See this guy here?
This is Nick Vujicic and if you hadn’t noticed from the picture, he doesn’t have any arms or legs. Now if you’ve never heard of this guy, do yourself a favor and go check him out here.
And someone asked Nick:
“How come you smile so much?”
And he answers:
“Well, it’s a long story… but it’s also very simple. Sometimes it’s hard. You have to go through the storms in your life, and you don’t know how long the storm is going to be.”
Here’s a guy without arms or legs, who’s figured it out though.
Who’s learned to love life despite the challenging conditions, he’s had to live with.
And I’m a big fan of this guy and last year in September he’s inspired me to write this post.
But I want to make my intention clear with it before you read it.
Nick is a guy, who’s always inspired me a lot in my life and his stories have probably saved my life on more than one occasion.
And I realize that the only reason that’s possible is because he’s had the guts to share it.
Now with Nick, you can just take a look at him and be immidiately inspired.
There he is.
No arms and no legs, but with a bigger smile and more in love with his life than most people with arms and legs can manage. What’s up with that anyways?
So when I share my story here – it’s not about wanting sympathy or pity. I couldn’t care less. And I recognize that I’ll probably receive some judgement for this story from quite a few people.
So be it. I’ve learned one important thing in life:
“Those who matter, don’t mind. And those who mind, don’t matter.”
This story is for the person who needs to hear this and needs to know: that life is going to be alright for them too.
It’s for the kid who last year opened up to me about wanting to commit suicide, who ended up having a mental breakdown and is right now trying to get back on his feet.
It’s for you, who’s struggling with life and wondering if it’s ever gonna get better despite all the shit you’re going through and so I say this to you:
“Look at my life and where I am today. It’s going to be alright. You’re going to be alright.”
And finally to my family, in the words of Eminem I’ll say this:
“I’m sorry momma.
I never meant to hurt you.
I never meant to make you cry, but tonight…
I’m cleanin’ out my closet.”
Now let’s get to it.
I remember getting in trouble at school again and again.
I remember that I was the problem and that I had behavioral problems.
I remember it being my fault.
I remember school being like a battleground, where I feared running into my stepbrother Sebastian as he would chase me down to beat me or send his friends after me.
I remember his classmates picking me out during winter and chasing me down to fill my clothes with snow during breaks.
I remember being so angry at school that I would pick fights with the other kids and even bully them.
I remember picking a fight with the biggest boy at our year, twice my size, and getting thrown around the playground like a ragdoll.
I remember getting up again and again for the full length of the lunch break, charging at him unstoppably over and over again – eventually seeing the fear in his eyes when he realized that I wouldn’t stop until I’d won or couldn’t get up again.
I remember that he refused to fight with me again after that.
I remember school being a warzone.
I remember playing games with my older stepbrother that was about me hurting myself, slapping my face and hitting my head against the window.
I remember it was fun.
I remember my stepbrother choking me and beating me up.
I remember running to mother scared. She’d stroke my head and then have my stepfather punish my stepbrother.
I remember my other brother banging my head against our camping wagon over and over until my father came out and stopped him.
I remember hiding at my friend’s place when my mum came to pick me up, because I didn’t want to go home.
I remember choking my best friend, because I was angry at him for breaking my pen.
I remember holding his neck with so much rage that I wanted him to die.
I remember the look of fear and hurt in his eyes, the fear of death even as I let go.
I remember feeling so horrible and worthless afterwards that I vowed to never be violent towards another person again.
I remember coming home angry from school and taking my time to walk slowly before I entered the house as the anger turned to fear.
I remember the coldness of my home and feeling like I was entering a dangerous place.
I remember being afraid all the time and feeling angry when I wasn’t afraid.
I remember my home being like living with monsters.
I remember how much I disliked having dinner at the table together.
I remember it always ending it arguing.
I remember the arguing escalating into violent fighting.
I remember Eros Ramazotti playing on the speakers, while we were supposed to compliment the amazing food that my stepfather had put together and feed his ego.
I remember being told to eat properly and keep my arms into the side because that was the most important thing in our home: to look proper.
I remember that I should be so thankful and grateful to the man, who made me food that I couldn’t swallow.
I remember being forced to sit with my plate alone until I’d finished eating what was on it.
I remember still being uncomfortable with any kind of family dinners.
I remember my mother and stepfather switching to English when they didn’t want me or my stepbrother to hear what they were talking about.
I remember my stepbrother doing the same one day.
I remember picking up English as a second language faster than any other kid my age.
I remember life was about survival.
I remember the bond I shared with my brother Andreas.
I remember loving both of my brothers and looking up to them.
I remember my father being tough.
I remember my mother being cold.
I remember being fed so much candy from my stepfather it made me sick, but I remember it being the only thing that ever made me feel any love from him.
