Letters to… Amanda Todd, the Weak, and the Strong.

When I was a kid, I bullied. I was short and fat and our family didn’t have a lot of money, so hand-me-down clothes were the norm. All of this happened in grade school. Once I hit high school, I was left alone, thanks for my growth spurt and avoiding social activities. I had a handful of good friends that, fortunately, I still call my friends to this day. But grade school was when my being bullied was at its peak.

The fortunate thing for me was that, when I went home, I was free from bullying. Kids today, especially those on Facebook, or who are social n the internet, aren’t free from bullying. The bullies find them online and harass them constantly. If they had the internet back when I was in grade school, or even high school, I might not have made it out. I might have ended up like Jamie Hubley or Amanda Todd, or one of the hundreds of kids who died before bullying gained national attention.

I usually write letters in a sarcastic tone, or in the form of a rant. But today, I want to express my feeling on the following…

 

Dear “The Strong”;

Nope, I’m not talking to the jocks and natural leaders among the kids and teens out there. I’m talking about the ones who struggle just to get through everyday. These are the kids and teens who aren’t wearing the coolest fashions, or have to newest electronics, or aren’t what others would consider “cool”. They are the real “strong” ones, especially when they are mocked and bullied because of their differences.

I want to tell them that these years can be so hard and dreadful. But they are not the be-all and end-all of their lives. Grade school and high school ends. One way or another, they’ll move on. The things that happened back then will only be remembered by the pathetic people who are desperate to hold onto the past because they aren’t prepared for the future. More often than not, the popular ones in grade and high school go on to very ordinary lives that they usually don’t like because they hold on to their glory days, instead of making new ones,

Those that are bullied, that were different, have a head-start on many of those popular people. You know how difficult life can be. You are already strong, can deal with the crap life throws at you. You have a greater chance of making something of yourself, whether it be financial and/ or personal.

But before you can do all that, you have to face the hardship of grade school and high school bullying, puberty, and social awkwardness, among other things. Speaking as an adult, life is hard. But if you can get through being a kid and a teenager, if you can build your internal and external strength, then you’ll be ready to face the world after high school. Even though life is hard, there are great things out there. Wonderful things. Beautiful things.

If you are being bullied and are afraid of tomorrow. That’s understandable. But never, NEVER let that fear rule you. The best way to defeat the bullies is to never let them win. They can beat you, mock you, but as long as you keep going, then they’ll never win. After all, bullies are just stupid people using stupid words to make their stupid little lives seem better. Their lack of compassion and understanding of things and people who may be different may stay with them all their lives.

That is wat all this is about, life. Living. Like I said, grade school and high school isn’t forever. When it’s done, you really begin to live life.

Sincerely,

Mark (aka Sarcasticus Rex)

 

Dear “The Weak”;

The “Weak” are the bullies and cyber-bullies. I’d call you cowards, but you’re worse than cowards. You are pathetic excuses for beings that must be so miserable in your life that you have to spread the misery around.

Back in the day, you did this in school. But now, you stalk the Facebook, chat rooms, and other places on the internet because you are so afraid of the world that the only way you can make yourself feel more important is my ruining someone else’s life. The bullies back in my day at least did it to my face. They were stupid and childish, but they weren’t as afraid as the cyber-bullies.

I’d blame the kids or their parents for raising dispassionate, amoral heathens, but it’s not just kids that bully other kids. A 32-year-old man was identified as the alleged blackmailer and tormentor of Amanda Todd. Another man-made derogatory comments on Amanda Todd’s memorial Facebook page. Sadly, sickos come in all ages. But at least some kids and teens have a chance to turn their lives around, via their parents and counselling. That is, if their parents even know what their little brats are doing, which many don’t.

I consider myself an objective and compassionate person. I try to understand the other side before out-right condemning. But I’m hard-pressed to have any sympathy for these people who do evil onto others for whatever reason. Do they think it’s fun? Are they lashing out for some slight society has brought upon them? Or are they just heads full of bad wiring? Either way, I’m beginning to not care wat their reasons are. Too many lives have been extinguished because of vermin that feel the need to relentlessly bully others. These are the kinds of people, regardless of age, that I would apply that Christian adage “an eye for an eye.”. I would like to see their lives put up for display, for all to see. I’d like to see them embarrassed to the point of humiliation. But instead of letting them kill themselves, make them live with the memory of their own cruelty. Maybe then they’d understand. If they didn’t the first time, repeat as often as necessary.

