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A Mother's Plea

I wrote this two weeks ago when I came home to find that all hell had broken loose in my family, wanting to find a way to publish it, to get people to THINK about how they treat each other and the lessons they inadvertently teach others, and decided that our situation is dire enough here that I just really need people to think NOW and can't wait for an editor to decide this works for them. I posted this to my FB yesterday and it went "viral" among my friends and their friends. I don't think that's really the definition of the term, but it's nice that people want to share this. :)

And I want you to share this through links. Please link people here to my blog instead of reposting this elsewhere, if you do. I feel that having a concentrated group of comments for kids like my son to read through and know that people CARE will do wonders for them. (And if you know me in RL, please - I beg of you - do not share anything personal like where I actually live or my child's name. We have had people stalking our house to the point where my husband called the police.)

Thank you. It's a little long, but I mean every word of it. (And if you've ever called someone the names I've referred to in this article, or hurt someone, I want you to look at my icon. That's my son. That precious little thing has had all of this ugliness thrown at him.)

Warning: Frank talk of homophobia, suicide attempts, and bullying.

Tolerance doesn't mean what you think it means.Collapse )

Comments

( 135 comments — Leave a comment )
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gillo
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Plus, his attackers are all active, vocal Christians

NO THEY FUCKING AREN'T.

Um, sorry. This just makes me so angry. They may call themselves Christians, they may even believe they are, but no actual Christian behaves in that way. Nobody who is a true follower of any religion does that. Nobody who is even a halfway decent human being does that.

The fact that their parents and religious communities fill them with this hatred or support them in this vicious behaviour says more about them than about their religion. They deserve to be called out in front of their whole church and berated for their unChristian behaviour.

I feel so angry about this. How can anyone allow kids to treat your boy like this. Even if he was a practising Satanist there would be no excuse. And he isn't. He's just a decent, normal boy with slightly different cognitive wiring from others in his age-group, trying to live his life as he wishes. Isn't that a constitutional right in your country?

I wish the b@$t@rds who treated him like this could have a reality check. I wish they could be forced to recognise the evil of their own conduct and the appalling consequences of what they do, routinely, without even thinking about it.

Above all, I wish your lovely boy could realise how special and perfect he actually is, how much better than these jerks he is - and that it does get better. And that nothing is worth throwing away the only life you get for, let alone jerks like these.

My dear, I'm on the verge of tears. I want to hug you and him so much. This is the same lad I sent those coins to a couple of years ago, right?

HOW CAN ANYONE DO THIS?

I feel sick and so upset for you. All my caring and hugs to you both.
entrenous88
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
Beautifully said. I'm so impressed you can voice your impassioned plea with such aplomb in this incredibly tough and painful time for you, your son, and your entire family.

Just know there are those of us out there who care so much for all of you, who hurt right along with you, and are inspired by what you're sharing to do more -- to be more vocal, to intercede whenever possible, to press the issue even when it seems hopeless. So thank you for continuing to speak about all of this as you're dealing with this difficult ongoing circumstance.
byrne
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
Love to you and your family, Laura. I'm so sorry things are so hard right now. :(

B/Chris Owen/Sarah on HDJM (I need fewer names. The sentiment and good thoughts remain the same.)
allyndra
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry for the pain that your son and family are being put through. I wish you all so very much good and happiness.

Thank you for this post. I'm going to link it to my husband and son, because we can all always use a reminder to treat others with care and respect.
eac
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I only see you in other people's comments, but I didn't want to let this pass without comment. That said, I can't seem to construct any set of words sitting next to each other that seem to mean anything in response to this post.

I hate that 25 years after I graduated high school beautiful children are still being driven to suicide, and that their parents can't protect them. I hate that people who think that differences must be stamped out are in such control of the world, and I hate that they're doing violence to your poor son and your whole family.

Please, please, let him know that even though those people are still there when you graduate, they don't have nearly the control they used to have and there's a whole world of people out here who want him to thrive and be happy no matter WHO he is. I know that we're not much protection from abuse in your community, but we're here. :/

jazzy_pizzaz
Nov. 5th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry about how much pain your son and family have been through because of intolerant people.

<3
julia_here
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, shit, Stoney, I'm so sorry, and so sad for your son and (now) for my mom, from the ways in which being bullied made me hurt her with shrapnel from my self-destruction when I was in my teens.

I didn't get bullied for the reasons your son is being bullied, but I was given the same kinds of advice that came down to "stop being who you are, and develop magic powers that make your victimizers stop being who they are." I nearly flunked my junior year because of post traumatic brain injury which was bullying related (ie I was injured in PE class and not given proper first aid by my bullying and bully-enabling teacher nor after-treatment because the bully owned and operated school refused to take concussion as a reason for me to stay home in bed) and was in perpetual detention because I was so terrified of the mob in the locker room that I waited until they were gone to shower and dress and was always, always late to my next class. I was suicidal and disassociative and prone to depressive rage and on my facebook page, where it talks about schools, it says I survived NTHS, because that was all I did, survive; my education came before and since.

It does get better, but dammit it hurts, every minute of it, and he nor you deserve this pain.
go_away_finchel
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
i am so sorry this is happening - you are an amazing mother and your son is so lucky to have you - and you to have him. i hate assholes.
rm
Nov. 5th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry you and your son and family are going through this. Thank you for fighting for him, and for everyone.

I'm 40 and really, really still struggling to deal with the wounds bullying has left on me. You and your son are so strong for every moment that you face and fight this bullshit.

Your son, and anyone else like him at all, totally has random strangers who care, who wish they could fix this, who want to see him get through this period of shit, and absolutely believe he can do it -- even if he should never have to be this strong or deal with this crap.

