A Letter To My Gay Friends

Dear Gay/Bi/Curious Teenage Prankster Who Is Being Bullied By Bullshit Bullies,

Chances are, you don’t know me from a hole in the ground. In fact, a hole in the ground may look more familiar than I do, but I am Your Aunt Becky, and while we may not actually be related by blood, I have adopted you along with the rest of the Internet. It’s okay. Don’t worry. When I show up to your house for some family gathering and get rowdy and drunk and sing God Save The Queen, I’ll distract your parents so you can sneak some rum into your eggnog, okay?

Anyway, I hate to bother you with a boring letter since you kids like your text messages but what I have to say is important and I hope that you listen to it. Or parts of it. Tune out what doesn’t matter to you, but please, listen to at least a little bit of it. I may not be particularly smart, but I have lived about twenty different lives, so I’ve picked up some insight along the way.

Your teenage years are not the best years of your life.

What seems like a permanent and dire situation now, the things that make you hurt and ache inside, those things will stay with you, but the hurts and the aches, those subside over time. These are the things that will fortify you. They will strengthen you and they will make you a better person. Eventually.

I know that it seems like there is no other way out, believe me, I’ve felt that way before too. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who are reading this column right now have felt this way at some point as well. Maybe it’s not the same. Maybe we cannot understand precisely how you feel because we are not you. But even when things seem so bleak and so empty, even when all that you feel is a deep chasm of pain, it will pass. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but it will pass.

Things will get better.

Physically, my heart hurts when I see statistics like sexual minority youth are bullied two to three times more than heterosexual youths. In our lifetime, (yes, I am using the royal “our” because I am rightly assuming that you will be around to make fun of my obsession with bacon for a good long while) I would be willing to bet that this number will drop as bullying is taken more seriously by schools and parents alike. Certainly, that does not help you right at this very moment, as you are hurting from the devastating effects of verbal, emotional and even perhaps physical abuse, I know that. Let every unkind word, every insult, every horrible slur thrown at you strengthen your resolve to help the next generation.

You know that you must be part of the change the next generation of children who will grow up to be in your shoes some day. You can and you will.

These are not the best years of your life.

The best years of your life are yet to come. The years ahead of you will be long and they will be beautiful and they will be brimming with love. The suffering that you have withstood at the hands of cruel bullies and those who do not understand you will leave the sorts of scars that may never be visible to anyone but those who know you best. Those silent scars will only serve to help you as you can turn all of your pain and channel it into something greater, something positive. There is a whole world out there beyond your high school, beyond your small-minded town who will welcome you with wide arms, who will love you as you are, and who will accept you simply for being you.

It’s hard to remember all of this, I know, because even now, at age thirty, my high school years winking merrily in my rearview mirror, I struggle to remind myself that it’s not the end of things when I have a bad day. I have to take a breath and remind myself that it’s not going to break me when I’m bullied by someone. The days when I get harassed simply for being me aren’t bad days at all; because they make me stronger. Sometimes, I have to take a step back from the situation, let all of that hatred flung in my face wash over me and and allow it to strengthen my resolve to do more good.

These horrible bleak days are going to make the rest of your life that much better.

I want you to know that somewhere, Your anonymous Aunt Becky is rooting for you, kid, and she loves you dearly. You’ll learn that the world is a good place. High school may not always be, but the world is. I’m sorry that things have to be so hard for you and trust me, if I could take on those bullies, I would do it in a second (don’t doubt me on this). I have a loyal Prankster Army who’d back me up. Bullies are bullshit. No, let me rephrase that: bullies are FUCKING bullshit, and you don’t deserve the suffering they’re causing you.

There’s a big world out here, kid, and we can’t wait to meet you. Please remember that high school is temporary and the rest of your life, well, it’s wide open. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with it.

Please, do not give up hope. There is always hope.

If you’d like to talk to someone from the Trevor Project, here is the Phone Number: 866-4-U-TREVOR

And, loves, you know where to find me.

Much Love,
Your Aunt Becky

——

What would you say to one of the teens who are being harassed? What can we do to stop this horrible harassment?

