When I first approached writing this piece, I was focused on what happened to Amanda, and was feeling how devastating it must be to have people endlessly sharing bad messages and comments about you, especially at such a young age. That negativity seemed overwhelming. When talking to Carol Todd, and to the NAC Orchestra’s Christopher Deacon, I became aware of how transformational and empowering it would be for this young girl, Amanda, to take control and to tell her own story on this very same platform that people were using against her.
When I met Carol, she told me about all the places that she would be speaking, because people finally recognize the need to do something to stop cyber bullying. She told me about the kids who reach out to her and are looking for help, or who reach out to her to tell her that Amanda’s videos and her story have helped them; kids who, because of Amanda and Carol, found hope in their situation. I’m left with a feeling of profound joy in Amanda’s bravery, and Carol’s message.
Musically, the opening of the piece My Name is Amanda Todd draws first on overwhelming sorrow, which grows into a furtive, somewhat frenzied negative energy, like the uncontrolled proliferation of negative comments and images. I then use almost the same musical material (very similar small gestures, pitches and rhythms) and gradually modify it to create increasingly powerful, positive music.
Having my daughter remembered in a production produced by the National Arts Centre, alongside three notable Canadian women, is an honour in itself, and those of us who knew Amanda are so very proud of this.
Missing Amanda has played a huge part in my life and it was difficult for me to envision what the NAC wanted to create and present, but as time went on, the vision became clearer. Giving permission to use Amanda’s story in a venue of both visual and performing arts is a dream come true for Amanda’s Legacy.
My daughter evolved around the sights and sounds of both art and music. When I first met Donna Feore it was like meeting an old friend and getting reacquainted. Stories were shared and ideas crystallized. For the next year and half, we stayed in communication. Listening to the music with Donna and NORMAL (visual design studio) for the first time was very emotional for me. It evoked emotions of joy, anger, sadness, and then peace. Together, we sat in silence with emotional tears in our eyes. I have no doubt that my daughter will be portrayed as a beautiful snowflake, symbolic of her unique individualism and fragility.
I want to express my appreciation to those who believe that there was a message of HOPE within Amanda’s story, and to send a message of thanks to those who BELIEVE and CARE. The NAC team has worked to create a truer meaning of Amanda with her legacy — a spectacular representation of my snowflake princess Amanda in a production called Life Reflected.
Mother of Amanda Todd
Amanda Michelle Todd
November 27, 1996 – October 10, 2012
AKA Princess Snowflake
The urban dictionary describes a snowflake as a unique girl that no one else can duplicate because she is one of a kind. Amanda was a child full of sparkle and spirit that became a memory too soon. She filled her life with people, music and art. She loved animals and mostly, she was passionate about helping others. We can and have learned from Amanda and the stories about what happened to her in the short years of her life.
Her YouTube video has sparked discussions all over the world on topics related to bullying, cyberbullying, mental health and online safety. Amanda wanted her voice heard. She would have wanted everyone to know how much she hurt emotionally and how the same thing also hurt thousands of other children and youth each day. A close friend wrote these words: “As you go forward in the days and months ahead, consider carefully what and how much can be done. Amanda’s legacy should be one that teaches awareness and that our society will only succeed via tolerance, compassion, community and forgiveness.”
When you see a snowflake falling gently from the sky, think of Amanda, our Princess Snowflake.