Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Six years later. I still miss you, Nick.

"I love you."

That was the last text I ever got from him. I replied without thinking, just like I always did. I just hope I sent it quick enough that he actually saw it.

"I love you more!"

I will never know if he read it, or even if he knew that it was true. I will never get to ask him. Because on that day, six years ago, he took his own life.

Let's turn the hands of time back six years, shall we?

I was 16. I was an over-achieving, straight-A, nerd of a student. It was at this point in my high school career that I was determined to smear my 'goody-goody' reputation. So I started going to local shows where the "singers" screamed words I couldn't understand and the mosh pit grew every week. I died my hair black and began wearing clothes garnished with skulls and safety pins. While I still succeeded academically, I made a lot of unwise decisions, but that's another story all together.

I remember the first time I saw Nick. He was wearing a red shirt, jeans fashionably ripped at the knees, Converse shoes, and a plaid blazer. He literally hopped into the room with open arms as if to announce the arrival of a star. I immediately gravitated towards him. He wasn't like the other people at my school. He wasn't a redneck, he wasn't stuck up, and he wasn't fake. He was exactly who he was and was proud.

We almost instantly became best friends. We would stay up all night gossiping, talking about boys we thought were cute, and planning all the crazy things we were bound to do together in our lifetime.


I had no idea his lifetime would be so short.

One day, Nick and I were sent to the wood-shop at school to go get quotes for our school paper. Almost immediately when we opened the door we were surrounded by sweaty, disgusting guys.

"Hey look, it's f****t boy," one said.
"Uh oh, this qu**r wants to check out our wood! Everybody back up," yelled another.

"I wouldn't touch you if you were the last person on earth. Move out of the way, we have work to do," Nick said as he began to push through the crowd.

As he went forward, the boys migrated towards me.

"Hey b**ch. You know what hanging out with f****ts with get you? Slashed tires. How about we pop a hole in your back wheel here and watch you little f*g boy try and carry you back to class."

Nick immediately bolted over, grabbed the joystick to my electric wheelchair and jolted us both out of the door. As soon as we were in the hall, I burst into tears.

"Don't cry over those assholes. They are just morons. Come on, we are taking care of this now."

We went into class and I tried to stop crying. The whole thing was just really overwhelming.

"What happened down there, Jennifer," my teacher asked.

"Nothing, I ju-"

Nick stepped in front of me.

"No, it's not 'nothing.' The wood-shop guys were harassing us. They were threatening to cut Jennifer's back wheels."

"Nick. Stop. This is only going to cause more trouble."

"Jennifer, these boys have been doing this to me since I was a kid. It needs to be stopped."

I couldn't imagine how that would feel. As a kid, I never got picked on. Practically ever. I still can't fathom what it would be like to know that people hate you just because of how you were born.

Now bullying did not directly lead to Nick's suicide. However, I do believe that it played a role subconsciously. No one will ever truly know what made Nick want to leave us forever. But imagine waking up in the morning knowing that you will be made fun of. Knowing that being proud of who you are will bring more teasing and hatred upon you. With all of that built up over the years, something that seems small in the grand scheme of things may just be the last straw that leads to a permanent 'solution' to a temporary issue.

I urge you to THINK before you speak or act. Your words and actions DO have an impact on people. You do not know what internal or private conflicts anyone is dealing with. Don't be the final straw that leads to something as horrible as suicide.

Nick was a beautiful, intelligent, complex person. Everyone has something to offer the world. Don't be the person who stifles anyone else's reason for living.

23 comments:

  1. Funny how Christians raise such hateful kids.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal and powerful story, Jennifer.

    I take great pleasure in the near-weekly political and legal losses that the anti-gay forces in this country continually suffer. I'm sure you do, too.

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    1. Thank you!! And yes, I am glad there is finally a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel!!!

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  2. I'm so sorry about what you and Nick had to endure. I know it may sound trite but sometimes the only and best revenge is living well.

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  3. You are such a great storyteller. This really hit home for me, I needed to read this today. Thank you.

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  4. I didn't pick up that these people were specifically called Christians, though that would be out of the norm. It always confuses me that they judge gays yet order shrimp scampi at the Olive Garden, fucking Christians love the Olive Garden.

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  5. I don't usually read things like this but, i saw your husbands post on Reddit and, thoight oi owed to you to have a look. It is very sad that Nick took his life, i am sorry for your loss. I hope your story reached some of the kids that do the teasing in schools these days. In hopes that it opened their eyes to the hurt and damage they have or are causing people. Thank you Jenifer

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    1. Thank you so much. And thank you for reading. It really does mean a lot.

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  6. I also came here from Reddit, and as a queer woman I was especially moved by this post. Nick was very lucky to have a friend like you, and we are lucky that you are sharing your experiences. You are a compassionate person and an excellent writer.

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    1. Thank you so very much. You have no idea how much that means to me!

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  7. Really touching article, and very sorry for your loss. People often underestimate the power of words. You really are a great story teller, keep doing what you're doing Jennifer.

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  8. I found your blog through Reddit. This story was very touching. Keep writing, I love your work.

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  9. Came from reddit. I myself was bullied and almost died because of it. People suck but it's the good ones like you that make the world worth living. Continue doing that.

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    1. Thank you for reading. I know that there are a lot of people in the world that seem to just want to bring others down, but don't let them take away your spirit. If you ever need to vent, I'm here!

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  10. You are a great writer. I was very touched by your stories, especially this one. Keep it up!

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  11. This is beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and him. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope people that actually need to read that do. It's pretty powerful.

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    1. I thought I replied to this but it didn't save. Thank you so much. I hope it gets out there. I hope that the right person who needs to know they are not alone reads this and gets something from it. That would make this whole blog worth it, for sure.

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  12. so sorry. i can tell he was a wonderful person

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  13. Nick lives on in your memories and now ours too. Thank you for sharing his story.

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  14. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you and others are working toward making our world more compassionate.

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