We Started At Zero

In the past month or so, more than 4 youths in America killed themselves because they were bullied at school for being gay.

This is Ellen Degeneres’ message regarding the matter. I’ll let you watch this first.

When I heard that the youngest of the boys were 13, I felt that stabbing pain of heartbreak – 13!

The oldest of the boys were younger than me.

When I read the news article, I actually sat there, shocked, for a few solid minutes. I could only stare at the faces of the boys, smiling back at me. I tried looking for any sadness in their eyes, and shadow in the curve of their smiles, and I couldn’t see any. These boys who, when the shutter clicked, had so much happiness, had been pushed to end their own lives to escape from the teasing. And for what? For being exactly who they are, and liking people that they naturally are attracted to.

When I was 13, I was in my first year of high school. My worst problem was that my closest friends in primary school all went to different high schools from me – I had to make new friends. And I did make new friends.

The THOUGHT of killing myself – or even HURTING myself – because I’m upset, didn’t even occur to me at that age.

Being different to other people is hard, but sometimes it’s easy to change it, even if it makes you a bit upset. The skill of fitting in is crucial in the early years of teenage-hood, I won’t even sugar coat it, I did it, you did it, I know that everyone did it at times. Maybe you’ll even realize that changing yourself a little to fit in actually pushed you onto a path you feel better with – or led you to that path, whatever. I know that I really wanted to make friends with Dani, so when she recommended music, I listened to them (oh, Dani, don’t see any less of me). It was a good thing that I did that, because I ended up loving the music in my own right.

However, there are things you just can’t change. You can try to deny it, but there is no way you can change it. Things like being attracted to people who are the same sex.

So, there you are, being very different to people around you, and you can’t change it. You’re not at the age where saying “fuck it, I am who I am” does anything. At these times, having at least someone on your side is crucial. The sad part is, and I know what this feels like, with things like being gay or bi, you actually feel like there is no one who would really be on your side. Even your closest friend might turn their back on you in your imagination of how events might go.

Even if you are brave enough to tell someone, then it becomes that THING where it needs to be kept secret, because you just KNOW there is gonna be an asshat out there who would make your life a living hell if they found out.

For these boys, the asshats found out.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time I made a direct reference to it here, but yeah, I am bi. I know quite a few of you will probably already know this, or guessed it by implication, but this time it’s written down here. (By the way, if you know me or my parents personally, can you please not tell them? Both of them are rather homophobic and I really am not ready to tell them yet. Don’t be that asshat and screw my life up.)

I am incredibly lucky. From the first person that I had the courage to tell, and all the subsequent people after that, all of them have been fine with it. I wouldn’t say that they’ve all embraced it with open arms, but I haven’t lost any friends over it. I won’t kid myself – there are very likely people who have sad bad things about me behind my back, and I’ve had a few say un-nice things to my face, but I have enough love from all my friends to help me pass that. And that’s why I say I am incredibly lucky. I would be count myself blessed if my parents could accept it too, but I’m not looking for miracles ha.

I honestly feel the utmost sympathy for anyone who is suffering because they don’t feel that luck and love that they need. I would be willing to talk to anyone who needs a pair of ears to receive their problems. But I wish I didn’t have to say that – I wish that kids don’t need a complete stranger’s support to be okay everyday, that if they need someone to help them, they can do what I get to do, and call up a friend to unload onto them.

It’s just plain wrong that these boys felt like they didn’t have a single one of these friends to talk to.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with them, so why were they made to feel like they had to end their lives?

May their souls rest in peace in, if they so believed, heaven. Yes, because even if I am not religious, I don’t think that an all-loving God would bar a 13 year old boy from having eternal peace.

If you’re feeling upset about something, please tell someone. People have a habit of surprising you in the amount they can care.

Alex.

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I Take My Last Chance To Burn A Bridge Or Two

[I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) – Fall Out Boy]

I came across this article while ‘stalking’ the Tumblr of a friend of a mutual friend’s.(Yeah I am admitting to being a bit creepy. But due credit is given.)

Australian ‘angel’ saves lives at suicide spot

The story of the Golden Gate Bridge jumper, the one who didn’t survive, was one that I had actually already mentioned on this very blog, in a password protected post. This musing is not a new one, but I think I will revisit a few points nonetheless.

When I see someone crying, one of three things happen:

1. This person is a friend, to which I will probably stop and ask ‘what’s wrong’.

2. This person is not a friend, to which I will probably keep walking, because I know that I don’t want a not-friend (in the sense that the needle gauging our feelings towards each other is not neutral, but tipping towards dislike) to see me cry.