Enough young people have died because of other’s apathy and indifference.

Sincerely,

Mark

 

Dear Amanda;

I wish someone could have said the right words to you to make you change your mind.

But who knows what those words were? Speaking for experience, when the world overwhelms you, it’s hard to hear those words, any words, that might help. Everything is so dark and hopeless, that death is a release. I understand that. Completely.

We have all done stupid things we wish we could take back. I know I have. If I had some of those mistakes repeated again and again, for all the world to see, I’m not sure what I would have done. I might have done what you did.

But I didn’t, and I’m thankful. Only time and experience have made me realize how terrible suicide at such a young age would have been. You didn’t get that chance to realize how important your life could have been. Age and experience might have lessened the cruelty and embarrassment of those pictures and those stupid people’s words. That’s what they were, just stupid people’s words. They didn’t know the real you. The sad thing, now no one will.

I didn’t know you in life. I still don’t know you in death. But you remind me of those I used to know as a kid, and kids that I’ve had the pleasure to know as an adult; nieces, nephews, their friends, and friend’s kids.  Your YouTube video showed a creative, passionate soul. You were probably a shy but sweet girl. I imagine a laugh that could be surprisingly loud. Maybe you wanted to act, be a singer, those things I’d only be guessing at.

But because of stupid people’s words and actions, no one, especially your family and your true friends, will ever know the truth.

I wish someone could have said the right thing to change your mind.

Hopefully, these words, and others, will be the right things that will change someone else’s mind.

Sincerely,

Mark

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9 thoughts on “Letters to… Amanda Todd, the Weak, and the Strong.”

  1. YesDear Mark
    Thank you for writing this blog entry. Your words resonate with truth, compassion and true emotion. Your final letter to Amanda was thoughtfully written. Yes Amanda very much wanted to sing and she also had many other goals ahead of her. Your words about her having more time and experiences in life would have helped her get through the hurdles she was facing at the time are the same words that I would say to her now and that her family talk about all the time. If only … Please join me in my journey to continue with Amanda’s message of Staying Strong and reminding all the other young teens and adults out there who need support to go ‘speak to someone’. Let’s all Be Someone and Care!!!

    Snowflakes in hand,
    Amanda Todd’s mom

    1. Thanks for you kind words. Coming from you, it means a lot. Suicide is hardest on those left behind. All we can do is do everything we can to ensure no one else we know and love never consider it a solution to anything.

  2. Your words are straightforward from someone who KNOWS, and yes you are right…those years in high school are just a small pebble on a long path…if we choose to take it. I was deeply disturbed by the cruelty to this young child, and to others. However, the irony lies in the same social media that helped destroy her, has also enabled Amanda to live as to bring much needed attention to affect this type of cruelty has on another human being. Forget about wars and natural disasters, if our human race is to survive, then we must have compassion and empathy for all, otherwise THAT will be our doom! God Bless all who have endured this inhumanity from others.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I agree that social media hurt Amanda, and also brought her story to others who needed to hear it. Many blame social media, but in the end, it is people, and their lack of compassion, that killed Amanda. If we are to prevent future deaths, then a change in society, and an awareness of those around us, is desperately needed.

