At least once in life, if not more, the sensation of being at the bottom of the ocean, desperately struggling to get to the top, and realizing there is no help—not even a good friend to pull you up from the abyss—prevails. But drowning is not the only problem, you have also been left out of the loop by your peers, burnt by a good friend, and you have come to realize the person you care for just didn’t care enough for you. This sounds like a pretty sad state, especially for a fourteen year old.
Yet, there are many teenagers struggling with these issues daily. It is no wonder that song lyrics get stuck in these emotions re-enforcing the notion that there is no escaping the black parade. Adding to this dark world, the bully is standing beside the devil and taunts the life out of you. You haven’t been taught how to dodge the bullets, but you can sing and play guitar. And even though you are only fourteen, you write a song that encourages young people to speak up and speak out while instilling an uplifting message of triumph.
Amelia Scalies has done just that with her song “Don’t Let Them Win”, which can very well become an anthem for children impacted by bullying. It has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of school-age children are involved in bullying incidents. A large number of them stay home from school rather than face their perpetrators. Many have done the unthinkable—taken their own lives as a respite from the habitual psychological and/or physical pain of bullying.
One might say, “Hey, mockery is par for the course of growing up and a way to prepare for the grown-up world”. But bullying doesn’t stop after teen hood; it just gets more sophisticated. No matter how old you are, words are bullets. And learning how to protect the self from the bullets can become daunting. Perhaps if those sad souls who hung themselves in closets or jumped off a bridge had heard Amelia’s song, they might have found the strength to not let the bully win.
Yes, teenagers are hard-wired to view life in extremes. And Amelia’s debut album I Should’ve Known, which ranges from contemporary country to alternative rock, is filled with the conundrum of a fourteen year old. Young people will always be welcomed to march in the black parade. It would help if they had an option to march to a different drum and sing out: Because you’re gonna stand out, gonna scream and shout / Gonna show them all what you’re all about / Don’t let them win… don’t let them win.