MAKE THIS BLOW UP.
i don’t know who needs to here (maybe it’s all of us) but here i go:
today was my senior kickback day in high school. i’m in a graduating class of over 800. i don’t think i could name over 200 of their names. probably no one could. but what happened today was nothing short of absolutely remarkable.
the speaker who was brought in to lead the day starts off light-hearted, him & student government dancing & blasting fun music, trying to get people hyped up. in order to keep this as short as possible, i’ll just leave it as he’s really good at his job. like, really good.
then we get into the deep stuff. it’s a room of seniors. keith shares his deeply touching personal story. some of us cried.
keith asks us to raise our hands if we experience anxiety, depression, financial troubles, abuse, homelessness. hands pop up and down around the auditorium. we all have struggles. for the few who don’t, they listen and they learn.
then, he gives some students the opportunity to go up on stage & share their own story & thank someone if they so choose.
the first three kids talk about depression, suicidal thoughts, being trans. all thanking a friend or two or three for keeping them here and holding on.
then the fourth kid comes up. by now, half the room is already sobbing. this kid is massively popular. football player. gigantic. everyone knows the name when he introduces himself. you know the type. he thanks three of his friends. he says how even though it isn’t considered “manly” to love them, he loves them. he’s beginning to choke up. he talks about sleeping on park benches. he’s sobbing on stage in front of 800 people, many of which he doesn’t ever know. he talks about being bullied for being a big guy. “they touched me,” he chokes out, “s-s-s-s-s-sexually assaulted me.” he’s lost it. those were the last words he said before he completely broke down on that stage. his friends are rushing up; football players, his ex girlfriend, people he’s close to. everyone is in tears and all of a sudden it just clicks. we get it. everyone is running up to the gigantic 800 person group hug, crying their eyes out. it was like a scene from a movie. it was the most moving thing i have ever witnessed.
we aren’t alone in our struggles.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
i had never talked to this boy before. most of us hadn’t. but we all cried. we all felt his pain. we all let go and loved.
we apologized to people who needed to hear it. i gave out and received more than a few apologies. it was due time and god, it felt good to forgive and be forgiven.
the day went on. we all shared our story. people talked about being raped, cutting themselves, their parents going to prison.
i go to a school of 3000+ students. there are cliques and jocks and geeks and everything in between but not today. today, we were one.
people began the day not into it or at least hesistant but one by one, we broke. we broke social barriers. i told 6 strangers about my darkest secrets. they did not judge. no one did. it was beautiful, i needed it.
people cried in my arms, i did the same. 800 kids cried their eyes out. every single one of us.
my school is not special. this day was beautiful and i hope i never forget it, but i hope others can have it too.
if anyone with any power in a high school reads this, i truly hope they listen and maybe, just maybe, can find a way to come together like this. maybe the seniors are the only group meant for it. they’re the only ones with a past to let go of. i did not go to any classes today but i know today was one of the most important days of my life thus far.
if anything, find solace in this.
those kids who raised their hands aren’t alone.
the boy on stage isn’t alone.
i’m not alone.
you’re not alone.