Welcome to 532 Out Loud - our attempt to share our thoughts, experiences, and stories. A little heads up, I (Jonas) used to be in ESOL and I draw inspiration from the weirdest things.
I think it is important to briefly mention why we decided to start this. One of our main visions is story telling and we drew inspiration from the Book of John in the Bible. In Chapter 5, Jesus heals a man who’s been lame for 38 years and when the man gets up, Jesus tells him ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’. What stuck was, Jesus didn't tell him to just walk and leave the mat. I believe he is telling us to embrace our past, we can use it to bless someone in the future. We believe in bringing our mats - embracing our stories and sharing it to others.
A few weeks ago, I watched one the greatest movies of all time – Forrest Gump. If you have not watched this movie, chuck it on Netflix and come back later to finish reading this. I’ll write a few words on why I love that movie and I’ll divide it into three main points and hopefully it all makes sense.
I grew up believing that we are all unique in many ways and that we all have different journeys. Watching the movie gave me reinforced belief that something I never thought of before can happen tomorrow – ‘Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get’. One day Forrest can’t walk properly and the next he’s sprinting like Usain Bolt. I’d be dumb if I stopped the movie 20 minutes in and predict that by the end he would play college football, serve in Vietnam, play table tennis for the United States, and own a shrimping business. I do not think that Forrest planned or even thought about some of those events in the slightest, yet it still happened. I think the easiest thing to take away after watching the movie is that anything is possible or the future is a mystery. I want to go deeper and focus on the second part of chocolate quote – ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’. To me, you must ‘do to deserve’. Tell me you knew that if Forrest never ran away from those bullies that the movie would have ended the same – I think he would have been beaten down to a worse condition. Or if he never saved his fellow soldiers that he still would have received the Medal of Honour. These chocolates ain't gonna unwrap themselves and hop into your mouth. Once you’ve picked from the box of chocolates, don’t be afraid to give it a bite – because it may be the best flavour you have ever tasted. If it didn’t taste good, pick another! Hurry though, you may not be the only one picking from the box.
Another line that hit differently was the most iconic line (to me) – ‘Run Forrest run’! It made me realized that picking your battles and walking away are a matter of why and when. I have never been involved in a physical fight; given my frame – this has been a smart life and business decision. As far as I could remember, I’ve only been close on one occasion. This person and I have had a situation where I messed up, then quickly apologized. Their sensible and civil human reaction was to shout and verbally abuse me for at least a solid minute around a crowd of people and no one came in did anything. I was smashed inside, but I did not walk away. People who should have done something about it did nothing so I would still see this person often. Every time I saw them, I could not help and stare, I would remember that minute and it would feel like it was happening again. The one time I nearly got into a fight was when we crossed paths and locked eyes, they said ‘why do you keep looking at me? I replied with all the built-up aggression ‘you know why’. Long story-short, we argued for around 20 seconds, and I was lucky enough that a mate of mine was in the vicinity and broke up the argument – I was going to get dropped. I love the scene where rocks were being thrown at Forrest and he ran because he knew he was outnumbered, and it was not worth his time. I do not know why I did not walk away the first time. In hindsight, I knew I had learnt a bit on how to face my mistakes the hard way. The time I argued, I chose to stand up for myself and fight because I believe no one should ever let anyone else belittle them. It should never be about looking like the tough guy, but knowing when it’s time to say ‘that’s enough’. I’ll end with this quote my mate told me after he broke up the argument, “it takes a bigger man to turn and walk from a fight than it does to stay and fight”.
The last line I’d like to talk about is whenever Forrest would say ‘Jenny’! Bit of a weird one, but I think there are a few things that stuck to me that I would like to share. First thing I learnt is that we all have undeservedly have a friend like Forrest who will be there no matter what. Jenny left heaps of times and every time she came back, Forrest would unconditionally take her back. To me it seemed like Jenny never really told Forrest what was going on with her, sometimes all she needed was to be around Forrest. If you are ever feeling like you are at your worst, remember that you have family and friends that would unconditionally care for you. Another thing I learnt is, people have different ways of showing love. At first glance, I was made to believe that Jenny was not directly reciprocating the love and friendship Forrest was showing towards her. In hindsight, I do believe she loved him from the start, but she left as that was her way of loving him. I think she viewed herself as damaged and thought it would be best not to be around Forrest. Jenny’s love by absence approach is a stark contrast to Forrest’s devoted and direct approach. To wrap it up, I learnt that we all deserve deserve happiness – Forrest gets to spend the rest of his life raising Little Forrest.