I remember saving candy for months, hiding it like treasure to only eat it when I really needed it as if I was saving what little love I had.
I remember my stepbrother stealing and eating my hidden treasure.
I remember feeling that love was a conditional and rare resource.
I remember growing up, feeling like I was on my own and alone.
I remember my father giving my brother and me the newest toys and technology to play with.
I remember the opportunities he gave us both.
I remember my father hating my mother and both of them passing messages through me after the divorce.
I remember telling him not to drop me in the water, when he was teaching me to swim.
I remember the trust between us being forever broken as I was dropped in the water, my lungs filling and the fear of drowning setting in.
I remember my father telling the story years later and laughing as he told how angry I was at him for dropping me.
I remember still being uncomfortable with water and a bad swimmer even to this day.
I remember my father taking my brother and me for adventures all over the world, calling them “challenge-trips”.
I remember him having the belief that we mature and get stronger through adversity.
I remember being physically, emotionally and mentally drained after being away on a trip.
I remember crying a lot by myself when no one would see it, so they wouldn’t find me weak.
I remember wondering how mature and strong my father expected me to be.
I remember having friends over and being humiliated in front of them by my stepdad.
I remember not wanting to have friends over at my place.
I remember my stepfather calling out for me in his voice which filled me with fear and indignation.
I remember him ordering me about, telling me do this, do that, and if I didn’t do it, there’d be hell to pay later: “just you wait until your mother hears about this!”
I remember him talking me down, calling me stupid for not knowing things far beyond a child’s normal understanding and knowledge.
I remember thinking I was stupid.
I remember him making fun of the color of my hair.
I remember coloring my hair black and shaving it off.
I remember my mother doing nothing.
I remember my mother reading to me in the night and how I’d seek refuge in the stories.
I remember my mum dressing me up to look like a good boy, to look like an intellectual, wearing expensive clothing.
I remember being worried about getting my expensive clothing dirty when we would play outside.
I remember getting bullied at school for looking the way I did.
I remember my mother telling me how terrible my dad was and how much she hated my stepfather.
I remember my mother telling me about her life and her problems, but never asking me about my life or how I was feeling.
I remember feeling like love was a conditional resource that I had to earn.
I remember feeling the shame and guilt of not being good enough.
I remember my mother telling everyone what a happy life we were living and how everything was going so well.
I remember believing her because I didn’t know anything else.
I remember when I stopped believing it.
I remember the fighting between my stepbrother and stepfather.
I remember the yelling.
I remember hiding.
I remember my mother doing nothing, but telling me how bad a person my stepbrother was.
I remember my stepfather, the lawyer, recording my stepbrother during an argument, threatening him with “This will be used in court!”
I remember how my stepbrother became the black sheep of the family for fighting back against the tyranny and violent oppression of my alcoholic stepfather.
I remember my stepbrother knocking a tooth out on my stepfather.
I remember the smashed painting on the wall and the blood stains.
I remember calling the police and hiding in my room.
I remember my mother calling my father and asking him to stop them.
I remember my father using his influence as a doctor to stop the police from entering the house.
I remember the feeling of betrayal from my father’s interference.
I remember losing faith in anyone and everyone after that night.
I remember my stepbrother throwing rocks at ducklings at the pond and killing one of them.
I remember how much he cheered and how happy he was.
I remember feeling like I had to throw up when I saw the little yellow ball floating upside down.
I remember my stepbrother being away from home more and more.
I remember my stepbrother gradually becoming more of a criminal through the stories he would tell.
I remember him being put in jail for beating someone up with a baseball bat.
I remember losing trust and hope in him.
I remember asking my older brother for help with a bully at school, who’d taken my swing.
I remember my brother calming walking up to him and punching him with a fist to the face.
I remember my brother getting kicked out of school soon after that.
I remember being afraid to ask my brother for help again after that.
I remember that I got my swing back however.
I remember my mother and stepfather throwing out my older brother when he tried to protect me one time from the abuse being inflicted on me.
I remember my mother telling me my brother was crazy and wouldn’t be allowed to come back to visit.
I remember my brother becoming increasingly violent and antisocial as he grew up without any love from his mother.
I remember my brother having trouble with gang members and being in the hospital after an overdose.
I remember being both scared of and for my brother.
I remember my brother killing himself with a toxic combination of drugs.
I remember the pain of losing him.
I remember all of this being the only thing, I ever knew, and thinking that this was how everybody else grew up as well.
I remember thinking that everybody went through the same things I went through, and that there was something wrong with me since I was having problems in my life.
I remember thinking that what I went through was normal.
I remember when I started to realize that it was not.
I remember thinking I deserved it.
I remember realizing that I did not.
I remember being in darkness, feeling lost and hopeless.
And I remember finding my way to a better life than what my circumstances had set me up for…