I am closing my Facebook account. Been tinkering with the idea for a while now but the day came and there’s no debate in my mind. A few days ago a 15-year-old girl committed suicide after being bullied on Facebook and at school. I was shaken by this incident and saddened in a way that I did not expect.
Perhaps because I have my two beautiful boys and they are part of this world, and I want them to be both kind and able to stand up for themselves. Perhaps it is because I’ve been lonely at times and in places dark enough to know how scary they look, especially from up close. They are cold. It matters less or at all why I was shaken.
Amanda Todd added a storm to my world. I watched her voiceless video and cried. She made me rethink so many things with her mute showing of the cards that told her story. I thought of how she put them together, of how she tried to say she’s lonely and hurting. I looked at her hands and then I looked at my own. We can do so much harm with them. We can hurt, others and ourselves, and at the same time, we can help, and soothe and write things that could make someone’s world better.
The Facebook thing. She was part of a network of “friends.” How then? It’s so backwards. It would choke me to know that I am still there. Why, you say, that’s an emotional response to a fact of life. A sad fact, very sad, but not my fault, you’ll say. It’s the fault of a circle of young people who didn’t know any better. Logical indeed but life is never logical. Life is. Or isn’t. Just like that. We make choices and live with them. Live with the consequences. And for how long can one go with “he/she/they didn’t know any better?”
It’s good to take time to reflect. I’ll miss the occasional chuckle brought by one of my cousin’s funny cartoon finds, but he promised he’ll save them for me. I will miss my friends’ beautiful photos but I will keep my eyes open to the beauty around me. And I will hope that I never overlook anything that’s worth it.
If nothing else, it will be a reminder, to myself and others, that words can hurt. They can push people in corners dark and cold and they might not be able to fight their way out. It will be a reminder that we are on borrowed time after all and no one should be taken for granted. A reminder to teach my boys to never judge and to be kind. Kind to not strike unless they have to defend themselves and there is no other way. A reminder that words can kill. In many ways.