Make it stop

I love this song by Rise Against. It’s a little uncomfortable for me to listen to 9the video even more so), and I hope I’m not the only one who has that reaction. They really manage to capture how it feels to be in that sort of situation, to feel like the world is against you, that no one is on your side, or if they are that they can’t help you (every teacher I ever had, I’m looking at you), and that there’s no escape. Because, when you’re in grade school, there really isn’t any way to escape. You’re required to be there–homeschooling or switching schools may or may not be options. And unlike college, when you’re at least around people who chose to be there, the only commonality you might have with the people in your high school is physical location.

As much as I love the It Gets Better project, I’ve always felt it’s a bit limited in scope. I mean, sure, homophobia is a problem that needs to be fought against, no arguments there. But the message really transcends the ‘why’ of the situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you’re gay or lesbian, because you’re disabled, because you look or sound different, or even if it’s just because you’re ‘weird’–high school is hell for a lot of kids. It creates a certain kind of solitude, one in which you don’t necessarily even want to find other people who are having similar issues. I mean, you’ve got enough strikes against you, why would you add being friends with hir to the list? Even as someone who needs, even craves, time alone, being forced into solitude is hard. And there’s no real answer, at least not when you’re the victim. The things that can make the situation better are outside of your control. Ignoring people doesn’t make them go away*, trying to fit in is difficult to impossible to pull off (if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be bullied in the first place), you can’t make other people be more tolerant if they don’t want to be, and graduation can’t really be rushed.

There is good news, though. It gets better. School is hell, but it’s a temporary hell. Being a teenager is in many ways the worst years of your life even before social dynamics get involved. Eventually you’ll be an adult, and you’ll have some control. You can choose where to live, where to go to school. Yeah, there’s responsibility, but it’s tied to the freedom that you gain. And that freedom is wonderful. Things won’t be hunky-dory, I’m not gonna lie, but it will be better. Never lose sight of that.

It. Gets. Better.

*I hate, hate, hate that advice. It means being a doormat, a punching bag. And lets face it, even your average adult has trouble with the level of emotional maturity and stability needed to really pull this one off. A ten-year-old? Forget it.

Song video and lyrics after the cut.

Woah, woah.

Bang bang go the coffin nails, like a breath exhaled,
Been gone forever.
It seems like just yesterday, how did I miss the red flags raised?
Think back to the days we laughed.
We braved these bitter storms together.
Brought to his knees he cried,
But on his feet he died.

What God would damn a heart?
And what God drove us apart?

What God could make it stop?
Let this end.
Eighteen years pushed to the ledge.
It’s come to this,
A weightless step.
On the way down singing,
Woah, woah.

Bang bang from the closet walls,
The schoolhouse halls,
The shotgun’s loaded.
Push me and I’ll push back.
I’m done asking, I demand.

From a nation under God,
I feel its love like a cattle prod.
Born free, but still they hate.
Born me, no I can’t change.

It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
So stay awake with me, let’s prove them wrong.

Make it stop.
Let this end,
Eighteen years pushed to the ledge.
It’s come to this,
A weightless step.
On the way down singing,
Woah, woah.

The cold river washed him away,
But how could we forget?
The gatherings saw candles, but not their tongues.

And too much blood has flown from the wrists,
Of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss.
Who will rise to stop the blood?

We’re calling for,
Insisting on, a different beat, yeah.
A brand new song.

Whoa, whoa [x3]
(Tyler Clementi, age 18.
Billy Lucas, age 15.
Harrison Chase Brown, age 15
Cody J. Barker, age 17
Seth Walsh, age 13.)

Make it stop,
Let this end.
This life chose me, I’m not lost in sin.
But proud I stand of who I am,
I plan to go on living.

Make it stop,
let this end,
all these years pushed to the ledge,
but proud I stand, of who I am,
I plan to go on living

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