— But seriously

‘Stay weird, stay different': The importance of Graham Moore's acceptance speech

The 2015 Academy Awards were mostly a blur of poorly delivered intros, odd musical numbers, and surprisingly awkward hosting courtesy of the usually amazing Neil Patrick Harris. However, amid the stumbles and flat jokes were a handful of heartwarming acceptance speeches given by Academy Award recipients, some that addressed important and timely issues like women’s rights and immigration.

But the speech that touched me the most was given by Graham Moore, screenwriter for The Imitation Game, while accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He said,

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird, and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird, or she’s different, or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different. And then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”

I couldn’t believe it. It was like Graham was speaking directly to me. And that’s definitely not something I’ve ever experienced while watching a ritzy, star-studded Hollywood awards show before. Actually, it’s not something I experience often, period.

Like Graham, I struggled with suicidal thoughts as a teenager. In fact, at the age of 15, I came incredibly close to ending my own life. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 10, and those feelings of darkness and hopelessness only got worse as time went on.

In high school, I had a lot of trouble making friends and finding people who understood me. Because of the medication I took to treat my depression, I became severely overweight. I wore ugly, baggy clothes and was incredibly socially awkward. I cried all the time and my mind was consumed by terrible, sad, and anxious thoughts that I couldn’t stop myself from expressing to others.

I felt like the weird girl, the depressed girl, the loner, the loser. I didn’t think anyone would ever truly care about me or love me. I constantly faced rejection from potential friends and the boys I had crushes on. It didn’t seem like anything would ever change or get better.

One night, I held a razor blade over my wrist, hoping to find the strength to push down and end the pain and loneliness once and for all. Luckily, something stopped me. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was a tiny sliver of hope that someday, things would be better. But I didn’t end my life. I asked for help, and spent the next month as an inpatient in an adolescent psych hospital.

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