me - we're all super lucky), it doesn't even register on the same scale. While my immediate reaction involves fantasies of firearms leveled against those who disagree with me AND SIMULTANEOUSLY act against children whom they perceive as threats, my second reaction is just a sea of helplessness: all I feel that I have to give is money, and while I know the money is useful (donate here), I wish I could DO something. But all I have is compassion. I have nothing meaningful on which to draw and my rage isn't something I think would be therapeutic to share with people in real pain.

I try to understand how some people can be so utterly invested in the thoughts, actions, and lives of others; how they can think it matters so much that they would actively interfere in a stranger's life - I still don't get it. I mean, I've heard the explanations, but it has never rung true for me and so I don't even know how (other than with cleansing fire) to combat it.

So I'd like to thank the people who are making videos, who are sharing their lives with kids who think they have no life left to live. While I know emotion is preventing me from being as cogent as I'd like, I'm going to try and take a quiet moment to believe that not only will it get better for individuals, but for all of us; that we'll reach a time when this sort of abject hate is the exception and not the rule.

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