About Mommy Wants Vodka

Bored by mini-vans, life in the child lane, and pot-pie recipes, Becky began to write on her blog, Mommy Wants Vodka in 2007. She was as shocked as anyone to find out that people actually wanted to read what she wrote. Instead of living a swinging life of weekends in the Congo and curing baldness while holding crack babies, she stays home with her three children. An unpaid, kept woman.

Comments

  1. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/05/04/1003

    cliff notes: you get happier as you get older. you also get less angry and stressed.

    statistically speaking, things REALLY DO get better. it's not just people blowing smoke up your ass!

    i've also read a strong (imo) hypothesis that many of the "symptoms" of adolescence (depression, stress, difficulty in staying focused and alert, emotional instability, eating/body dysmorphic disorders) are caused primarily by a lack of sleep.

    yes, a lack of sleep!

    make sure you get yours.

    don't sweat the small stuff. it's all small stuff.

    • Sleep is vital to a growing teen. Parents are likely to believe their teens are just lazy however there have been numerous studies showing the importance of a minimum of 9.5 hours of sleep per night is required for proper function, health and decision making.

      This link provides a more in-depth overview of how lack of sleep is effecting today's teens.
      http://bit.ly/9zgMTm

  2. "Your teenage years are not the best years of your life." True advice for all people, of all orientations.

  3. Great post. God knows as much as I hated my teenage years, I would not have made it without telling myself over and over "the best is yet to come…"

  4. Very important point in regards to parents taking an active roll. All to often signs and symptoms of problems are over looked. Parents need to be more diligent in paying attention to behavior, moods, friends and school work. Open communication is difficult with teens as they try to assert themselves and their ideas while maturing into an adult. We as parents are often told 'we don't understand'. It is our responsibility to make sure that we do comprehend the pressures they face.

  5. witcharachne says:

    I remember someone once telling me that the horrible moments in your life are like rain. If you wake up in the morning, and it's raining outside, yes, your plans are probably ruined. There's no sense in forcing yourself to act as though it isn't raining by hanging out the washing and going swimming and going for a picnic – to deny that it's raining is silly.
    But you should always remember that rain doesn't last forever. Eventually you will wake up to a day that is filled with sunlight, perfect for swimming, picnics and washing clothes, so hold on to that thought, and soon the sun will come out.

  6. I love this letter. Well done, Aunt Becky.

  7. I was bullied mercilessly as a teenager. At one point nobody spoke to me for 2 years. Not a word. They were too scared to. Kind teachers locked me in classrooms during lunch to keep me safe but bullies pried open windows and climbed through to reach me. When teachers backs were turned, girls pummeled my back with their fists. They threw stones at my Grandfather's car when he picked me up from school and called my grandmother in the middle of the night to make insulting comments, when they knew she was fighting cancer. I couldn't fight back; I was one, they were many.

    The only solution the school provided was to move me to another class or another school. They appeared to not believe me and my parents or didn't know what to do about it. I was pretty stubborn even back then, with a strong sense of right and wrong – even though I was hurting and depressed I refused to be moved or to show any kind of weakness. But it almost broke up my parents' marriage because it all came out when I came home.

    I'm 36 now and those were THE MOST formative and influential years of my life. I still see (and fight) many traits that this experience ingrained in me. You're right, they are not the best years of your life, neither are they "your life" but you are also right in saying that they will continue to make up a significant part of who you are. Of course, each of us gets to choose which part that is. For me, I gained resilience, self-reliance, and an almost unnatural ability to be calm while everyone around me is losing their heads. I also gained a 'I don't need anyone else" attitude, dogmatism, and a reluctance to admit weakness or when I was wrong.

    Thanks for this post. I hope someone reads it and gets some perspective although I know from experience that perspective is hard at that age.

    • Perspective is almost impossible when you're that age. I know. And I watched my brother go through this. He stutters terribly and the wounds he carries never heal. They won't.

      I've always vowed to be the person who stands up for people who can't. That's how I live my life now.

      Reading what you went through made me cry. If I'd known you, I'd have taken on those bullies for you. Sometimes, you need an ally. I'm so sorry. That's simply heartbreaking.

