He sits alone in his room. In bitter anguish, he recalls the most recent exploits of his classmates, and he regrets the day he was born. The agonizing banter of their scorn resounds in his head; a mock parody for their entertainment! Finally, he curls into a near fetal position, in spite of his over-sized belly, and welcomes the night.
There is comfort gained from this disappearing act, and silently, he cries. His tears emanate a private manifestation of his sadness, and a reminder of his most solemn vow; never again would his classmates see him cry. Since he realized that crying incited a plethora of torment, he simply joined the laughter, which invited more hostility.
The day is over; and he prays that tomorrow will not come. His life, now veiled by despair, is no longer worth the trouble; being morphed from inconvenience to trepidation, horror, and an overwhelming dread that looms in the hallways, the locker-room and showers, and even on the bus ride home!
So, he’s fat! So what! He wondered why the kids at school were so compelled to remind him. Did they think he was BLIND? His struggle with obesity met several vigorous attempts to lose weight, but these efforts only fostered dashed hopes, because he wanted so badly to be accepted.
He would have been a great friend, given the chance, yet he was just the “fat kid.” No one was aware of his talents. For one, he could draw! He painstakingly drew with such detail that his canvases came alive, yet his art remained obscure and unnoticed. He sketched people. Children with bruises, mothers that frowned, and people with empty stares. His drawings offered solace by recognizing the plight of others, for he was bitterly familiar.
He also was a fierce collector of baseball cards. What began as a hobby had morphed into a collection that aspired appreciation across the internet. His online profile, a false reveal, worked to his advantage, for online…he was sharp and savvy! Here, he became a worthy contender, as his portfolio could attest.
His one trait of common knowledge was his love of food. He consumed food like an alcoholic consumes liquor, not realizing this compulsion paralleled band-aiding a slit throat. Eating became a subconscious attempt to deaden his pain; a pain so profound that he feared to ponder it.
His life had become despondent. A dismal fear, held dear, with such an entangled embrace that he no longer had the fortitude to endure it. With the decision made and the method researched, his only regret was awarding his classmates their ultimate trophy, the last laugh. Be so as it may, on the eve of his fifteenth birthday, he ended his life.
The heartaches of the wounded child of no regard are often unbearable, and it is the responsibility of every parent to teach children to be kind to others. Within diversity…be it race, creed, gender, and yes, obesity…is the opportunity to gain awareness through acceptance. Bullying has become so prevalent, and the effect of abusive words are such that the cause is lost by those who have forgotten that charity begins at home.
I marvel at the rhetoric pertaining to this crisis, even though the psychological effects of bullying are monumental, and suicidal ideation has become a notable trend among our youth. As a society, we must commit to re-establish lines that dare not be crossed on our school campuses, and in our communities.
States and school districts now have mandated policies and increased legislative practices that can prevent bullying, yet the bully prevails. Though old habits die hard, especially in the southern regions of the United States, but they do die…with applied pressure! Today, we have the tools at our disposal to ensure a safe learning environment for our children, tools that are deemed worthless when districts go unchallenged. If parents of bullied children must pursue a compensation claim against a school for negligence, so be it! Diligence and due process are critical, and necessary steps toward rescuing our children.