If there is anything we can do for you beyond spreading this post, please let us know.

thepuddinhead
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Though you don't know me, your description of your son is so like mine that I had to.

I too have a seventeen-year-old son. Mine's name is Jack. He weighs about 107 pounds, soaking wet and stand about five foot two. His 'fitting in' issues have always been present and he's been diagnosed with severe AD/HD. He's an atheist as well. Although he never brings it up, it is brought up to him by his peers, and often. He doesn't shy away from it.

Just when we felt he was making headway in learning how to interact with others, and making a few friends, we had to move from our home in Washington State to the bible belt - Southern Missouri. Things blew up for him at school. He was bullied mercilessly. When he spoke up about it and I went to the VP, they simply called him a liar until I insisted on looking at the video tapes. It went like that every week. Another incident of bullying and the school only paying lip service to doing anything about it. His health was deteriorating and he began to "see" himself though his bullies eyes. As a 'piece of shit' and 'worthless.' He began to pull out his hair.

I decided there were other paths to consider. I remembered feeling trapped in High School and I didn't want Jack to feel trapped as well. I'm writing all of this to you, a stranger I know, not to tell you what to do, but to help, I hope. Because you must be feeling trapped by this system that perpetually damages your son.

Here is what Jack and I did. We looked at his ultimate goal, which was to be a computer programmer. Was there a way for him to accomplish that goal that circumvented having to subject himself to cruelty? As it turned out - there was. On Saturday, Jack took his GED. Since he passed the practice test with 98%, we're pretty sure he did well on it. When we hear back, in ten days, he's going to enroll in community college. He's excited about taking chemistry most of all. For the next three years, he'll take classes there and when he's 20, he'll enroll in a 4-year-college as a college junior, just a little ahead of where he'd have been if we kept him in high school.

He took a GED prep class at the community college he's going to enroll in, not because he needed it but because I wanted him to see what the people were like there. He was shocked by how different, how much more mature the atmosphere was. He's actually beginning to feel a bit of hope and excited about his future.

This may not be the path for you and your son. There are lots of different paths, but ... one of Jack's school counsellors told me, when I was worried about 'socialization' should I pull Jack out of public school, "If the only kind of socialization he's getting is negative, what lesson is he really learning?"

Your son has options. If that place is horrible, maybe there is another school. Or an online school. We did K12 when Jack was in the 7th grade and he learned so much that year.

Your son has supportive family and he's not trapped. There is a way out besides suicide and I bet you can find it together.
stoney321
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I had to comment to this because, like you said, we have so many similarities. My son wants to be a surgeon and takes special courses at school to graduate his junior year as a CNA, next year an EMT, and have a leg up on college. And we're looking at paths just like you've done.

The other advice I would give anyone reading this: ALWAYS CALL THE POLICE. If your child has had hands laid on him (or any other sort of violent act) CALL THE POLICE.

I've learned that my school district has "issues" with our local law enforcement in allowing them into the school to talk about bullying. So. They're not going to the police when violent things happen (I've details some in this journal) so I've realized that I have to. Every time.

For now we're still in the day to day, but I love that you posted with an action plan. That is so lovely of you, and good lord, is that a wonderful way to take this to another step for anyone else that might read the comments, not knowing what to do. Bless you for that. Um, even though it's an atheist's blessing, I mean it with love. :)

Thank you.
... - thepuddinhead - Nov. 5th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - kisekileia - Nov. 6th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
soberloki
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
I am so sad that this shit is still happening anywhere, but I'm especially sad that your son is taking the brunt of people's intolerance and fear and misdirected anger.

You've got the kind of family I always wanted to be part of. I was also bullied in school, and came out of it pretty messed up and angry and isolated, but that had a TON more to do with my family than the bullying.

Keep doing what you're doing. I know it's exhausting and feels futile, but you're Doing It Right, sweetheart. I can't see the future, but I sure do picture it with you and your whole family enjoying life and leaving the bullshit behind.

I'm lobbing mental firebombs at the tiny-minded, judgmental, mean jackasses who keep directing their children and their vitriol at you and your son. No decent human being would allow this crap to continue for a second. Sadly, there don't seem to be an overabundance of decent human beings interacting with your lovely boy.

Something nice: my cat came home and is making himself king of the castle again. I can hear him eating in the kitchen.
thestoryofelle
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
I've been trying to think of what I could say here, something that might help or make things better, and I just can't think of anything. So, I'm posting a comment here, to be here as a witness -- to say that I'm standing with you, I'm hearing your story, and I care. I *do* care about you, and about your son.
Not everyone is like those awful people, doing those awful things. Things can get better and they will.
silmaril
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
You are beautiful, and your son is beautiful, and all of this breaks my heart. I wish I had more to offer than the long-distance well-wishings of an Internet stranger. I am so sorry all of that has happened, that your son and you have had to deal with all of that bull. Your son will shine one day, a little for all of us---you say upstream on this thread that he wants to be a surgeon---and that will be the best answer to the faces-of-evil that try so hard to torment him today. I know that is an empty platitude in the face of what he's undergoing today. But I mean it nonetheless.
anniemare
Nov. 5th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Well, I already wrote you a thing, but here is another:

**************HUGS AND MORE HUGS**************************

You and your family have my thoughts and my support.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 5th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
Bullying
As a Brit, there are a lot of things I can't understand about America. And the institutionalised bullying that you describe is one of them. This would not be permitted in British schools. Bullying goes on, yes - but the staff don't turn a blind eye. The fact that your son has Aspergers makes it doubly despicable.
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( 135 comments — Leave a comment )

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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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