Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Humble and Compassionate: Part 1 Amanda Todd

When I first heard of Amanda Todd, I already knew she had committed suicide.
I knew she was a month away from her 16th birthday and that she left behind grief stricken parents. I watched the video she posted on  Youtube (Amanda Todd's Video)
a month before she took her own life. I saw a young girl. Obviously feeling vulnerable, hiding behind words, that are often misspelled, and I learned of her story.

In the aftermath of Amanda Todd's recent suicide, pages that pay tribute to the young girl, in hopes of spreading awareness of cyber bullying, mental illness, and to give hope to young people who are experiencing the same things, that they are not alone have turned into a nightmare.

These are the comments I have read (these are real and I have read these not on just the memorial pages but elsewhere):

"Where were her parents?"
"Why didn't she get off the Internet?"
"Dumb bitch no one cares"
"This girl was just a bratty teenager"
"Why didn't her parents just homeschool her?"
"She is going to hell, no one cares"
"I don't feel sorry at all for people who kill themselves, why are we even paying attention to her"
"She made a few mistakes but I have been bullied too and you don't see me killing myself. Stupid fuck"
"WHERE WERE HER PARENTS?!"
"What did she think was going to happen if she was being a slut?"

It goes on and on.

I posted these insane comments word for word because I want you to be upset.
Maybe by chance you actually agree with some of the comments.

But I am going to let you in on a secret.
She is dead.
No piece of advice will help her parents.
Homeschooling is not an option for her.
She can no longer be monitored online, or medicated.
And it really, ahem, doesn't matter what you think about her situation.
Because her situation is over.
Done. Gone. Over.

Now I am going to pause for a moment. Give you something to think on.

Are you as critical of other people's choices as you are of your own?
Are you as critical of other people's parenting, as you are about yours?

Think about that for a moment.

The response that I have read from other people is basically they are trying to find someone to blame and it sure as shit is NOT going to be them.

THEIR child is not going to make mistakes.
THEIR child would never be a victim of exploitation, stalking, child pornography, molestation, bullying, mental illness, low self esteem, and if they were THEY would know exactly what to do to resolve the situation. I mean fuck, protecting our kids from predators online and off is super easy! That's why nothing bad happens ever to anyone's kids, I mean it does, but like, every once in awhile, and it is the parents fault for not being more vigilant and not knowing exactly who, what, and where their kids are and what they are doing 100 percent of the day.
Besides kids are kids and you were bullied and you turned out just fine! You did, didn't you?

I want you to think about these things. Take a good hard look at yourself, unless you are perfect in which case, jog the fuck on because we no longer have anything in common, and don't think what you would do in someones shoes. Don't think how you would resolve other people's problems. Because it really doesn't matter. It is not you. Those other people's problems? Not yours. Amanda Todd? Not your daughter.

But those could be your problems.
Amanda Todd could be your child.

Any. Day.

We should be angry about the response to Amanda Todd's death as much as be horrified for the reasons for it. Because those reasons still exist. They are not going to fade away. Mental illness, bullying, child exploitation, and general lack of compassion, still exists.

Amanda is gone. You can say "who cares?" all you want. It really doesn't matter what you say about it, or what I say about it. She was not my child. And she is dead.
Her mother is out there, right now, as you are reading this, waiting for the courage to watch Amanda's video that Amanda had sent her before she took her life at 15 years old.

And it is for that reason that I started this new series. In the following weeks I will be posting  every Tuesday a series on compassion, how to be more compassionate, stories of compassion and I will also post tips on how to recognize bullying, how to go about resolving it and how to recognize the signs of mental illness and how you can help yourself, your child or anyone else who is having a hard time.

Now you might be asking yourself why Humble? Why has this affected you so much?

Because my daughter is almost 12. And I have 4 other kids that will one day, be teenagers and then adults. I need the information just as much as anyone else. Because I am a parent who isn't perfect. I do not have perfect children. I do not live in a perfect world where nothing bad ever happens to kids. I am just a mom, who wants what is best for her kids. I am not about to accept Amanda Todd as a lost cause, a missed opportunity, a failed attempt at life. Because in all honesty, the cause for compassion is still there, even if she is gone.


12 comments:

  1. well said. something needs to be done about shifting the attitude of our culture. I can't believe this girl is being vilified and shamed as she IS the VICTIM here.

