Finding our way in this marvelous world seems straight forward enough.
Yet somehow, at the cross-section of maturation and exploration, things become complicated and messy. The tasks of growing up, finding ourselves, defining our identities—tasks, mind you, we have no choice but to participate in—carry the unbearable weight of responsibility and commitment. Not to some boss or landlord, but a responsibility and commitment to ourselves.
To grow up, we must learn about and care for our own needs in spite of an often cruel and unforgiving world. This is a world filled with inexplicable prejudice and hate. This is a world filled with frightful odds for many youth, through no fault of their own.
In the face of adversity, we are expected to “make it,” we’re supposed to get out there and “make” something of ourselves.
So, it becomes a quest, a yearning—life teaches us that discovering your purpose will feel like an impossibly painful, fraudulent process.
As children we know. Writing was the first thing I ever felt to be my own, because I didn’t waste time defining what my choices meant for my future; I felt things inside that stirred, and I let them out.
I took nearly twenty years to come full circle, to remember what that child was happiest doing. Years of pressure deciding what I would be, ignoring what I was already achieving.
We should be so bitter, shouldn’t we? So frustrated with the world for hindering our growth though impossible expectations and worthless definitions of “success.”
And then I see people like Shane Koyczan, and I’m silently and selfishly grateful for the trials he was forced to endure. I don’t take pleasure in his pain, not by any means. I don’t secretly believe he deserved the bullying inflicted. But I look at him now, as a man, as a hero, and I think thank goodness your story lead you here.
We can only be molded and stifled for so long, before we burst forth as the narrator of our own story.
Please, meet Shane Koyczan:
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta