May 21, 2016
I know I’ve said this before, but every now and then I run across something that makes me feel the need to say it again, and today was one of those days in multiple ways.
I know that Dan Savage has said and done some outrageous and problematic things. But “It Gets Better” really, really isn’t one of the worser things he has ever done.
When I was a kid, no one told me it would get better.
Almost everyone told me that it would only get worse. Parents. Teachers. Adults of every stripe continually told me that adulthood was just awful boring drudgery where I’d have to be better at pretending to be someone more socially acceptable than who I was if I was ever going to make it, that the time I was living in was the best time of my life and I should learn to appreciate it.
Our guest speaker for Senior Week in high school actually, in fact, told us that “It’s all downhill from here.”
I was badly bullied at school and at home and no one did anything. I hated that other people controlled my life. I didn’t know I was queer yet, but in so many other ways, a lot of people were making sure I knew that the way I was was Not Okay.
I was supposed to believe that that was as good as it was ever going to get for me. That was the best I should expect. It would not get better.
And those were vicious, ugly lies.
No, it isn’t enough just to say it and not do anything to make it better now, but when the alternative to not even saying it is that a lot of kids are actively being told that it does not get better and no one is contradicting that message in any way?
If you have a choice between telling a kid who’s unhappy or having a hard time that it will get better, or that it won’t? Tell them that it will.
Like, dear lord.