Today is my six-month BRCA-versary, which is what I had planned to write about today.

Instead, I have to write about this. Tyler Clementi was only eighteen; he was only a few years older than my brother.

For his sake, and for the sake of so many other young people who deal with this kind of treatment every day, watch this. Share it with teenagers and children in your life, take it to heart.

I was bullied as a teenager. Not for anything as serious as burgeoning sexuality, but I was called ugly. My body was judged unfavorably. My personality was ridiculed, and classmates would jump at the chance to tease me for the smallest of things; one day, my entire science class crowded around my desk to look at my “bald spot” – I wasn’t balding in the least, but my natural blonde highlights begin at the root, causing lighter patches of hair near my scalp.

I didn’t kill myself, although sometimes I sure as hell wished I didn’t exist. I got through it, as many people do, but it’s still something I carry with me to this day. One of my awkward quirks is that if I’m driving or walking and someone starts gesturing at me, or speaks to me seemingly randomly, I immediately go on the defensive and assume they’re making fun of me (or about to) when really they’re just asking for directions.

Anyway, I digress. My point is this: bullying sucks. It’s bad enough when it just “sucks” but for too many kids, it’s devastating. It’s life-ending. And it needs to stop, because who knows what kind of potential kids like Tyler Clementi or Megan Meier could have had?

People deserve the freedom to be who they are. Gay, straight, white, black, beautiful, smart, artistic, developmentally disabled, athletic, uncoordinated, whatever. Nothing is worth an eighteen-year-old’s death, but I hope that the nationwide coverage of the tragic loss of Tyler Clementi will make people think before they speak or act. I hope at least some good can come from this.

It’s just too, too sad, and far too infuriating.

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