I could say that I know how Brandy Vela felt. When she was bullied for her weight. When she was bullied for being “different.” When this beautiful girl, who you could look at and never understand why others picked on her, felt so desperate, so sad, so lost that she chose to kill herself.
I could say that I know how Brandy Vela felt. But I don’t. I thank God that I don’t. While I may have been picked on for my weight, while I have been called names and made to feel worthless, I know I was lucky to grow up in a world without social media. I may have felt out of place from time to time at school, but it didn’t follow me around day after day, hour after hour, seeking me out on Facebook and other places, tormenting me and seeping into my psyche. It didn’t make me question who I really was — was I really worth anything, was life even worth living?
I am heartbroken for this girl, for her friends and family. According to CNN, Brandy killed herself in front of them earlier this week. It saddens me deeply to know that there are girls, and boys, out there who are bullied so badly for their appearance that they want to die.
That they do die.
Our world is made up of different people — different races, sexualities, people with dark hair and light hair, big noses and thin lips and disabilities and missing limbs and there is not one thing wrong with any of us. We are just fine, acceptable, lovable, just as we are.
It is hard as a child or a teenager to steel yourself against the cruelty in this world. It’s fine for me to sit here at 37 years old and say: Fuck them. Fuck the people who make fun of other people. Fuck those kids who made Brandy feel so terrible about herself. Fuck anyone who makes anyone feel worthless or like they don’t belong.
But when you’re young, when you’re growing and learning and not fully formed as a person yet, words hurt. Actions hurt. It can feel debilitating and lonely.
I am determined to always shed a light on this kind of tragedy because it’s not just sad, it simply shouldn’t happen. This kind of loss should not exist. No one deserves to suffer the way she did, and her family and friends don’t deserve to suffer the way they are now.
My heart and love and prayers go out to Brandy’s loved ones. And to anyone out there who feels lonely or bullied or like they don’t belong — know that you do. Reach out to someone, anyone, for help, for a shoulder to cry on. There are people who will be there for you, who will love you. I promise you. We are all you. We understand, we care and we are here.