  3. Dear Mark,
    I want to commend you for being straight forward about the experiences you had growing up. I too was bullied in elementary school. I went to live with my grandparents in forth grade, and from that very first day at my new school, it was sheer hell. I was called names, pushed, had things thrown at me, all because I wore old clothes, some that never fit right because most of my shirts at that time were my moms. I wore them so I could have her close to me during a time in which I couldn’t see her, and my hair was cut short because my previous school constantly had head lice so it was easier to manage when I got it. I was called a lesbian, ugly, fat, dirty, and treated like trash. It got so bad when I entered orchestra in 5th grade, I practiced in our practice room every recess so I wouldn’t have to deal with the group of boys abusing me. This lasted until 7th grade, when I finally snapped and got into a fist fight with the worst of the group. I’m 23 now, and I can still remember bawling my eyes out telling my middle school principal how I’d reported the harassment for years and nothing was ever done about it. I can remember questioning even then if people would miss me if I just vanished or ended it all. Anger at the abuse finally pushed me out of those thoughts and in time made me a stronger person, but at the same time for a while, it made me hateful and I closed myself off to everyone. No one should ever have to go to school dreading the abuse they know will occur again each day, and I’ve no doubt had the networks been around with the strength they are today during those bad times, I wouldn’t have made it through. I don’t tell this because I want sympathy, I want people especially those suffering today to know people just like you and me are all over the place. It was a hard existence at times, but we got through it. Amanda’s story has stuck with me since the first time I saw her video. As an adult I can’t begin to fathom how anyone can be so cruel and use the excuse of youth for any of it. A heart breaking feels no less painful because of a person’s age. What angers me the most is the sheer fact that so many adults feel the need to degrade any of the children that have suffered and took the only way they felt they had out of it. I don’t want to understand how someone can be so cruel to any child knowing that’s someone’s baby, that’s someone’s world, those are lost dreams, and lost future memories. No one with any sort of heart let alone a child would ever condemn them in such a way because of mistakes that were made. These poor babies had futures and dreams that were taken away, and it’s my hope that those responsible are made to face consequences that make them feel the burden of what they’ve done. Hopefully one day soon no more children will have to suffer such indignities anymore. Thank you for making it easier to talk about my past, though courage, courage is both gained and given.

    Sincerely,
    Denise

    1. Hi Denise,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog about Amanda and bullying. Also, thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad you had the strength and courage to fight and survive.
      Reading about these kids killing themselves because of bullying reminded me so much of those days when I was bullied. I felt afraid and alone. I never thought back then how many others were going through the same thing, or worse.
      Hopefully today, with more people talking about it, bring it out into the open, and letting everyone know how often this happens, and how unacceptable it is, that attitudes and laws will be changed, so kids can enjoy being kids, instead of being afraid.
      Thanks again for reading and your story. Inspiring.

  4. Hi Mark, I just read your blog entry and would like to say how well I think that’s what you wrote ! There are so many things which I would like to say you ‘re absolutely right . In my school days in the early 90s , there were no social networks , otherwise my bullies would probably have been even meaner ! It seemed to me enough as it is . But I do hate something then no one called bullying , that was just the “normal” and together the “normal” problems of children and adolescents. I know the word bully since 13/10/2012, that is the English version ( I’m from germany ) and have noticed what it can mean everything for kids like Amanda . Why are so many bullies out there , so many bystanders that do nothing ? They can live their lives , school, university , family. Children like Amanda or Rehtaeh Parsons or the many others had no chance to live their lives. Can you really live with this guilt? There are so many , the 16 year old rapist , people have looked away and then the people who think they have to bully , for whatever reason. I do not understand ! What is a society consisting of such people ? No society in which I want to live ! But maybe we can change it , no, maybe not , we can. And when it ‘s a bully , he is alone, no rapist , because no one looks away . Does that make sense…

    1. Hi Karsten,
      I can’t imagine being a teenager today, with social media as a way of bullying kids. I hated going to school, knowing what was waiting there for me. Having that feeling every time I checked my email of Facebook page would be dreadful.
      Being from Germany also shows how universal a problem this is. This isn’t a North American problem, it’s everywhere.
      There is a saying, about how evil can spread when good people do nothing. That is what people do when they don’t step forward and stand up to someone bullying another. As a society, we have stand-up, together, and saying this behavior is unacceptable. It is wrong and innocent people, kids, are dying because they feel scared, helpless, and alone.
      Why do people bully? Some do it out of fear, some seek control, some have deeper issues that they can’t deal with, so they hurt others. Sadly, others just don’t care. They have no empathy for others. Some bullies out there, need just as much help as the ones they torment.
      Regardless of the reasons, it is wrong. Everyone should be reminded of how wrong it is, and that things must change so no more kids and teens die because they can’t deal or feel they have no where to turn.
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
      Take care. 🙂

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