Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Amanda Todd's suicide

Photo from

I am a mother of two and I can not imagine what Amanda Todd's mother is going through right now.  I am so disenchanted by the increase in cyber bullying that is driving teen's and young adults to end their lives before they have even had the opportunity to experience it.  Bullying happens at all ages, and I hate admit it but even I have recently fallen prey to this new epidemic.   People have always wanted to "bring me down a peg," tell me about myself and my motives.  I'm a strong person, but I ain't that strong.  I'm just as vulnerable as  any human being, without help we can only take so much before we implode.  Unfortunately for beautiful girl photographed above, she imploded before she could get the help she needed.

Photo from
This young girl made a poor decision to post explicit photos of herself on the internet, and was taunted by her classmates for it.  I've never posted explicit photos of myself on the internet, but seeking attention as a black girl going to a primarily white catholic school living in Middle Class America, apart of a urban society who deemed me "too white," to fit in, I at one time sought fulfillment from the company of strangers through social media networks.  Once it's out there you can't get it back. While the photos I posted weren't "explicit," they were not photos that I would want my mother to see.  They were a cry for help. 

Most of my life I have battled depression stemming from my low self esteem.  I now realize, Your self worth can not be tied to people, people will always let you down.  It can't be tied to material things, because guess what, they won't be here when your gone.  It can't be tied to your status, popularity for most is temporary, if you don't know how valuable you are then you will be lost with it.   I don't know everything that went on in Amanda Todd's life, but I do know that her life ended way to soon at her hands and at the hands of cyber bullies who wanted to tear her down. 

I watched Amanda Todd's viral video which was her cry for help, as she went page by page through the story that was her life.  I was nearly brought to tears as she described the darkness that has clouded her life over the past couple of years. She transferred from school to school, neighborhood to neighborhood, hoping that she would be free from the demons that were haunting her. I scrolled down looked at the comments below and was surprised by the lack of empathy and sympathy of some people.  Saying that it was, "her fault."  Yes Amanda Todd made some bad decisions, but don't we all.  Even in her death the bullies still try to rip her apart. 

Honestly I believe cyber bullies are worst than the bullies kids face on the playground.  Nether one of my daughters attend school yet, but I cringe thinking about either of them being bullied when they go to school.  I can already think of several reasons why people would bully my girls in the future and I wonder how I am going to find the balance.  How do you instill strength, without pushing them too hard?  How do you comfort their tears without coddling them?  How do you tell them to hold their heads high, but don't tear down others in the meantime?  How do you tell them that all men are equal, when the world tells them something different?  There are so many questions that I know they will ask in the future, because people can't see past the color of their skin.  So many questions that I will ask to make sure that they are doing okay.

Teenage years are the best and worst years of life.  The internet has added a whole new set of problems to adolescents, but parents we can counteract this by being involved, having open ears and conversations, actively listening without judging, and monitoring our teens internet use.  I'm not the parent of a teen yet, but in the future I will incorporate all these things in my parenting.  Amanda Todd was gone too soon.   She came from a broken home and her low self worth took her from this world. 

To my teens out there who may have come across my blog, rather your in middle school, high school, or college, if you are having problems with depression, thoughts of suicide, or life issues in general, don't hold it in, get help.  If you are being bullied speak up.  If you see someone being bullied speak up.  If you don't feel comfortable talking to your parents, teacher, or counselor there is an anonymous suicide hotline,  call 1-800-273-8255*.  There is hope, don't let the problems of today take your future away from you.

Sadly Amanda Todd's suicide isn't the only one I experienced this weekend.   It is an all to common occurrence.  Let's stop bullying and help prevent suicide by looking past what we see on the outside because it is what is on the inside that matters most. 

Najeema Iman, I AM Curly Locks

*There are so many resources available if you need help.  But if you call the number above, I am sure that hey can direct you to the appropriate channels.

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