As the rate of bullying continues to alarmingly increase, we often turn our heads away from the problem, thinking that it is just a phase children have to go through and get over with. But for then 14-year-old Ryan Wiggins, it’s a horror he had to face every day, and he was not sure if it would ever end.
Ryan is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that causes one to have difficulty interacting with people. He is the subject of a 3-minute video called Tomorrow, which shows the psychological toll bullying has on a young child. The video is heart-wrenching and emotional and sheds light to the struggle the bullied boy goes through each day.
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“Will I ever know what it’s like to get out of bed without feeling reluctant or stand on my own two feet without falling or stumbling? Indeed, not today. Maybe tomorrow,” Ryan narrates. The black-and-white film was shot with a selfie stick and an HD camera. It’s short but thought-provoking, following Wiggins from the time he woke up to the time he went back to bed from school. What seemed to be a normal routine to many was an everyday struggle for him.
The film was posted to raise awareness on the subject for National Anti-Bullying Week.
The film showed that even when Wiggins reached home, his demons continued to chase him. He received texts and incriminating messages to kill himself. He was called names and mercilessly bullied.
“From as early as I can remember, other children seemed to want to have a dig at me. I was constantly teased at primary school, with people calling me names like ‘nerdy’ and ‘gay’,” Wiggins recalled.
He also had to put up with the physical abuse when he went to school. Children pushed him around and threatened to beat him up. They did this because he was different, but Wiggins never let it get the best of him, even at times when it was too much to take.
He can be seen taking medication and staring blankly at his reflection, clearly unhappy at the boy he saw looking back at him.
His mother, Jo, had to move him from school to school, but even then the bullying continued to follow him. Now that he’s in college studying photography, Wiggins says that it has since eased up.
But what Wiggins lacks in social interaction he makes up for in talent and heart. His family, including a 4-year-old little sister named Lucy cheered him on as he performed Adele’s “Someone Like You” for Autism’s Got Talent.
Anna Kennedy, the organizer of the said event, helps with making the film Tomorrow happen. She helps raise awareness for autism and Asperger’s, appointing Wiggins to advocate on the cause.
Wiggins wants to help other people in their fight to overcome the issues that come with autism especially bullying. He hopes to be an inspiration to them and show the world that at the end of the day, happiness will always be right around the corner. Wiggins is proud of himself for performing in the event too. “It was an amazing experience,” he said. “I felt really confident, even in front of all those people.”
While he may sound and look like a normal teenager, Wiggins is a prominent voice that will always be heard. He continued to advocate about the issue by taking the stage yet again early this year for Autism’s Got Talent. But instead of showcasing his talent, he gave a speech about the video saying, “I wanted to make a film that shows people just how helpless and isolated you actually feel when people say and do horrible stuff to you over and over again.”
He emphasized the need for attention on bullying and encouraged other children to come forward if they are bullied. He also urged them that keeping silent would not do them any good.