When I was in 7th grade, I had a folder that I kept full of things like articles detailing the tragedies of teen suicide and pages of statistics about depression, cutting, and suicide. Ironically, I really had compassion for teens who may be struggling with the searing thoughts I was being plagued with, and I didn’t want them to feel that there was no way out (although I usually felt that there was no way out). I was infatuated with these things, maybe because the contents of this folder told me that I wasn’t alone; there were many other people who felt the same way I did. And the people in the articles I kept didn’t have secrets anymore. Someone found them in their secret pain one way or another, and whether they lived or died, they were freed of their secrets.
We did speeches in my English class that year, and I signed up to talk about teen suicide. After all, I figured, I already had half of the research I would need tucked away in my worn blue folder. It was a topic that I truly felt needed to be addressed, because I knew there might be others in my class who needed to know that they weren’t alone in their confusing and painful feelings. My teacher, however, told me that I couldn’t do that topic because it was too dark and too heavy for such an audience. I wanted to look at her and ask her why she didn’t realize how relevant and important my topic was; maybe there was a kid in the back corner who was contemplating suicide that very day! But I didn’t. I ended up doing my speech about recycling. I couldn’t shake the memory of my 7th grade English teacher reprimanding me for wanting to discuss teen suicide, possibly one of the most important and relevant topics that could be discussed in the entire school. Some people chose to be blind to what’s right in front of them. Some think that if they pretend something isn’t so, then it really isn’t. She had no idea.
The reason I support things like TWLOHA so much is that most people, like my 7th grade english teacher have no idea what goes in the minds of our youths. Even the people who seem the happiest could be living a private life filled with excruciating pain. Honesty truly is the best policy. If we choose to live a life of honesty and transparency, maybe it will inspire others to be honest and open about their pain, hopes, and fears. Transparency is never easy, and it’s against human nature. But each one of us needs rescuing. And we can’t be rescued if we live secret lives.
Love is the movement that moves us all.