This post is in honor of Tyler Clemenit, the 18 year old Rutgers Freshman who committed suicide this past week after his roommate hid a camera to film Tyler in a moment of intimacy with a male partner. Tyler's roommate then shared the video live on the internet. This post is also in honor of the growing # of teen suicides that have been occurring due to teen bullying.
Only a handful of people truly enjoy being a teenager. For me, middle school and high school definitely had their good moments, but I would say that the majority of my days of being a teen were dreaded. I was constantly picked on for reasons that I still don't understand. Girls were just mean to me. I had a close group of girlfriends, but for the most part I kept to myself. I didn't like to cause drama (even though I constantly found myself in the middle of it), I didn't like to go out and party (most of my nights were spent at home). In fact, my favorite day of the week was Friday because I would come home, get into my pajamas, and spend time with my family. Many days and nights of my teen years were spent crying. I realize how amazing my mother is now because she spent many nights awake with me sitting on my floor as a cried my eyes out. I often begged to stay home from school as I just did not want to face the ridicule. It's funny because all of my friends have great memories of high school. They constantly say, "Oh I wish I could go back." I on the other hand am SO glad to be out of that hell hole.
I have a few stories that I could share, but there's one that really sticks out in my mind. During my senior year of high school I ended up being in a class with a boy who I'm gonna call Jay*. Jay had very few friends and was often teased for being nerdy. Anyways, on the first day of class I walked into the room and sat down next to Jay. I remember making small talk with him and not thinking anything of it because I can literally make conversation with a wall. Well, Jay and I ended up sitting next to each other every day that semester and would talk about everything from music to tv shows to books. I saw Jay in the hall one day and said hello to him and in class later he said to me, "you don't have to say hi to me when you're around your friends if you don't want to," and I of course told him he was crazy and that I would never not say hi to him. After I graduated, I never kept in touch with Jay and since I avoid going into my small town at all costs, I never saw him...until a few years ago. One day at CVS I ran into Jay and we exchanged the usual "how are yous?" until Jay caught me completely off guard. This is how our conversation went:
Jay: Uh Taylor, I just want to say thanks for being so nice to me in high school. I honestly can't believe that you didn't mind talking to me.
Me: Are you crazy? We're friends. Plus, you saved me from dying of boredom.
Jay: Well, I'm just saying. You're Taylor Roberts...
Me: What? (laughing)
Jay: You were like Miss High School so it was just surprising to realize you were nice and not like what I thought you were.
Me: Well 1)I was not Miss High School...that was all just a good act. And 2) I wanted to get out of that place more than anyone.
Jay and I said goodbye to one another and kept in touch here and there but unfortunately have recently lost touch. The good thing is we're facebook friends and I'm able to see that Jay has a girlfriend, and an amazing social life at college. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it will get better!
Probably up until about a year ago, I lacked self confidence and I hated being looked at for fear of being judged. Luckily, I have grown out of that. If someone wants to look at you and talk bad about you, let them. Honestly, I have much better things to do with my day than make fun of someone I don't even know. I acknowledge and embrace my weirdness and don't mind when my friends say you're so "weird" quite often. Most of my values can be found in the dictionary under 1950's housewife, I often speak directly from my heart which has gotten me into trouble, I don't love to dress in every trend of the season, I love love love being alone (living alone, eating alone, going to movies alone), and if given the chance, I would spend everyday at home in my pajamas baking cookies and listening to music.
To spread awareness about this issue, I have created a fundraiser called Stop The Hate. Please visit my site at http://www.crowdrise.com/stopthehate/fundraiser/taylorroberts to make a donation, leave a message, or spread the word.
Get to know people. It's amazing how much they'll surprise you.