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  2. This is a wonderful post, Humble. No child deserves what Amanda went through. No one knows the true hell she was living except her. People have no right to blame her or her parents. Anyway, this is a great post, and I'm sure if she could read it she would love you for it.

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  3. As a mom, I feel you. I hate that she died, and I feel so bad for her parents. There are these pages out there on facebook that are denigrating her, and that is so wrong.

    Thank you for this post.

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  4. Your words are powerful and well put, we as parents will never be perfect...I hurt for this family having to deal with all that has come from this..

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  5. The fact that she is being vilified is just another example of how detached we have become from one another as a society. It's too easy to look at this child's death and post awful comments because people aren't close to this family, her friends, her classmates. She's not a "real" person to them so they don't have any "real" feelings.

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  6. Hearing about another poor child that has taken their life kills me,I pray everyday that society will find compassion because Im sending all my kids out into this cruel place and I need them with me.I know my baby will be bullied and it hurts me too know its just a matter of time before he understands what people are saying.

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  7. Great great great post. A breath of fresh air from all the negativity in this world. Humble, I follow your Facebook and your blog, and I know this isn't your "normal" type of blog, but I love it just the same. Looking forward to your words on compassion, because I think we all know, the world could use a little more. Thank you... <3

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  8. I can't even begin to express how saddened and sickened I am by the response to this girl's death.
    No matter how much her parents did, they will always -ALWAYS- wonder if they could have done more. They lost their child and there is no pain greater than that. How dare others point the finger at her parents in their time of loss. They did what all of us would, they did their best. Maybe their best isn't your best, or my best, but it's the best they could at the time. That's all we can ever do as parents, make the best decisions for our child that we see at the time.
    As for their judgment of her. How dare anyone criticize her? No matter what she did she did not deserve that harassment. No one's hands are clean and how dare you pass judgement on someone else's mistakes because they were different from your own.
    Well said, Humble. You're right this could be any of our children and something needs to change before the name Amanda Todd is replaced by another, similar headline.

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  9. I love that you wrote this post and will be posting about compassion every Tuesday. Our society has lost its way when it comes to treating anyone with respect and compassion.

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  10. impressive to see the army of love here ,following your post. Our society has to change.for the better. Where ,or who,and when? I guess by all of us. Right now. Lets think about what we all so to contribute ,as I do this myself,and simply need to practice what I preach. We care about money,what brands of clothing,if this kid should hang out with that kid,or if some parent has heard something about a "family" name. Come on everyone,its how it is. I doesnt matter what faith,nor denomination we are,we all need to stop living in a fake world. One thing Ive realized the hard way,speak the truth,people may not want you around. I think it is so sad ,that 20 years ago,we all could trust our neighbors,you may not of even known their names. checking on them if they were elderly,or alone. Its like somewhere along this timespan,we fell down ,maybe into a pit or something..cause,its very rare to find this quality of a person.A kid needs to be loved,as well as an adult. I want you all to know,I had a nephew,age 19,not one sign of anything depressed,take a shotgun between his toes,and blow his own brains out.This happened on a morning he had court. His parents were waiting for his to show at the court house. when he didnt show,my brotherinlaw went to check on him. Yep.thats what he found. No whats sad? My nephew ,had noone to make him feel a marijuana charge,nor jail,was going to make him less of a person. My brotherinlaw,new home,owned a company,my sisiter,headnurse icu..WHO GIVES A CRAP? ..They didnt want to "Tell"anyone ,it was embarrassing,and they didnt want even family to know. Well guess what you all,WE ALL FOUND OUT. after it was too late.
    So,I do personally get why,we have bullying,name calling.Because many people ,want to live fake lived lives. And WE let them,I would like to thank you ,for this excellent. Definately portrays to me,you care. As so many comments along with it.Sincerely,Michele

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  11. Thank you, thank you thank you!!!! This hits home as I have a friend whos 15 year old daughter took her own life. I have seen my friend struggle for years now, trying to figure it all out. Bottom line is we will never know. And in the end, it doesn't matter. A child is still dead and a family is torn apart because of it. We (my small l community) lost another teen to 13 red bull's. Some people blamed him for being dumb, some people blamed the kids he wad with and some blamed the parents. It doesn't matter. A 17 year old, much loved young man is dead. A family and a small close community is devastated.

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