A few weeks ago, the "It Gets Better" Project that I had the privilege to be involved in, released a book, with transcripts from the best "It Gets Better" videos and stories that were shared online. This was done by the creator of the project, Dan Savage. Dan and his partner Terry had a book signing at Barnes and Noble that I went to, and was able to meet them after, along with my fellow gay Orthodox Jews who shared there story in the video with me. I wanted to share this experience with you, because it was so beautiful and inspiring and is just a message that needs to be pushed.
It gets better is a project about helping those in trouble, inspiring those in who see no hope and supporting those who just want to be themselves. The project isn't about promising anyone that life is perfect and in fact, Dan himself admitted openly that the phrasing "it gets better" does not really represent what the project is all about. Many of the best videos included the following admission: does it get better? no. But do you get stronger? yes. THe project was not to say everything works out perfectly, because the last thing a person who is suffering can see is the light at the end of the tunnel. Life is never perfect, and things change and people change, and something that seems terrible at 15 is no longer as terrible at 18. Why? Not because the hurt itself is any less painful, but because an individual themselves becomes stronger.
Is my life great now that I'm open about my sexuality? No. Is everything easy because I'm out of the closet? No. But did the darkness and despair that I felt at 15 and 16 get better? Yes. Did the way I viewed myself and the way people around me viewed me change? Yes. I grew up, everyone grew up, and that made things around me feel better. Is there still plenty of bullying? Is there still plenty of rejection from my own community? Yes. But today, I am ten times more capable of facing it all then I was five, six, seven or eight years ago? Absolutely.
The project may be mistitled, but the messaged rings clear- "it" may not get better, but "you" get stronger.
The book can be found here - It Gets Better