“I Died Today” – Portrait of an American Teenager

Inside the hearts and minds of today’s youth are countless struggles that plague them, thanks to the connectivity of social media, 24 hours a day. Many are struggles that us, as adults, went through. Many are new and far more pervasive than we even want to imagine. These are the stories that many teens live through. These are the stories that many teens don’t.

I died today, Mom.

You asked me the other day if I tried to not be gay.

I tried, just for you, Mom, but I couldn’t.

It’s not who I am.

When the other boys at school figured it out, they didn’t look at me like you did, Mom, like you had failed.

They saw me as a victim, and treated me as one, too.

I left you a note before I did it, Mom, so you’d know that I loved you, but I couldn’t live with the pain anymore.

I died today, Mom, because no one, not even you, would accept me for who I am.

I died today, Dad.

You always told me I needed to man up.

Well, I did, Dad, just for you.

You told me that men do certain things, wear certain things, are certain things.

I tried to be a man, Dad, just like you wanted of me.

But…I couldn’t. I couldn’t be something I’m not.

When I told you, Dad, I knew you wouldn’t be happy.

When I told you, I knew you’d be upset, but I never expected what came next.

I died today, Dad, because you couldn’t bear to look at a daughter in your son’s body.

I died today, Dad, because you thought you could beat it out of me.

I know you didn’t mean to hit me so hard, Dad, but even at the end, I loved you.

I died today, Dad, because of you.

I died today, Mom.

You always told me, Mom, to go to the police if I was in trouble.

Well, I was in trouble, Mom.

We moved to this neighborhood because you thought it meant we were doing better.

We moved here because you said it made us better.

But those other kids, Mom, they said I didn’t belong here.

They didn’t like the color of my skin, and they hit me, Mom.

They were chasing me, so when I ran down the street to get away, I ran towards the police officer.

He wasn’t there to help, though, Mom.

He saw black teenager running at him and he was afraid.

His fear made him shoot, Mom, I know.

He wasn’t there to help me.

I died today, Mom, because no one was there to help me.

I died today, Dad.

You told me that if I dressed right and covered my body, I’d be safe.

You were wrong.

You told me that if I didn’t lead men on, I’d be fine.

You told me if I didn’t get drunk with strangers, I’d be OK.

But Dad, I wasn’t drunk. I was dressed just like you told me to.

That didn’t stop him, though. That didn’t stop your best friend from forcing himself on me.

I fought back, but he didn’t stop.

In the end, he did what he wanted, and stopped me from fighting.

I died today, Dad, because you thought rape only happened to a “certain kind of girl.”

I died today, Dad, because you refused to understand.

Every year in America, around 5000 teens die from suicide.

61% of rapes occur before victims are eighteen years old. 64% are committed by people the victim knows.

Every day, LGBTQ youth are bullied. They are often bullied by their own parents.

Stop the cycle today. Get informed. Get involved. Get it together.

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