Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘suicide’

It Got Better — Celebrating my 50th Birthday

The following speech was given on May 4, 2014 on the occasion of my 50th birthday:

Thanks for coming to Dan’s Fun Fabulous 50th Fiesta. This party has been in the works for the past year! The sad thing is — it may not have happened at all. And that’s because when I was a scared teenager I wanted to kill myself. Boy, am I glad that I didn’t! Life not only got better — it got awesome.Dan's B-Day

I’ve realized that I can be the fun, funky, lovable, caring individual I am today — and that’s all because I let me be me. I don’t have to fit in — cause I was born to stand out!

First off, thank you God for giving me strength and such a good life.

Thanks to my parents for doing such a great job raising me. Thanks to my siblings and all extended family.

Thanks to all my friends for taking a chance to know someone who may not be the easiest person to get to know.

I want to take a moment to remember all those friends and family members who have died — including our friend, Elliott, this past week. I know I am a better person for having known you.

And finally, thanks to my fiancé, Rasheed, for all that you do— for loving me and letting me grow.

Now enough with the mushy stuff. Let’s get back to the party!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Bullying Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part article. In the first installment, I talked about my personal experiences as far as being bullied. This installment will cover the recent documentary “Bully” as well as presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

“Bully” — the unrated documentary from Lee Hirsch tells the stories of young people and their families and their experiences with being bullied. We see the Bullyincidents happening, as well as hear from the kids and parents themselves about it. We learn about those who killed themselves, that found themselves overwhelmed with what was happening to them. We hear from teachers and school boards that don’t seem to care or don’t know how to handle the situation. Not easy to sit through, I found myself getting teary eyed when they were mentioning the names and ages of the deceased. This movie is a definite must-see. What I would have liked to have seen, was more about the bullies themselves and what their home life/family was like. Why do they do what they do?

I was wondering what my reaction was going to be to the movie, because of my past experiences. I did make me curious about what my parents knew of the situation when it was happening. I talked to my parents this week, and it was a good conversation. They know I had a hard time, but so did my Mom and my siblings too. I also wondered what became of my tormentors. If I saw them, would they apologize or just laugh it off as boys being boys?

Young Mitt RomneyWhich brings me to Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate. It has come to light in recent weeks, that Mitt was a bit of jerk in high school with his “pranks and hijinks” as he calls them. Romney led a group of boys that tackled John Lauber and cut off his bleached blond hair when they were students at a prestigious boarding school in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Eyewitnesses say that Lauber’s eyes were filling with tears as this was happening. Lauber stood out for his nonconformity and his perceived homosexuality. He is now deceased, so we can’t hear it from him what happened.

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Bullying: A Personal Perspective

I have been bullied in my life. This was long before the internet and the recent rash of cyber bullying across the country. I am sure the feelings the person feels hasn’t changed much. You feel violated, alienated, used, stupid, and sometimes scared.

I remember a few instances from childhood. I remember being at the park, and running home because my friend and me were being harassed. Another time, I remember being in another park for their annual playdays carnival and some older kids came and took our money. These were isolated one-off deals. Not so with what happened in school.No to Bullying

In grammar school, I was picked on. I was shy and quiet, not good at sports. I was good in school, but that didn’t count much with my classmates. I was called gay and fag a lot. I would wonder why people were singling me out. I didn’t think I was those things.

In high school, the bullying got worse. There was a new group of people to pick on me. They called me names, and used to slap me on the back of my head. What was their problem? I didn’t do anything to them, yet they wouldn’t leave me alone. That first year of high school was one of my worst. I was very depressed and I did think about suicide, never seriously though. I had God on my side.

I can only imagine how amplified things are with the internet, and cell phones now. Bad enough they talk bad about you in person, now they are chatting on Facebook, in chat rooms and on cell phones, via voice or text. Being perceived as different sucks in school. You are dealing with hormones wrecking havoc on your body and emotions — you are growing up, getting hair on certain places on your body, finding yourself having sexual thoughts and feelings, becoming an adult. Where do I fit in with this big world? It is a lot to handle. It is definitely overwhelming at times.

The second year in high school, things calmed down, and the bullying was over by my 3rd year.

Something happened recently that brought back a lot of bad feelings. We moved to a new apartment in the Valley. We are an open interracial gay couple. We have a rainbow flag in our window. We have a large deck area for our unit. We started to get stuff thrown on our patio from somewhere: kids toys, yogurt cups, tennis balls. Often it would land on our glass table with a big thud. My head immediately went to someone being after us because we were gay and/or interracial. We complained to the management and got no response from them. So we upped our complaining and told them we thought it was a hate crime. I had a long conversation about it with the management. The last item that landed on our deck that really set me off was a naked Barbie doll.

I had encountered negative people before when we were doing the Prop. 8 stuff, but never in my home. I really felt violated. Why were they picking on us? I deserved to feel safe in my home.

Well, I was way off base…. Property management found out that it was a kid on the 3rd floor that was doing it. When the Mom of the girl, found out that we thought it was a hate crime, she started to cry and apologized. I really felt horrible about it. How could my mind think the worst of people? But given what we grew up with, it was not surprising. My lover thought it was a kid from the beginning… but I took it all the wrong way and was convinced someone was out to get us.

I don’t know what the answer is to the bullying that is still going on in schools. All I know is that we need to teach our kids to treat others with kindness and respect, even if they are different from you.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. The second part will address the movie “Bully” and Mitt Romney also.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

The Darkness (Depression)

This week’s topic deals with suicide and depression. In the past month, Don Cornelius and Roman Ragazzi committed suicide. Sad in both cases.

I have been depressed — we all have. Those days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed or moving at all. Those days when you feel like the whole world is against you and that nobody cares about you. Thankfully it is never been that bad for me — if my day sucks, there is always tomorrow.Depression

I remember when there used to be those afterschool specials on TV… the ones that dealt with difficult topics like divorce or suicide even. I remember the suicide one. It is easy to say that is the answer to your problems. But the truth is, it affects many more people than just the person doing it.

Two of my coworkers have killed themselves in the 6 years I have worked there. One I barely knew, he did it over the New Year’s holiday. He seemed like a nice, quiet, good-looking guy… why did he kill himself? The other was a very outgoing, fun guy that everyone loved. He was the type who was the life of the party. He had a wife and 2 kids and yet he killed himself too.

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