“Less to do with pain/And more to do with beauty”

Sometimes (read: most of the time), the Internet opens up a door for you. Sometimes, it hurts. Sometimes, you can’t backtrack and walk back through that doorway, forgetting what you just stumbled upon. Sometimes, you won’t want to.

The To This Day Project, sparked by the unbelievably gorgeous spoken word by Shane Koyczan, is an online movement to end bullying.  Published Feb. 19 of this year, the video is a compilation of graphic design from several dozen artists, set to original music and constantly evolving. It is rarely still, and it leaves your heart humming. It is seven minutes and 37 seconds of “real talk:” talking about childhood bullying as frankly as I’ve ever heard it, offset only by the beautiful phrasing.

A sample of the art used in the To This Day video.
A sample of the art used in the To This Day video.

It’s something I urge absolutely everyone to watch.

Koyczan’s words will hit you. Hard. Fast. Strong.

They will also linger, leaning against your heartstrings for weeks, reminding you of the reality of their meaning.

It’s painfully powerful. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t stop forcing my friends to watch it.

A crash course in some of the best lines, if you don’t have seven minutes to spare right now:

  • “So we grew up believing no one would fall in love with us/That we’d be lonely forever/That we’d never meet someone who made us feel like the sun was something they built for us in their toolshed”
  • “Lived like the uphills were mountains/And the downhills were cliffs”
  • “And if a kid breaks in a school/And no one around chooses to hear/Do they make a sound”
  • “If you find can’t anything beautiful about yourself/Get a better mirror/Look a little closer/Stare a little longer”
  • “We stem from a root planted in the belief that we were not what we were called”
  • “Our lives will only ever always continue to be a balancing act/That has less to do with pain/And more to do with beauty”

If that doesn’t make you want to change to world and hug everyone, you need some yoga classes and a chat with your mom.

I am a member of an anti-bullying organization on my campus, Peer2Peer. What makes P2P different from other anti-bullying groups is we want to focus on stopping the bullying before it happens. We don’t want to come in to council victims – we want to come in to council the entire student body about respect and kindness. One of the biggest lessons, however, is that of self-respect; having enough pride in yourself and your character to not treat others in a cruel manner.

This is why I adore the To This Day Project: it encourages young people that they are beautiful. That the situation they were put into isn’t entirely their fault, and often not their fault at all. It shows the seed of hope that resides inside each aware child – the power to speak up for a classmate, to swallow cruel words, to make each day better.

It reminds me of a more mature version of Kid President’s Pep Talk. 

Some choice quotes:

    • “But if life is a game, aren’t we all on the same team?”
    • “What will be your Space Jam? What will you create that will make the world more awesome?”
    • “You were made to be awesome.”
    • “It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.”

(This kid is my inspiration, if we’re being totally candid.)

There is something truly great about people using words to galvanize change in others. Whether it’s tear-jerking poetry like Koyczan or the giggly rambling of a kid wise beyond his year, it works the same. It all fits the same motivation-shaped hole in my heart.

Who doesn’t love the feeling of finding the last piece of a puzzle?

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