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It Will Get Better

I can easily see where you might think this column’s headline is a promise of better ITB quality. It is not.

Some things are best confessed.  Get it off your chest; do not live in the shadows, right? 

I bet you have a thing or two you need to admit.  Maybe you secretly enjoy the songs of Ke$ha.  There must be a support group for you. Find help.

Okay, my turn.  I listen to NPR. 

There, I’ve said it. Whew, such a relief.

I am a huge fan of National Public Radio.  In fact, my only tattoo is a very discreet placement of the call letters “WUWM”. That is all.  Well, that and ‘All Thing Considered’ host Robert Siegel’s name spelled in the shape of a heart.

My love of quoting NPR explains why you will often find me at cocktail parties.  I am the one holding court in that just-cleared out area where everyone suddenly had to use the bathroom.

Forcing people to hear my rendition of a recently -aired NPR story is, I suppose, a low-grade form of bullying.  People generally counter with an amusing antidote from ‘Bob and Brian In the Morning’ and all is forgiven.

Other types of bullying are not so easily countered. This especially true when it takes place in the arena of the school – aged population.   That 18 and younger crowd is so totally plugged in, 24/7 on the social network.  There is no relief after the final bell rings.  2011 is a tough time to be ostracized.

Ever find yourself on the receiving end of that slushie?  Let’s talk.

Are you the victim of a bully?  Are you an outcast?  Four words for you, my friend: It will get better. 

And it might be counter intuitive, but you victims will go on to great things.  Whatever perceived difference you possess - that thing that put that target on your back - actually gives you character.  You are on the right track, baby.

The bully, not so much.

Bullying is the religion of the insecure.  Outside the fish bowl of your current world, no one, absolutely no one has any respect for the bully.  None. 

I know. Inside your fish bowl, it is hard to keep that larger world perspective.  Maybe you are really, really different.  So what?  The worlds a better place because you are in it.  Some Hallmark cards have it exactly right.

I heard a story on NPR the other day. (Come back here, I am not done yet.)  Teen suicide rates are highest among the LGBT crowd.  You are gay or you are perceived as gay, or you are questioning… It is tough to balance all that on top of biology and U.S. History.  These teen years can be a bitch.

Anyway, the jest of this NPR story was this web site: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/

It is a great place to visit if you are a teenager, will be a teenager or you are a former teenager – straight or gay. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone.  There is comfort in knowing others have been through what you are going through.  There is comfort in the simple truth that it will get better.

Light always follows dark.  Here is some more good news:  Your school is full of people who will follow you into the dark and give you a gentle push towards that brighter horizon. In fact, Greendale is full of people willing to provide a push.  Use us.

Remember this: In the end everything will be okay.  If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.

Julie Ernest May 12, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Mike, you hit the nail on the head, once again! I am sure that we all can relate in some shape or fashion. Thank you! Julie Ernest The Woodlands, Texas
Dennis Towle, Jr. May 12, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Another classic article Mike. As a person who was bullied, there weren't many paths that you could take to escape back in the day. I chose a comedic and eccentric route - you can't hit someone when your laughing at your target who's dressed in a Nehru suit and donning a crew cut! Unfortunately, not everyone is so comfortable with being uncomfortable. Switching from an introvert to an extrovert is not often the answer. So finding a suitable path for your escape is not that easy. Some of us survived that period of our lives... others, did not. Thank goodness that survival posts have sprung up as the years have gone by. Visit an outpost and talk to someone - it will strengthen your heart and your mind, and you will survive!
connie May 12, 2011 at 10:17 PM
Rock on Mike! Thursday DOES have meaning! And not just because it starts me weekend anymore. I, too am an avid NPR fan, tho I haven't yet gotten any tattoos.

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