      No one deserves to be treated that way. No one.

  8. BRAVO!

  9. Hi Becky,
    thanks for writing this. That's something I would have loved to hear when I way younger and in school. I too was bulied and I can't quite remember what I did to come out of it relatively alright, so I can very well imgine that your words are helpful to someone. Thanks.

  10. "Let every unkind word, every insult, every horrible slur thrown at you strengthen your resolve to help the next generation." Exquisite, Aunt Becky. Really. Two thumbs up and an extra shot of vocka for you and your awesomness.

    • Welcome Noodles! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm sure Aunt Becky won't turn down that extra shot :)

    • Every awful thing that's ever happened to me has turned me in to who I am now. Someone who fights for other people. Someone who stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves. And someone who gives a voice to those who do not have one.

      I hope that the teens that make it through this lend their voice to the next generation. They'll need it.

  11. Well said Aunt Becky. Well said.

  12. Miss Piggy says:

    Beautiful post, Aunt Becky.

    I can't help but think of what the bullies that bullied me when I was younger are thinking after the heightened awarness this subject has received in recent weeks. I sincerely hope that they are ashamed of themselves and make it a point to not pass those traits to their own children. I'm proud that I was able to get past the way these girls (bullies) made me feel and become the wonderful person I am today. I pray for the youth of our communities and that this vicious "past time" is taken seriously by our teachers and principals. All of our angels deserve to live their lives with no fear.

    • There is no excuse for cruelty. Ever. I am happy that it's being seen as what it is (abuse) but more needs to be done to stop it. I'm horrified by the suicides. Sickened. It should never, ever get to this point.

    • If there are not ashamed they should be. Let's hope every parent, teacher, principal, politician and police officer takes notice and works together to create a united front against bullying.

    • You hear from so many people who were bullied as kids…but where are those who DID the bullying? I would like to hear from them as well, learn what motivated them, what could make them turn someone else's life into a torment, and how they feel about it now. i can't help but think being the bully must form the person you are today as much as being bullied. Are they normal people now, or do they carry scars too? And does it make me a horrible person if I hope they do?

  13. BEAUTIFUL!! Absolutely perfect.

  14. Somebodytolove says:

    “What seems like a permanent and dire situation now, the things that make you hurt and ache inside, those things will stay with you, but the hurts and the aches, those subside over time. These are the things that will fortify you. They will strengthen you and they will make you a better person. Eventually.

    I know that it seems like there is no other way out, believe me, I’ve felt that way before too. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who are reading this column right now have felt this way at some point as well. Maybe it’s not the same. Maybe we cannot understand precisely how you feel because we are not you. But even when things seem so bleak and so empty, even when all that you feel is a deep chasm of pain, it will pass. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but it will pass.

    Things will get better.”

    As a teen with depression, those words gave me chills. In a good way.

    As a teen with gay friends, this article made me want to cry. Also in a good way.

    You rock as usual, Aunt Becky.

    • Okay, now you made me cry. You tell anyone I have feelings, I'll deny it ;)

      It's hard to see past the present when you're down in The Shit, but there is one, and it's glorious. It's beautiful. I promise.

      Loves you.

    • Don't ever give up hope of a better tomorrow. It's out there and it will come when you need it most or least expect it. Aunt Becky is sooo right when she says "It WILL pass and things WILL get better.

      *Hugs* to you and your friends

  15. eviltwinswife says:

    Tomorrow, many people will be wearing purple to honor the young men who have taken their lives over bullying (about being gay). I will wear my purple in memory of my friend from high school who was bullied, but kept his chin up, then later, died of AIDS at 26. Thanks for the timely – and spot on – letter to our future leaders.

    • Someone has to stand up for what's right and we all can do it. We have a voice and we can use it. I'm not about to shut my whore mouth about it either. Don't know what I'm going to do yet, but this bullshit has to stop.

