I am here, now, and working on a new form of treatment with a team that fights to see results and does not give up until the end results are achieved. I am far from home now.
Don’t get me wrong, California is beautiful but I am still just a New York kid at heart.
I saw a few pictures on social media and then penned my thoughts, which, by the end, I found myself teary-eyed for more reasons than I have time to explain.
But as I was thinking, I took to my video blog and spoke out loud. However, now I have come here to lay the passion in my voice to rest.
Instead, I will speak plainly and honestly and lovingly, with all my heart and hope this message finds its place in the hearts of those who need it most.
In part, my reason to love this time of year is the same reason why I struggle this time of year.
I see the pictures of the graduating classes. I notice the students and their gleaming smiles and their caps and gowns.
I see them awaiting a next chapter. They are all set to enter their future. They are about to be released and head out into a whole new world. God, what a time this is . . .
They are young and inspired. They are excited and motivated; eager to live and eager to learn and eager to see the world from a brand new perspective.
High School is over now.
They are newly released to the next phase of their life. Some have plans and some only have plans to enjoy the summer, to party, and to live out their freedom, by any means necessary, with no regard for the future because to a kid, there is no future. There is only now.
Some of the graduates are opening acceptance letters from colleges and preparing to leave home to experience campus life and enjoying the anticipation of dorm room living.
I see the students and hope they were taught well. I hope they steer away from the inaccurate glamour of drinking until puking, or dosing themselves with the recreational things, like Molly, or find their way to becoming part of the opiate epidemic.
I hope they were taught well and trained well. I hope they were emotionally reinforced. I hope they know their value, which is immeasurable. More importantly, I hope their spins are stiff enough sp they can survive any fall and have the ability to stand back up no matter what comes their way.
I look at them with hope and admiration. I see them, bright-eyed with their diplomas in hand, posing for pictures with their friends.
No more teachers. No more books. No more high school hallways. No more guidance counselors. No more detention. No more hall passes and no more bells ringing to alert them of the next period.
I admire them. I really do. I admire their past and their future. I live vicariously through their excitement and their joy. I see them and wish I lived this way.
I wish I went to prom. I wish I walked with my graduating class. Instead, my diploma was delivered to me in the mail with a letter to inform of something like the following:
Dear Mr. Kimmel,
we are pleased to inform you that you have passed all the necessary exams to earn your high school equivalency diploma .
I was in my mid to late 20’s when I took the tests . . .
To be honest, I wept like a baby when the news came. I thought I failed for sure. Turns out I was truly capable the entire time.
I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I believed in myself. I wish I was diagnosed and understood at a young age. But hey, I get it. No one wants to be labeled; least of all, nobody wants to be labeled as learning disabled and believe they are actually stupid.
But I wasn’t stupid.
I know because I took a test without studying. That proves it. Besides, stupid people never think they’re stupid . . . they think they’re smart
I smile when I see the kids pose for their prom pictures. They are our children. They are the kids from the neighborhood, They are the next generation, which is why I hope and pray for their improvement with hopes that our society will improve, because quite honestly, I have never seen my country as divided as it is now.
I want to reach out to every single one of these kids and introduce myself. I want to tell them about the world they will face and how this is no longer a drill. This is the real world. At least, it’s supposed to be.
I want to tell them don’t be all caught up in the politics. Your actions to improve your community is equally, if not more powerful than the power of your vote. I want to tell them create, build, do, live, breathe, and repeat. This is a great way to live.
I see them and think of their proms and their limos. I admire their dresses and tuxedos. I think of their proud moms and dads that take photographs before watching their kids head off to a dance that I have never attended.
These are the days my friends.
These are the times you will never forget, I agree, but life has so much more in store for you, so don’t be afraid of your identity switches from the ball field.
This is the time to live. Right now. Live as loud as possible. Try everything you can. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to fail either because failure is not failure t all—it’s just a lesson.
That’s all it is.
Don’t be afraid to be you because trust me, you are perfect. I know you are because I wasted decades believing lies that something was wrong with me. I wasted most of my life believing that I was incapable or stupid
I see them at this stage of life, which is so perfect and sparkling. They are all shining like a bright, fleeting star that bursts across the sky because time (and life) is only a temporary porthole.
Remember, you only live once
And God, I just want them to live.
I see them and I admire their dreams. I admire their hope and their first love romances, which they hope might last forever.
I want them to know that life will change. Love will change as well. So will their ability to live, love, and interact with people outside their previously small but social circle.
There is an entire world out there just waiting to greet you.
Keep in mind, Life is and always will be subject to change; so do not hinge yourself upon outcomes, but instead, stay focused on your energy.
I want to reach out to them, the graduates, I mean.
I want them to know how precious they are and how meaningful their lives will be.
They are the future of this country.
They are future parents and future doctors and lawyers. They are future builders and designers. They will work for a living. They will have the chance to do their very best.
I want to tell them to find their own blueprint in life.
Do not follow; lead from the front, and be okay with disappointment because disappointment is only a translation. This does not mean what we think it means.
I want to reach out to these kids and tell them how precious they are. I want to cheer for them and tell them that although they don’t know me; I’m proud.
I admire them. I never had the chance to do what they can do.
They are young and about to embark on a new journey.
I want them to know they will laugh and they will cry. They will go on to build and destroy, fall, and with hope, they will all learn to stand back up again.
I see the parents, so proud, so happy. Their smiles are incredible to me.
I want to reach out to them too. I want them to be proud. I want them to enjoy this moment.
I want them to hold on to this for the rest of their life and remember their children, standing in line with cap and gown, walking up to receive their diploma. I want them to hold this memory as sacred as they did the first time they ever held their child in their arms at birth.
I want them to know, my parents never had the chance to see this; not even from junior high school. The only graduation I ever attended was when I was in the sixth grade.
Everything I have learned to do was taught to me by me.
I hurt. I struggled. And sometimes, I suffered.
Please do not do this to yourself.
I look at the students and I want to advise them not to worry. Life will change. Your identity will change as well.
But you will always be you. And this is perfect. Allow this to be enough.
Let yourself be sufficient. Enjoy your memories. But realize your memories, whether glorious or sad, are behind you. Cherish them. Enjoy them but do not let them limit you or your beliefs.
Make new memories. Create new experiences. Make new friends. Find out what makes your heart push the blood through your veins and find your best source of inspiration. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
You will not win them all. Rest assured. You will make mistakes. You will see good things and bad. You will suffer and you will heal.
Allow yourself to define your life and do not be swayed by the social norms, the house, the white-picket fence, the 2.5 kids a d the car in the garage.
Be exactly who you are
I see this new graduating class and I want them to know they are worth it. I want them to know about the people I knew and loved who went the other way, I want to plead with them, please, do not go this way because it will literally break my heart.
And don’t ever let anyone or anything steer you away from your path.
I want these kids to know what beauty is and that that are beautiful.
All of them.
I want them to know that no matter how beautiful someone is on the outside, if they are ugly on the inside then they can only be average at best
So by all means, please, be beautiful
Live your life
And know that I am in your corner if needed
So help me God
A kid told me after listening to my presentation, “So what? You didn’t turn out so bad?”
He said, “You seem to be doing okay now.”
I agree . . .
But I could have avoided so many pitfalls if I just learned and understood all of the above.
Just a question for you though—
Ever get a hug from a kid that has been bullied and depressed and never had anyone to inspire or talk with him?
You should get a hug like this.
I promise it’s a game changer.
Saw him months after, by the way. He dragged me in from the hallways to show me his classroom and his artwork. He said no one bullies him anymore
He smiled . . .
God, this was beautiful