Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hurting Teenager

A young life is lost.

I thought about how lonely she must have felt as she sat on the window ledge, thinking about the nasty things said to/about her.

I imagine her tears streaming down her cheeks as she replayed the nasty scenes in her mind.

How helpless and hopeless she must have felt.

I asked Coco why couldn't a teenager ask for help.

She could talk to her parents, her teachers or school counsellor.

Why did she choose to battle all these alone?

Coco replied that perhaps her parents did know, but didn't think that it could be that bad.

Telling teachers wouldn't help, because the haters would hate her even more.

Why should she care? Oh, teenagers care about their haters.

Then at most transfer out of the school.

Coco said,"Transferring out of school is a humiliation. And it would mean you have lost."

But isn't committing suicide a declaration of losing too? Isn't that worse? You have lost indeed.

Coco: Well, at least you are not there to hear that you have lost.

Here I am, worrying about how badly Coco has fared in her studies.

There a diligent and intelligent girl was, struggling with self-esteem and the desire to be liked by her friends, on a daily basis.

And she caved in.

I feel so sorry that I didn't know about it. I feel so sorry that she was so near, yet so far, that I could have brushed shoulders with her but never knew what a girl like that was going through.

I know it wasn't my fault. How could I have known anything about her? But I keep thinking about the young life that is lost. What could have pushed her down that window? How long had she been putting up with the struggles? How lonely she must have felt to drive her to take the final step.

When I was 14, I thought about committing suicide A LOT. I didn't do well in my studies. I wasn't the most popular girl in school. A schoolmate had openly humiliated me by commenting on my looks, and everyone present laughed. 25 years later, I still remember the deep hurt I felt that fateful morning. Coupled with other issues, I felt that all was hopeless. To ease the pain I felt within, I created pain on the outside. It is hard for someone who doesn't do the same thing to understand, but inflicting pain on myself did help, somewhat. The scars remain till today to remind me of the intense pain I felt at my lowest during my teenage years. The desire to be accepted is often very strong during the formative years. Without which, a teenager feels utterly dejected.

Bullying is very powerful. It makes one hate oneself when it isn't one's fault. It could change our lives for the worse. Very much worse.

Nothing I say will bring the girl back to life. No amount of thinking will get her back. But I still think about it.

I think about the sorrow and pain felt by her parents, especially her mother, who could still be reproaching herself for not knowing the gravity of the situation or what her daughter was going through, who could be feeling devastatingly guilty for not helping her own child out of the hell she was in.

I wish no parent would ever go through this.

And I wish every child, every teenager would know that although it may look dark all around and situation seems hopeless, one day you will leave this place and go to a better place. Not in death, but in life. I wish they knew they are needed. Their parents need them. And they don't know. Teenagers often have this wretched sense of self-worth. Their world is a lot more complicated than children's but they don't measure up to the adults. Their days seem forever and never-ending. They can't see the end of the road. But the road will end one day, and only those who press on will see the glorious light at the end of the sinister tunnel.

To: the hurting teenager,

I wish you enough courage to walk the path you set out to walk on no matter what your critics say. Haters will always be haters. They have made the choice to hate you. You can't make them like you. So don't even try. What is life without some haters?

I wish you enough kindness to love yourself well.

I wish you enough wisdom to talk about your problems constantly with at least one trusted adult.

I wish you enough contentment to focus on the blessings of a healthy body and sound mind instead of negative and destructive comments and remarks.

I wish you enough discernment to distinguish friends from enemies. I wish you enough grace to acknowledge that not everybody will be your friends and walk away from people who do not wish to be your friend.

I wish you enough patience to wait for time to pass, and for yourself to grow up in a few years' time. When you look back 5 years later, the nightmare would have been, at best, a test and trial that had helped you to find yourself; at worst, something that remains a nightmare as part of your formative years. But you will not miss it and you will be glad you had walked on and not caved in.

You really will. I am able to tell you this because I didn't cave in. And I am glad I didn't.

And I am not strong.

You don't have to be strong to do that.

Just live on.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Unsound Advice

When I see or hear people dishing out THE advice, "Let him/her fail to teach her a lesson." the first thing that comes to my mind is: let yours fail first.

Most of these people are singles, of course.

They tell you how they will surely allow their daughter or son fail their exam to 'wake them up from their idea'.

And those who are parents themselves,  surprisingly, give such advice. And surprise surprise, they never allow their own children to fail any exam, primarily because their daughter or son never exasperates them to that extent. But yours does. It reflects bad parenting. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and what else can be more drastic than getting your child to fail?

They don't stop to think about the consequences of failing an exam for a child.

At best, failing an exam could, might really wake the child up, and perhaps the child would shine academically for ever and ever.

But how many times does that happen?

There are more failure stories about children failing exams. For one success story, I have twenty failure stories to counter the effectiveness of such a tactic. As it is, I haven't heard of a success story from failing an exam, but I have seen many failure stories and broken dreams from doing badly in exams.

At worst, these children don't get up from then on. The belief that they are stupid and doomed to failure is affirmed through the failed exam.

By now it should be clear as day that I am against 'let him/her fail the exam' advice.

It is a lousy advice. Period.

So stop asking people to let their children fail an exam. The advisor himself or herself reflects the very essence of bad parenting.