Life is insane. Truly. Last night my speech class had to give an introductory speech. However, it couldn’t be, “Hi, my name is….” It had to be a coming of age speech, something true, something that helped mold and shape the people we had become today. I chose to talk about my sister-in-law Jenn. I met her when I was fifteen because I was dating her brother. Needless to say we quickly became good friends, but she was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Before then, in my life, terminal diseases and death was reserved for grandparents and the elderly. I’d never met anyone my own age who fought so hard just to breathe.
Man, if you want to realize you’re not alone in this world with hardship and tragedies, take a speech class where they require you to write a coming of age speech. Sure, I had it tough, but my problems don’t hold a candle to some of those people. Some were my age, some older, some younger, and their stories, what’s happened to them, where they’ve been and where they are now, it’s insane that they had the strength to do that. It gives me hope for humanity. That people can and will persevere through the darkness and find ways to make themselves better.
No, not in a PAX airborne drug via Serenity type way. In a way, that even though they’ve had shitty circumstances in their lives, and things happen to them beyond their control, they chose not to let it define them, but instead used it as motivation to do something better with their lives so they don’t find themselves in that situation again. Some of the speeches honestly had me tearing up.
This one man was homeless by the time he was a teenager because his family couldn’t afford the trailer they were living in. They sold it for $1300 and went their separate ways. Now, he’s got his GED, a job, and is going back to college to support himself.
Another woman realized that after twenty years of unhappy marriage she was strong enough to face life on her own.
A sixteen year old girl in the class is doing dual enrollment. She’s been working since she was thirteen because her father was abusive towards her mother and they wound up moving out. She has to help her mother supplement the income to survive.
One girl in particular was bullied in high school because of her weight. Enough so that she dropped out and got her GED. She made the decision to lose weight not for them, but because it was effecting her health. She’s beautiful, they all are, and almost every speech in that class inspired me.
Just listening to them, watching their eyes tear up as they told their stories, reliving a tragic memory, hardship, and then squaring their shoulders because they’re stronger because of it – it’s a great lesson in learning not to judge the person your sitting next to. Just because someone looks one way, acts some way, doesn’t mean you know a damn thing about them. Every step, decision we’ve made, or decisions that have been thrust upon us have made us the people we are today. Judging too quickly can lead to missing out.
We’ve all suffered through trials and tribulations. Some people have come out better than others for it. Some people still need a little help. I really enjoyed the class and learning who I was sitting with. It was a great lesson all around, and I realized I was sitting next to some pretty damn awesome people.
I give them all kudos, praise, props, and good mojo so that they obtain their dreams in the future.
Also for any of you who know someone with Cystic Fibrosis or any other childhood ailment, if you have the means, please donate to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. They are truly wonderful people who helped Jenn through many years of her too short life. Every kid deserves a shot. Joe DiMaggio does their best to try and make it happen.