3. This person is a complete stranger, and they are completely alone. This is when I don’t know what to do.

The man in the article, Ritchie, he sees complete strangers in the act of ending their own lives, and he approaches them to talk to them. He doesn’t care what kind of person they are, he just does it. And he sometimes manages to talk people away from the edge.

All these things are amazing skills. All these things really do take someone special.

Because, if I were in his situation – living across the road from a popular suicide spot – I would probably move away. There is no way I can stay in a place where, if I look out, I see the last standing spot of many many lives.

And even if I did stay, I wouldn’t have the guts to try to stop anyone killing themselves. If I don’t do anything, then their death is their own doing. If I stepped out and still they jumped, even if the law didn’t see me as responsible, in my heart I would feel that failure. Even if there was no way to save the person, I would be plagued with ‘what if I looked up sooner, or if I ran faster, or if I just said the right thing?’

And that’s the other point where I admire Ritchie; he says the right things. He doesn’t always say the right thing, but he does and that’s what impressive. What do you say to a person in such an emotional place that they would want to take their own lives? I don’t know what they’re going through, not really. I don’t have a clue what they’ve experienced in their lives. I haven’t seen or experienced half of what is considered enough in this life to be worthy of any wisdom imparting. Ritchie says that he listens, but he doesn’t counsel. Can I really do that? It’s all so easy to say “you should…” but it’s nearly impossible to say “I’ll let you go ahead and do what you are doing” especially to a stranger. A friend, I know; I know their past, I know their thought patterns…a stranger?

Even if we’re not talking about something so drastic such as talking someone out of a suicide, then let’s just talk about the smiling part. Like I said, if I see a friend crying, I will go to comfort them, most likely. But if I see a stranger crying, would I dare? Who am I to try to comfort anyone, whose troubles probably exceed my age? What if they’re emotionally unstable, and violent? (selfishness is intrinsic, sadly.) But like the note from the jumper said, ‘if just one person smiles at me, I won’t jump’.

It’s not so hard to just smile at someone, is it? You don’t have to talk to them, you don’t have to go near them, hell, you never have to see them again. But smiling is a personal action; it opens ourselves to the other person. It’s lowering the social shield of nonchalance, and exposing the soft flesh of humanity. If we smile at someone and they so much as scowl at us, then it’s like a stab against our esteem. We think ‘what’s the point of smiling at someone who doesn’t appreciate it?’

What’s the point? Because what if this person just so happened to be waiting for your smile to save their life? You may not know it, you may never know it, and you don’t get that gratitude, so you might not see the point in it, but this person’s family or friends might.

My ending thoughts are these: I won’t tell you to go start smiling at everyone, and I definitely won’t tell you to try to talk someone out of killing themselves if they look like they’re unstable and have a weapon on them.

But if you just so happened to come across someone standing on the edge of a building, then please say something. Anything. What have you got to lose? A few wasted minutes at the most, and an unpleasant knowledge that sometimes trying isn’t enough. What have they got to lose? Well, that’s pretty obvious.

If you see a person looking a bit down, then give them a smile, or say ‘are you okay?’ I read on PostSecret all the time about the kindness of a stranger saving someone. You can be that kind stranger.

Alex.

Do You Like My Stupid Hair?

[First Date – Blink 182]

Well, you may have noticed that I have yet again, again, again, again, I lost count, again, changed the theme of my blog. But this time I neglected to get one with a header image. In fact, I’m thinking (and pretty much am doing) of getting a Tumblr, so I can be more arty farty and whatnot, and post pictures up there. Well it was either Tumblr or Blogspot. Actually seeing as I haven’t applied for a new one yet, someone tell me what they think I should do.

There are cons and pros of each, of course. The con of getting a Blogspot would be spending hours and hours trying to make it look good, like Katherine did for her blog, and in the end you can’t comment. Boo. The pro is that it’s not Tumblr, and Tumblr confuses the crap out of me, what with reposting and all that junky stuff.

The pros of Tumblr is that 1) it would be easier to keep track of Meghan and Mai’s stuff, and 2) from what I did manage to gather it is easier to post different types of stuff, like quotes, texts, photos etc. The con of it is again, it’s Tumblr, and Tumblr confuses the crap out of me.

Either way, I’m still going to maintain my WordPress. I’ll be nuts not to. WordPress is the best one for massive chunks of writing like I do, and I have so many memories here anyway, I won’t abandon it. I will somehow find a way to link to my Tumblr/Blogspot when/if I get it.

