To Scott…

Today may not have been about you as much as it should have been, but that doesn’t mean I’ll EVER forget you or ignore you, even if you don’t care.
Suicide is a mistake, and it causes so much pain, but it can also cause greatness.
You caused us a lot of pain, but I hope you take comfort in that while I wish you were still here, your death sparked many great things in my life. It taught me about people, life, death and everything inbetween so that I could make a difference. Like I did tonight.
I toast my imaginary beer to you and with a loud belch proclaim that I am and will always be your nephew.

First Draft

Of the Grad Speech no one’s going to fucking hear. Enjoy

There’s a philosophy that I have that I always try to live by, even if I don’t always succeed. It’s a simple, yet complex one. “There is always another side to the story” and by extension, there’s always another story. It applies to life as much as it applies to fiction. Just like the villains in movies, the villains in our lives have origins too. Your continuously angry boss, your unsympathetic teacher, your obnoxious classmate, the bully who gave you a mean look, all of them have a story that gives them their reasons, just like you have yours. After all, you’re the villain in somebody’s story aren’t you? On the other hand, you could just be a background character, a passing thought, or just plain absent in somebody else’s story. But does that make you any less important? What I’m saying may be obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things are the easiest to forget and as we’re going into the world, this is something we don’t want to forget. We do all the time though whether we like it or not, making assumptions, accepting stereotypes or getting mad at someone without asking why they did what they did. For example: every gay marriage supporter has a reason for it, right? A gay friend, family member or maybe just their own thoughts based of the way they were raised. However every traditionalist or gay-hater has their reasons too. The way they were raised, their religion, or an unwillingness to accept change. They have reasons and opinions too and it’s up to all of us to try and explain and understand each others motivations. America has its philosophies, and the Taliban have theirs. The victims have stories just as much as a school shooter has his reasonings. Every killer of himself or others, every giver of life or love, have reasons, be they emotional, mental, or physical. You can’t preach love and peace while hating your opponent, and you can’t expect people to understand you if you don’t make the effort to understand them. The world is an undeniably dark place, and sometimes that darkness spreads where you wouldn’t quite at first expect, changing that intimidating bully into a scared and confused child and in doing so, changing our preferred black and white world into a mix of grays. So whenever the next tragedy, miracle, argument, or drama enters your life, stop and try to shift your perspective because you just might see something new. This constant bombardment we face every day of chaos on every level from personal to global can be overwhelming at times, and it’s only going to become more so in the coming years. Keep in mind that being aware of the darkness is not the same as being controlled by it, after all one of the things I love most about mankind is our ability to smile and laugh in the face of tragedy. To bring light to others when they need it most. So never stop having fun, having laughs, celebrating life for all its glories, and reveling in the music and art that imagination has brought us. Someone told me that a Graduation speech is always about the past or the future and that disturbed me because the present is where we are now and without it there would be no past or future. Take a look around you, at all the family and friends here, all supporting and loving you. This moment right here is special, just as special as every memory of the past and just as special as the opportunities of the future. We’re young, educated and right here, right now, there is no better time to celebrate life and laugh at the darkness. So remember, that even though we’re going our separate ways that we’re all bonded. Bonded together by the past we share, the future we’re forging, and the present we’re living.

Thanks for reading.