Wednesday, September 21, 2011

rest in peace, jamey rodemeyer

Dear Jamey,

I read your name this afternoon. I read about your suicide. I happened across an article about you on my Facebook news feed. I read your story. So similar to the stories of so many young gay people who've been bullied - gay men it seems in particular. There seems to be more and more. I've read and heard about them. But yours - You - actually brought me to tears. Hearing your story made me sick to my stomach. It made me angry and incredibly sad. I think you touched me so much because I could definitely see my younger self in you. I found the YouTube video you made on a memorial page, where you reached out to other gay kids, reminding them that it gets better. I wish that you'd been here longer to see it, to taste it, to know if for yourself. 

I was bullied too, and for the very same reason. The same words, the same hateful names were thrown at me. Carelessly tossed our way by children - and adults - whom lack the maturity, or the kindness, or the ability to understand what it's like for us to be different in this way. I read the posts that classmates left for you online, and saw how cruel they were. I'm sorry, Jamey. I am so sorry. That you felt alone, and that you felt misunderstood and unheard. I'm sorry that no one stepped in on your behalf or that in the places you reached out for help, they could not, or would not, or didn't know how to give you what you needed. I'm so sorry that you were failed - because you were failed. No one, no one, deserves being made to feel that who they inherently are is wrong or not good enough. I can see in your pictures, and can tell by reading the accounts of people who knew you, that you were special. 

Listening to you speak, watching your video - you were adorable. I wish that at least once, the two of us could have gone for a walk. I would have told you things that I would have liked to have been told when I was your age and going through the kinds of things, and the kind of pain, that you were. I would have told you what your favorite, Lady Gaga, already had: that you were born this way. That Nature makes no mistakes and that you've grown in to exactly the young man that you were meant to be. I would have told you that you're right on track, that you're doing just fine, and that all you need to do is take it one step and one day at a time, that eventually you'll find yourself in a bigger, more accepting world. I would have said to hang on. To savor the moments with the friends you have, the ones that love you, because these are the people and the moments that matter. The smiles and laughter and acceptance right in front of you when you're with them, I'd tell you that that is what life can be. I'd have told you that the words and the name-calling will one day be an echo that you only sometimes hear. That there will come a time when you hardly hear those whispers, your adult life far too loud, far too rich to be disturbed. There are people out there whom you'll one day meet that will understand you and that will have a fondness and respect for you, simply because they've been through what you've been through and they know what it took. I would have told you to be yourself, never to mold yourself in to what others say you should be, and to be proud of that at all costs. Because it doesn't matter what you do, how you dress, how you carry yourself, the money you have, the car you drive, or who you sleep with, who you spend your life with. Trying to manipulate their perceptions is useless. The truth is, no matter what kind of man you grow up to be, as sure as the sun shines and the moon follows, there will be people in this world who will take one look at you and decide that you're not enough. Regardless of your character or the love you spread, there will be people blind to your goodness, who will think the worst of you. You will never be able to please everyone. And because of that, I'd say to you, that peace can only be found by listening to your heart - never the voices outside you. Others are clueless as to what you're about, what you're capable of bringing to the world. Who You Are is so precious, so holy; the only thing you ever need to be is You. And those who cannot see that, who tear you down, who add nothing of value or beauty to your life - run from them. Life is too short to settle for anything less. Run from them and never, never look back. If I could have told you these things, I would have. I'm sorry that I never got the chance. 

I think it sucks - and that comes nowhere near describing it - I think it sucks that your life had to be lost in order for you to finally be heard. It's heartbreaking that you chose what you chose. But you know what? I really do believe that people will take notice, that your death will get under their skin and move them to action. Bullying and hate are not okay. I pray that the pain you lived and the life you took will spare other young people from having to endure the kinds of things that you did - and I really think it will. Your life may have been short, but that's a huge, significant effect to leave in your wake. 

I've only known of your existence for a few hours, but you're in my heart, kid - and in many, many others I'm sure. I have no doubt about it. 

Rest in Love now, Jamey.
May you rest in Peace.

J

2 comments:

  1. It is said that one of a human being's worst fears is to be rejected and shunned - that we suffer these to our cores. The bravery of that boy, and yourself, to live who you are in spite of the creulty and criticism of many is inspiring. I guess at some point the pain of hiding away becomes greater than the risk of rejection and condemnation? I am so sorry for what happened him. Things probably would have settled down as he got older. I wish he could have known that too. You mentioned how he tried to help other kids, to support them. I wonder if he had a soul in the world who did the same for him? I'm glad you made it through all that - and that it made you stronger and so thoughtful.

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  2. I think you're right. Things definitely would have settled down in the future. It's just so hard to see that at that age. I pray the ripples of his death reach the sleeping.

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