“Whenever you go to such lengths to be eccentric, you are going to be ostracized,” she said. “You want acceptance, but you’re setting yourself up to not be accepted.”You know what that quote reads as to me? "Shut the hell up and start conforming."
The eccentrics in questions were members of a "wolf pack" at one of the local high schools who just committed suicide.
You have probably heard of the teen wolves before, if you were around the internet in May. KENS5's sweeps month video became a minor internet sensation. One of the kids who just killed himself, in fact, was spotlighted in KENS's video and article:
"You get friends. You get a place where you belong. You're pretty much accepted to where you are, who you are, what you are," said Deikitsen Wolfram Lupus, the unofficial leader of the pack at Brandeis High. He says he's got some wolf in him, howling sometimes to get out.
I cannot imagine what all went wrong in Deikitsin's life between May and September to lead him to kill himself.
Northside counselors say it's extreme expression. Dei says it's something deeper than violating the school's dress-code."I don't believe anyone is just human. Everyone's got something else mixed in with them. They just have to look inside themselves and find out what it is."Dei's got his own leash he wears. His mom has a leash on him to: Pam Manley keeps Dei tethered to family, his chores and his studies."As soon as he walks in the door, he is supposed to take out the fangs, lose the lenses and put his hair back," Manley said. "They're good kids. And it takes some courage to stand up and be who you want to be and be able to express yourself in this way."
If you look at the two news stories (or at much of what was written back in May), you will see a definite difference in tone. In the first article it's harmless self-expression. In the second, it's putting themselves at risk because they don't blend in enough. It's all fun and games 'til someone puts their eye out?
I had friends back in high school who looked pretty much like these kids, down to everything but the tails and weird contacts. Artistic kids, for the most part, and some of the smartest folks you'd ever want to meet. Nicest too, and a hell of a lot more tolerant of the normal kids than the normal kids were of them. (Which seems to be par for the course with small groups.)
But they didn't want the acceptance of the mundanes, as Erik was astute enough to figure out (I've seen pix of him from high school, by the way; he was a band geek and nothing stranger).
Once again I am left saying to myself "Really, what century do we live in? Why are we still allowing those who meet a very narrow definition of normal to ruin the lives of others?" At what point do we, as parents, say "Leave them alone. Different isn't bad. I told you that when you were five"?
Stupid shit like this is why I have friends with autistic children who are stressing over how their little ones are treated by others. 'Cause, you know, the Aspie kid isn't going to want to play with the "normal" kids in the "normal" way. It's hard to navigate that as a parent, and it is painfully obvious the bulk of parents are completely failing to teach their kids to just leave others be.
And that's a damn shame.