From Wilderness to Wonder: The Story of Our Founder

I just got done watching the movie Wonder, about a boy named August Pullman who has a facial deformity and has to deal with the most trying, harshest battle ground on planet earth: middle school.

Judging by the happiness of the ending, the movie might have been produced by Disney. Without spoiling it for you, the boy who should’ve been bullied into oblivion becomes the hero. Shocking plot line.

While it is undoubtedly a movie that gives the viewer hope, it is a hopelessly inaccurate portrayal of what it’s like to feel like the space man in your school. I would know, I got bullied so bad in Jr High eventually the principal realized it was easier to kick me out than to deal with all the people shitting on me.

Forgive my language. They never shit on me, they just threw a cup of urine in my face.

So August Pullmans’ everywhere, take it from someone who pulled through: it gets better. Let me explain.

1. COOL IS A MYTH.

Admittedly, being bullied was my fault. In 3rd grade, I made a conscious decision that I was not popular specifically because I couldn’t play soccer. I went about formulating a mental list of everyone in every social clique in my elementary school and gave them varying ranks of popularity. Soccer was the great equalizer. No matter what group you were a part of, if you could kick a ball you could be part of it all. They let me play once, I forgot what team i was on and scored against myself. I didn’t get picked to play after we lost that game.

You know how many of those kids still play soccer? None. You know how much that game matters now? It doesn’t. Spend your free time doing just that: being free. Whatever you like doing is more important than someone else’s opinion of it.

2. FRIENDSHIPS NEVER LAST.

This is a double edged sword. Good news, the clique that beats you up every day will get disbanded before they can legally drink. Bad news, the person that’s got your back right now really doesn’t. Be prepared for it. The reason why bullying works is because you’re alone and they’re not. You can’t see your future, but PLEASE trust someone who’s seen an identical future through: you end up being the one with the squad.

There were two people named Tom in my childhood. One I thought was my friend cuz he knocked the wind out of a kid who was pushing me and the other Tom was the kid pushing me. I found out good guy Tom just liked punching people later on when he hit me, and bad guy Tom got arrested in high school for selling pot. Neither of them do anything of note with their lives nowadays. Evidently you can’t sucker punch your way through a job interview.

3. PEOPLE DON’T SUCK.

Despite being a human toilet, I’ve found that not everyone is full of crap. Both Toms were dealing with things at home that made them have no choice but to act the way they did, and looking back on it I don’t think I wouldve acted any different if I were in their shoes. Ultimately the hardest thing to ever hit you will be the idea that people aren’t horrible, but things that happen to them are. Separate your bully from their actions and it will become much easier to forgive them.

4. YOU MUST FORGIVE.

Maybe you’ve heard the line “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” That’s the truth, and here’s why. Eventually your bullies will go on to be the party animals and then the drunks and then the dead beats. But you will still be you. You’ll still wake up in the morning, no matter how much you wish you hadn’t. And if you go on through life harboring the hate they’ve long forgotten about, you will never stop being bullied. The hardest thing to do is let it go. The strongest thing you can do, is let it go.

I’ll never forget one day towards the end of 8th grade, after someone had been to history class. This person sat across the lunch table from me and told me how if I was a Jew they wish they could be Hitler, so they could “gas me like the rest of them.”

He forgot about two things: Hitler killed himself, and I’m a Christian. And I force myself to forgive him.

Today in addition to being “Moderator In Chief” of this website I work in construction, and the building where my friend Cheilean and I took these pictures is my most recent project. I haven’t talked to the people mentioned in this story in years, but for work I talk to tons of people everyday. Imagine if I had used the way I was treated to determine how I interact with people now. I wouldn’t have this job, that’s for sure. And if I had held onto that hate, there would be no website either.

This website is very much like construction. It’s here to build up people, in the same way I get paid to build up buildings. What my past did was undoubtedly destructive, but what that demolition did was create space to build the man I am today.

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