Also, I am having a dilemma in choosing a suitable URL for my new site. Defluffe is SO 2008. I’m stuck with it now, here, but fresh start to a new blog.

Finally, I changed my Twitter account to ileapforyou. It’s PROBABLY not the best name, but I got annoyed thinking of names. Someone tell me off and suggest a new one.

Alright, take care, everyone, and keep the comments coming in for the many suggestions I know you have.

Alex.

A Wee Bit Of Help

I got a new computer today, hurrah!

That of course meant I had to re-install all the programs, not a problem really I didn’t have too many tricky ones, but then came this:

I installed Windows Live Messenger, no worries.

I tried to install Messenger Plus! Live…

Nothing.

I got Nug to send over the .exe file…

Nothing.

AVG Antivirus is so nicely not letting me install Plus!.

So, if anyone out there reading this knows how to help me, please by all means comment!

Thanks.

Alex.

P.S. I don’t know what other information to include so basically ask away.

What’s left?

That was a pun. “What’s left” was my insanely punny way of saying “what’s wrong?”

I won’t be able to reproduce the arguments exactly, or at all, really. And I hope Bee’s okay with my posting of it here.

On the train ride home today, with Fel and Bee, Bee started a discussion about the Saudi Arabians stoning women to death for a certain reason within their society. I think it was as a sort of punishment for committing a crime but I really can’t remember.

Bee put to us that we really shouldn’t (or rather, not “shouldn’t” but that it doesn’t really achieve anything if we) decide and see whether it is “right” or “wrong” for them to do this. Their society and culture does not view it as “wrong” and we only see it as such because we were brought up to see it that way.

My basic argument had been that it is wrong and we can say that it is wrong even without understanding fully their culture because every human has a intrinsic right to live, and to take away that right (or the “arbitrary deprivation of their lives”) is intrinsically wrong.

Bee countered (along with Fel) that it is not actually our “right” to live. “Rights” wereย  a convention set up by society. Sure, we have the “will” to live, but in certain situations that will to live does not amount to anything significant.

(This, by the way, is a horrendously abridged version of the debate we had, and in the wrong chronological order as well.)

Thus, by convention, we believe that the stoning of these women are “wrong”. Are they actually “wrong”? And what is “wrong”? By saying that such acts are wrong, it does not do anything to help or stop it from happening, and really “it’s just them complaining” (in the slightly paraphrased words of Bianca herself).

I then put to her that, “Yes, it is just complaining. But by complaining you are at least giving that slight possibility of something BEING done, whereas if you don’t complain nothing will be done and that’s that. It’s like a kid complaining to his mom about being hit by his brother. Complaining about it MIGHT get the mom to tell the brother off, or the brother to stop, but not complaining about it will just make him keep going, or make the situation worse.”

That stopped Bianca for while, but we’d also gone on to another topic.

Are humans intrinsically evil?

I’d put that, yes, humans are intrinsically evil. Take for example the Stanford Experiment. When given the power and the authority, all humans will inevitably start relishing in the power, and abusing it and whomever their power grants them command over.

Fel had argued that while humans may have evil parts in them, intrinsically, it is also true that there are purely good parts in everyone. Absolutely everyone. Bianca agreed, saying that even Hitler had good parts in him, because despite what his actions really were, to him they were the “right thing” (and here is that term again) and his acting upon these beliefs show he is a good person (was that your point, Bianca?)

The discussion then petered out at that point. No one “won” per se but I think Bianca had the slight upper hand in the end, regarding the Saudi Arabian argument.

What is it that you believe? Were those actions wrong? Were those actions justified by the cultural differences? Is society to blame? Is there actually no way of determining whether those actions are right because, in the end, there is no such thing as “right”?

Alex.

P.S. I’m not going to be patronizing, just helpful. If by chance anyone who read this wasn’t sure what “intrinsically” actually means:

Princeton: belonging to a thing by its very nature; “form was treated as something intrinsic, as the very essence of the thing”- John Dewey

So sort of like saying “water is intrinsically wet”. Sort of.

Peeling

I got sunburnt on my nose (well, I’d’ve gotten sunburnt all over my face but my hair, once again, protected a good portion of the left side of my face) and it’s peeling. Does anyone have any natural/organic solutions/hints/suggestions to help cure the peeling?

I ask for natural solutions because I am allergic to nearly everything under the sun (oh har), skin-wise, on my face. The moisturizer I use doesn’t smell like anything. I hardly even use sunscreen (oh hey).

So I’m putting it out there, beauty tips for me! What should I do? What is your remedy?

De Fluffe, Out (apparently in the sun for too long)