Inspirational People: Shane Koyczan

In a way, this man kind of reminds me of a jolly Santa Claus… warm and a big beard like St. Nick would be. He’s not afraid to say it how it is either, which to me is what makes this man so inspirational. He even delivers gifts to the public… Though he doesn’t dress up in a red hat or ride a sleigh with a team of reindeer delivering these gifts to both boys and girls alike. And his gifts aren’t anything you could find in a box covered with wrapping paper. All that he has to offer are words that can make you laugh, cry, and feel so empowered no matter where you are going in your life.

His stories are told based on a series of events he has been through in his own life through catholic school, and relationships he’s been through with his lovers, friends, enemies, and his grandma. He proves that we all go through a lot in our lives, growing up from childhood to adulthood. And there’s something you can always learn from each and every experience you go through.

The first time I ever heard Shane Koyczan was this year in March. I was looking through my daily subscription news feed as I always do when I get stuck in a bind during my design projects. I stumbled upon the animated video “To This Day,” in which Shane discussed the horrible tragedies of bullying. And not just the horrible things, but what you can also gain from the bullying itself. This illustrated video is also a well-spoken poem that has made him more well known throughout his years being a poet and performer. Watching it was hard for me to do without crying at the moment where Shane had finally said “You built a cast around your broken heart and signed it: They were wrong.” Because when is a bully ever right about determining your worth? It reminded me of those days when I had my dolls stolen, or gotten laughed at in middle school for messing up during class presentations. Growing up, you also begin to realize that there are still bullies out there trying to interfere with what you want to achieve. I guarantee you those experiences weren’t lived without a good reason.

I can’t say To This Day is the only outstanding poem he has ever wrote. A lot of his work is performed with a lovely violinist, Hannah Epperson. If you’re a sucker for the sound of a violin, you will especially love hearing the flow of Shane’s poetry that goes along with her harmonious sounds. This lovely pair of performers has also been able to perform To This day in TED talks.

Out of all the poems I’ve heard from Shane, my favorite would have to be Remember How we Forgot. It reminds me of all the times I enjoyed being a child. How I met my long-term friendships, and the yearly family gatherings I spent with loved ones. It was a fun and eventful time for me, and it’s easy to forget how to go for your ambitions as you were when you were young. “Because the future isn’t what it used to be.”

More than anything, I’m glad I stumbled upon his work when I needed it the most. Coincidentally it was around the time I was only moments away from obtaining my Graphic Design degree. It’s hard to face the real world at times, but it’s always people like Shane Koyczan that help remind you about the reasons why you are still alive.

To view his TED talk performance: click here

Check out more of his work on his website:

Also, to see more of Hannah Epperson’s work, check this out: