Over the past four months I’ve continuously realized that I’m going to die someday. Now whether or not death will reach me at a young age for some foolish reason or decades from now in a hospital bed surrounded by loved ones, I can not escape the harsh and abrupt truth that awaits me and all of us for that matter. I say this with a proud smile on my face. In the 20 years that I’ve lived amongst you on this planet, I’ve experienced love and heartache, the joys of birth and the pains of death, and even being able to overcome issues with anxiety and depression and from these things I can honestly say without any hesitation in my voice that I have lived. I didn’t want this speech to be about how tough life has been for me, I didn’t even know how to go about writing it for that matter so instead I’ll tell you some things that I believe have made me the person that stands here before you today.
My friends are my family; I don’t know how many times I’ve said that but just know a statement could never be any more true. I was born the youngest of 3 and the only boy but it took until middle school to finally begin to meet my brothers. We essentially live together whenever I’m home from school, whether its days dedicated to beating video games or holiday parties themed in our favorite TV shows, my friends are truly awesome people that I’m forever grateful for having in my life. They are my support; they are the Pikachu to my Ash, the Dark Magician to my Yu-Gi and even the Krillin to my Goku. It’s crazy that in one way or another, our families we grew up with aren’t perfect or are even broken in some tragic ways but together we are strong. The love we have for each other far exceeds blood and it’s already been decided that we’ll all be each others best men someday, the brotherhood we call it. The thing about my friends that makes them so special to me is that through them I truly found a home free of judgment and just absolute acceptance while steadily challenging myself to put faith in others and just better myself as a person. They have always been there to stifle any fears or doubts I’ve had in myself, which just makes me such a lucky person.
Sometimes I really think I was supposed to be born a robot but then somehow I popped out a baby. Its just sometimes I forget emotions and I’m not going to stand here and try figure out what went wrong or how I came out a baby and not a robot but I just know that even in my youth, when I couldn’t explain myself, music could. Now I’m not too sure on the quote which I could’ve easily googled in matter of seconds and it would’ve just been perfect but then that wouldn’t be from the heart and that would get away from the point I’m trying to make. The quote goes something like “They don’t understand what it feels like to love a stupid piece of music so much that it hurts”. I love that quote and I get chills just thinking about it because I love music so much and I’ll even go as far as to say I love music more than you, not because I think I know more about music but because I’m crazy about it. I always thought my first love was a girl named Amanda I dated in high school but nope, it’s always been music. Do you know the feeling of your endorphins going crazy and shooting chills down your spine and throughout your body just from listening to the first couple seconds of your favorite song like literally .02 seconds into the song? Or being hit by wave of emotion generated by sound which in turn allows you to able to, to have the privilege to cry tears of happiness because the music you’re hearing is just so beautiful that you can’t help but just give in? My therapy, my sanctuary, my guiding Shepard through life, will always be music, always.
I always wanted to skate growing up, it just seemed so cool. Now granted when I first saw skateboarders they were on a TV via playstation doing whatever my fingers commanded them to do but it grew into a curiosity and soon an appreciation. I can’t really explain it but I’ll try my best to. Have you ever wanted to leave a place quickly and just free your mind as well as your body and just completely loose yourself in something? Well that little piece of wood attached to some wheels over there allows me to do just that, all the while challenging myself to push even further beyond my limits, doubts and even fears. When I started skateboarding, the amount of dirt I would eat daily was ridiculous, now I scroll through FSU confessions while going downhill and swerving in-between pedestrians with enough ease and ”steez” to shoot you some cool finger pistols on my way to class. I still have scars all over from when I started almost a year ago and my shins are so elegantly dented and bruised from my board swinging around and saying what’s up to my legs but I love it. I may curse at my deck for chipping or not letting my feet catch it the way it should but skating has brought me peace of mind that I cherish deeply. It blows my mind the ideals and concepts and views on life I’ve gained just from a board with wheels attached to it. It’s brought me far and introduced me to some of my closest friends. I’m just really lucky I guess.
Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. Growing up I was always told or made fun of for being weird or just thinking differently, by random people, friends, soon to be ex friends, elders and even my immediate family as a child and it hurt me and made me afraid. As I grew up events took place throughout my life that would only shape me into the person I am today. That once shy boy, almost afraid of his own voice and more importantly what came out afterwards and how people would view him, is now freeing himself of those fears. One trial or tribulation after another I stand up even stronger, even more sure of myself and the greatness that I will achieve, bound as tight as the armor of a samurai by the people I love and things that make me who I am.