Guest post by my daughter Emma Tobin, age 16
“Things change and friends leave. And life doesn't stop for anybody. I wanted to laugh. Or maybe get mad. Or maybe shrug at how strange everybody was, especially me. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can't. You have to do things. I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to be who I really am. And I'm going to figure out what that is”. ~ Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Everyone is taught to be selfless. It’s something that people value, maybe because if there’s someone who’ll give and give and never ask for anything in return, that might make their life easier. We lean on people a lot, we really do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s something infinitely right about that, but we have to remember that other people feel things too.
Do you remember when you were a kid and suddenly you were hit with the realisation that every other human being on this planet feels things as strongly as you do, everyone else’sthoughts are as wild and loud as yours? Everyone else has a smile they can use when they’re breaking apart inside, everyone else feels like screaming sometimes. Stephen Chbosky gives one of the most convincing and accurate accounts of growing up that I have ever read, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that everyone should read. Even if you’re a grown-up, it shows you that everyone, at one point, feels young and confused, and there’s nothing terrible about the fact that you might still feel like that.
There are so many people who just give and give, whose nature it is to bleed their heart out for other people, and if you’re not one of these people you cannot possibly imagine what it feels like when you’re bled dry and you realise that the people you’ve given everything to don’t give a damn. You cannot understand what it feels like to have someone you’ve bled for shut the door in your face and pretend that you never did anything good for them. I really hope you aren’t one of the people who leave, because it hurts, I can tell you, I know, when someone does that to you.
It makes me really angry when people do that, and it makes me really sad to have to pick up all of the pieces again. Please, don’t do that. Don’t be that person. You don’t want to be that person. Likewise, if you’re a giver, remember that you have a life to lead as well. Chances are you’re talented, beautiful, wonderful; you’re the kind of person people envy. You’re the idealist in a world of cynics.
There’s this wonderful quote that’s been floating around the internet, and it’s possibly the most accurate thing I have ever read, “The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do”.
People have a hard time finding a reason to stay alive today. I refuse to ignore this; I refuse to remain silent on this subject.People. Commit. Suicide. They do it all the time, and most of the time it’s nobody’s fault, but we can all help the people around us. We all have the power to give someone a reason to live. We all have the power to make a difference. Don’t think that there’s nothing you can do. There is no ‘type of person’ who will commit suicide; there are just people, and those with no hope. People are not insane if they commit suicide. They are just in a very, very bad place.
If someone is beautiful, you tell them, just not down a dark street in a creepy manner. If someone has a nice smile, you tell them. If you see something in another person that they should recognise, and realise, and feel good about, you tell them that it exists. Please don’t use people. Be a friend, don’twalk away, don’t hurt people. It is not okay to hurt people. You have no idea what you’re doing when you decide not to care anymore. You may be the only person in the wide world left to care.
This may be difficult to believe, but I care about you. I care. I will always care. If you need to talk, I will talk to you, I will try to help. I will not walk away from you. If you’re having a hard time, talk to somebody. There is always someone who will listen, and understand, and care.
So don’t give up. There is always a reason to live. You just have to find it.