On April 11th, 2019, Demetrius Harmon came to the University of Washington to give a speech to 500 people in Kane Hall. I knew of Demetrius back in middle school as MeechOnMars, the popular Vine star. If you haven’t seen his comedy before, I strongly suggest looking up one of his Vine compilations on YouTube. Today, he is best known for making comedy skits on YouTube/Twitter, his comfortable YouMatter Hoodies, and speaking at different universities about his struggles with mental health. Here’s what I learned:
1. Life isn’t fair.
This is something even my mother told me when I was a kid. Life always presents us injustices, especially when we don’t deserve it. Demetrius talks about how it can be difficult to be happy in the same life that hurts us. Young girls being trafficked, innocent people dying, families living without access to basic necessities such as food and water—it’s a brutal world. Why is life formatted in a way that so many people suffer? What’s the point of life then? Does anything really matter? Demetrius offers that rather than to wallow in these thoughts, the way to push past them is to find purpose in life for yourself. Life is surely unfair, but whether we like it or not, we have to live it—so we may as well try to be happy during it. This brings me to the second lesson…
2. Everyone has a purpose.
Demetrius says that part of finding happiness in life is finding one’s purpose. At the end of his speech, he mentions the recent passing of Nipsey Hussle and how it shook his beliefs. He started to wonder again how someone so young, so full of potential, could be struck by such a tragedy? How is that fair? To find some sort of peace, Demetrius states that Nipsey was fulfilling his purpose by supporting and inspiring his community. Thus, though he tragically died young, he made an impact in other’s lives. When one begins to feel like nothing matters in life anymore, it’s important to remember that our actions impact others, and that we do serve some purpose.
3. You don’t know what’s around the corner until you look.
Anything is possible. Well, maybe not anything, but a lot of things are possible in life. When one focuses on the negative in their situation, it can be hard to imagine any positive outcomes. Demetrius tells a personal anecdote about being upset on his 21st birthday due to his brother being in jail, unable to witness Demetrius’ growing success and to celebrate him. Feeling depressed and hopeless, he went to his birthday party to find that his brother had actually been released from jail early for him—something he didn’t even think was a possibility. One can feel a range of emotions about a certain situation, but until it occurs, they won’t know what the outcome is and how to feel.