  16. Proud Mama says:

    My daughter is 18. She was ostracized for being different for many years and (barely) survived major depression. She had no friends at school but found a volunteer position after school that helped give her life meaning and really brought her joy. And then lost that position when one of the clients reported her for being bi and falsely accused her of inappropriate behavior. She was so devastated I didn't know if she would live to turn 18. But she survived, and is now one of the most awesome people you will ever meet. Through her painful experiences, she developed superhuman empathy for other people in need. She is now taking a year off between high school and college to volunteer for human services programs and comes home every day with stories on how she's helping people make it through the most difficult periods in their own lives. And she volunteers for an organization that is working for marriage equality. I am so proud of her. And so grateful that she made it. (And the client who falsely accused my daughter and caused her to lose her job, later falsely accused two other staff members of assault.)

  17. awesome post! Hit's so close to home…as I wipe the tears away I pray we can get the message out loud and clear to end this animalistic behavior!
    Thank you Aunt Becky<3

    Speechless Lexi B.

  18. Ok, I'm 38 years old. And when I was in high school roughly 20 years ago, I don't think there were any gay kids. I always thought that if you were gay, you kind of discovered that in your later years. Or more probably it was just hidden a little more than it is today. So, is this bullying a growing pain of gays being able to come out at a younger age? Or is it just the media age we live in that this is being reported more and it has always gone on? I was a shy, geeky kind of kid in high school and I got bullied mostly every day too, so I think as long as the asshole bullying type of kids are around, they are going to find someone who is a little different than the mainstream to beat up. In a weird way, I think this is positive that kids can just be who they are more now and finally schools and hopefully parents of kids today are going to prevent bullying in every form.

    • Unfortunately I doubt bullying will ever go away completely. Hopefully with so much out pouring of deep concern for the way children are treating each other, parents across the country and around the world are sitting down with their kids, working together, to help make a change for the better.

  19. Beautiful and touching post, Aunt Becky. Let's hope those who need these words most find them and are comforted by them.

  20. For all the people that support this idea, I suggest this post: http://seldo.com/weblog/2010/10/17/it_gets_better
    Beautifully written by someone that has been there.

    • Thank you Anna very much for sharing this link. I read the post in it's entirety and I got chocked up. For anyone questioning themselves, depressed about their future or afraid of the fuckwad bullies please follow the link.

  21. Yes. We parents have to do more. That's NOT a question.

  22. I came out when I was 18 (I'm now 20). Unfortunately, I haven't thus far really been able to relate to homophobia or bullying. I know i'm young still too. I know I might also be naive too. But really, in my two years of being truthful to myself and others around me, I haven't been met with an outburst of negativity towards who I am.

    I'd like to say that I understand completely what those young gay/lesbian/bi/transgender teens are going through, but I can't. And honestly, I think that is a testament to the times that are coming. I just need you all to hang in there. Because I haven't really been exposed to the hate I know exists, I want all of those who are going through it, to know that you're all my heroes.

    I am here to back you up all the way too. If I have to be that one in-between you and the world, I'll do it. Because you all deserve what I have had. Acceptance.

    • It's very heartwarming to hear that you have so many accepting people around you! Hold those people close and you will continue to receive nothing but positivity!

  23. Dylan, thanks so much for sharing with us. I think it's outstanding that you are surrounded by people who accept you for who you are. Everyone deserves to be accepted. Period.

  24. Beautifully written….thank you.

  25. Excellent job Aunt Becky! I am very involved with the local gay/lesbian/bi/transexual/transgender in my VERY conservative town and I believe everyone needs to read this write up and take it as 'gospel' on anti-homophobic behavior.

  26. I took the opportunity to talk to my almost-five year old son about bullying and how it's wrong. We talked about how LEGOs are all different, colors, shapes, sizes, etc. but how you need all of them put together to build something really cool. People are sort of like that, sometimes they look, talk, dress, or act different but that doesn't mean that we make fun of them for it. We need people to be different to make this Earth really cool. I'm not sure how much got through but if every parent out there can teach acceptance or, at the very least, tolerance, then things will be 999 zillion times better. That's a true fact.

  27. You're absolutely right, teen years aren't the best of your life by a long shot. Bullying should never be tolerated and this is a fabulous post

  28. Toy With Me says:

    Glad you agree :)

Speak Your Mind

*