Please help Sadie Riggs story go viral

I read two articles on Facebook this weekend that I thought were both important and very indicative of the times we live in. The first went viral over a year ago. It’s written by a young woman who describes how tedious she finds the dating scene to be. Melisa Moeller explains in her piece why it’s not acceptable amongst her peers to simply be yourself, say what you mean, or let yourself appear anything more than ambivalent.

The second piece will almost certainly not go viral for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s an obituary. Sadie Riggs was a 15-year-old girl who took her own life days ago for reasons I relate to all too well. Her family summed up her experience by noting:

“Sadie had a tough life and until a recent incident at school she handled everything life served her. For a young lady so excited about going to the High School things sure went terribly wrong for her. For the bullies involved, please know you were effective in making her feel worthless.”

I’ve applauded families that told the truth about overdoses in the obituaries of their kids. This is the first time I’ve seen one identify bullying as a cause of death. That’s simultaneously incredible and terrible.

My brain exploded with a mash up of Shane Koyczan, Missio, and Eminem

Shane wrote a piece that’s gone viral multiple times over: “To this Day”, a spoken word piece about how bullying and child abuse have lifelong affects. It’s one of the most important things ever written period. If you’re anything like me, all you have to do is focus your thoughts and you can vividly recall what it was like to stand alone and vulnerable in front of a group of taunting children.

Never send your bullied kid to me for therapy. I’ll tell him to grab anything he or she can get their hands on, swing, and don’t stop swinging. Whatever it costs, it’ll be less than the shame of living with it long term. How about we compromise? Get them into martial arts so they don’t ever have to drink and drug or take their own life like me and mine and Sadie did.

At least get them into the drama club or a really good group therapy session. The sooner we connect with kindred spirits the better off we are. It’s too hard alone. In truth, it’s unbearable. The world cuts away at our soul and we cut away at our skin.

And do me a favor if you object to things like 13 Reasons – go sit with the Sadie’s of the world and show that you give a damn about us.

Missio is an up and coming music act with a very unpolitically correct song, “Middle Fingers.” While I love this tune, it’s a song about being lost and f’ed up and not fitting in. They’re throwing middle fingers at the world seemingly as an alternative to saying, “F me.” I don’t like the dichotomy but if you can only see those two options, better the former than the latter.

Finally, I heard Eminem satirically asking, ‘“What’s goin’ on in the world today?”

I think what’s going on is a battle between apathy and ambivalence, between destruction and desensitization. When it hurts to read the headlines, when the latest senseless mass shooting occurs, I think we’re at a point where for many of us it just hurts too much to care.

Maybe you have a choice about that. If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t stop if you wanted to. It seems to be the undue criticism that Millennials have come in for.

The soundtrack for my life has Macklemore on repeat. “Wednesday Morning” is the only thing that I can envision as an acceptable response. In a world that went mad long ago and seems well on its way to implosion, loving my people more fully and openly is what I stubbornly insist is the only viable option.

Love has to win. Every other option sucks.

Go find the Sadie Riggs in your family, community, school. Let’s show the kids that there are people who really care. No more hate. No more children dying. No. F’ing. More.

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.