It has been a hard week for a lot of personal reasons. And if there was any void that the sadness didn’t manage to fill, it overflowed and soaked my cheeks with the news of a recent suicide. There had not been a news item that made me to cry in a long time prior to this. But, it is no surprise we develop a sense of disconnect when all the electronics we are connected to inundate us with whatever the worst news of the day is. It is sensory overload and too much to carry in our minds. We turn to “I’m sorry” and “That’s too bad” and leave it at that.
I was looking over my old journal, and oddly enough it was the death of a 15 year old that affected me enough to write about it last time too:
She begins dying in a high school hallway, her breath falling away, from kissing the boy she was falling for. He consumed a peanut butter sandwich hours before his lips fell amidst hers and her peanut allergy consumed her. 15 years old.
And while the media was alert enough to make a quick grab at the story (along with a pun filled headline — sounding more like a demented punch line) they are asleep at how damaging calling his love “The Kiss of Death” is. Those sorts of things create a scar inside you that is never quite far from your line of sight. And a sadness in your eyes that always has people wondering what you have been looking at and for how long; whether you are standing in line at a cafe, or watching people fall in love.
This time my tears made it clear right through to my cheeks at watching YouTube videos of Jamie Hubley, a 15 year old who took his own life due to a combination of being a long term victim of bullying and the depression it likely sparked in him.
The reason he was bullied? It apparently started in public school when he told people he liked figure skating more than hockey. In high school he came out, and they took any opportunity to kick the stool out from under wherever his self-esteem sat; always wanting to see it crashing to the floor. It gets harder and harder to get up. Your happiness suffers a concussion and becomes too confused ever be fully present. Apparently people telling him there were only another three years of this high school life wasn’t exactly a comfort (especially when it had been going on for years.)
“Im tired of life really. Its so hard, Im sorry, I cant take it anymore.
“Its just too hard,”
“I dont want to wait 3 more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know It will get better? Its not.”
This is nonsense that needs to stop.
“It Gets Better” campaigns are a great step, but we need to come to a day when we can change that to, “It IS better.” That day is going to come from each of us making a step towards getting there. We can repost and re-Tweet “It Gets Better”, “Stop Bullying” all we want but eventually it is going to seem like something to say or a cliché; words tend to lose impact. Showing steps you are taking as an individual to make it better are key.
This is where my first step comes in: Pursuing a music career is a financial struggle for me right now. Any money that doesn’t get sucked up by paying rent and buying food is put into career development. I recently released a single, Back Again. I spent a couple thousand dollars on it; obviously it was not money I just had lying around.
However, I weighed my financial struggle against the mental struggle that someone bullied enough to end their own life goes through, and have decided to donate half of my sales from Back Again (until February 15th) to whatever charity Jamie Hubley’s family sees fit. I’m struggling to make a living; I’m not struggling with wanting to live. Money comes and goes all the time, a life only comes and goes once. It is available on my website jefkearns.com and iTunes.
Jef Kearns is a flautist who cares about music and the world. Visit him at jefkearns.com