I'm not Miss Up-To-Date most of the time, I admit it. I just mostly don't get to hear/see/read much of the news. I also kind of avoid it because ... well, because its just depressing. I know, not a good excuse at all. I'm trying to remedy that slowly. That aside, sometimes you can't not know the news. (if that makes sense) Sometimes, it comes at you from everywhere.
That said, I am big in believing in things that were meant to be. How does this connect? Let me tell you: Most everyone who has even been on Facebook has heard about the Tyler C story. In case you haven't, here is the just: a young gay man took his own life after being bullied about a webcam broadcast his roommate secretly made of Tyler and a male friend of his. This is the latest in a long line of items I have been seeing lately about gay teenage suicide.
Let me be clear: I don't agree with suicide, I think it is never the right answer, and sometimes I think it is a cowardly way out. But that being said, I have almost nothing but sympathy for those who decide to commit suicide. I can't imagine being that hurt, scared, ashamed, sick, or whatever they feel. Maybe if I felt what they were feeling I would want to do the same thing. But, now, I just can't imagine ever doing that to myself or to the people I love.
Sorry, sidetracked there. Recently, I have been seeing a lot about teenage bullying and its effects. It has mostly been in the news because of the whole gay issue, but I'm looking at the broader picture here, and a lot of things I have been reading, watching, seeing recently have been very closely tied to this subject. It's terrible, and it makes me a little sick.
But I also think it is inspiring. That seems like a terrible thing to say, so let me explain it: for those that don't know, I am working with BSU's student theatre group, Theatre Unlimited, on a show called 'DoG SeeS GoD' which is an unauthorized parody about the Peanuts gang 10 years after the comic strip ended. The group is in high school, and they really didn't turn out the way you would have hoped. It's hilarious, but it deals with some very serious issues. Including bullying and gay suicide.
I had a hard time with the script at first, I didn't like it a lot, but I knew there was potential there. It's a really modern comedy, and most of the time, I don't like what we call funny nowadays. I read the script straight, and then, it dawned on me that this is a satire of our times using familiar characters to make a point. The more I looked at it that way, the more I saw the serious side of the script, and what I thought it was saying. But I was still worried. Would anyone get this? Do kids actually act like this to each other? I grew up in a very sheltered high school, so I didn't see a lot of bullying. Maybe what I saw as the thread to this show, was just in my head, and wouldn't translate. Still, I decided to run with my ideas, and hope others would understand.
Then I saw an article posted on Facebook about a high school in the suburbs of the Twin Cities that had, I think, 6 student suicides in the last year, and half of them were related to gay issues. THIS is why we had to do this show. After that article, I began to see so much about bullying in schools. In tv shows, in movies I watched, in the news, and then the Tyler C story came out. National attention is being brought to this issue.
Now I feel like I am in the right place at the right time, doing the right show. It's almost as if it was meant to be. I have no doubt now that we were meant to do this show, with our message. I'm not much of an activist, and I don't have a lot of talent and power, but what I do have is theatre. What I can do is theatre. Maybe that doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I know that if a single person takes what we do onstage to heart and learns to be a better person, to fight against bullying, to be a friend to the friendless, to help someone in need, to prevent another suicide, than it will be worth it.
Maybe in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty petty and self-centered. But I feel really good about this show now, and I'm going to make sure that we do the best we can. It's not just about bullying though - it's about this generation. The Generation of Desensitization (thank you KD Howells for that brilliant thought). We're so numb to things these days. We don't seem to feel as much, but we are constantly searching for it, for connection, for someone to care, for something to feel strongly. That's the thrill of getting high and living dangerously. You feel those things. But then, there is a flip side. Because we don't feel that much, we don't think about our actions effecting others, and sometimes, effecting ourselves. Sometimes, I think because they're not used to strong feelings, that they don't know what to do with them when they happen. They don't know how to deal. This leads to a lot of acting out (like drinking and drugs to kill the feeling or to enhance it) and sadly, sometimes, suicide.
I hope I am doing the right thing. And I hope feeling this way isn't wrong. I just have to do something, and I think this is what I am meant to do.