Draw My Life – Ryan Higa

So I was never gonna do a Draw My Life video, because to be honest, I personally don’t think my life is nearly as dramatic or interesting as somebody other Draw My Lifes that I have seen. But because a couple of you keep asking, well, maybe more than a couple of you, I am gonna draw my life or at least what I call drawings. You’ll see. It all started off on June 6, 1990. I was born in Hilo, Hawaii, a small town where I grew up. I was lucky enough to have two loving parents that I look up to even till today. I also have an older brother who I’ve always felt competitive with my whole life. He was always better then me in everything. He would beat me in challenges, competitions, video games and, of course, he was naturally gifted in judo. See, judo played a big part in my family being that both my brother and I pretty much did it our whole lives. Well at age 5, when I first started, I hated judo because I was terrible at it. My brother, on the other hand, was like a judo club star pupil. All of our senseis, or teachers for those who don’t speak french, loved him. I was probably on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. Anyway, my brother would almost always win in every tournament we entered. While I, on the other hand, would be lucky to place third out of three people that is. I remember specifically hearing in a tournament a man say, “Oh, this is the younger Higa, not the good one.” But I couldn’t even get mad because it was true. Anyway in elementary school, from kindergarten to fifth grade, I really don’t remember much. All I can remember is that I hated judo. And I had the hugest crush on a girl. Not gonna say her real name but let’s call her Nicole. I was pretty much in love with Nicole or at least what a 7 year old thinks love is but I was too shy and scared to say anything to her until years later. But we’ll come across that later. After fifth grade, I moved schools for middle school. Sixth grade was specifically a terrible year for me. Not only did I lose all my friends because it was a new school but because it was a charter school we all had to take tests to see where we would be placed, I guess. and for some reason, I got placed with the older kids. At the time, I thought this was a good thing because i thought older kids will think I’m cool because I skipped a grade, however, it was pretty much the opposite. So this is the part of story that most of you don’t know about because I was never really addressed it publicly but I know a lot of you watching this can relate. So, I got bullied a lot. You know, nothing really crazy just your typical getting pushed down to the ground, being made fun of for no reason. And yes, I remember every single one of them including the worst of them again not gonna use a real name but we’ll call him Richard because as you know, another name for Richard is dick. See, Dick was such a Richard to me that I’d actually made excuses to my mom why i couldn’t go to school or why I needed to change schools. So I was hating life at the time and wondering why someone so mean could be so popular by picking on me. Even up to the point when i had some darker thoughts at the time that I think most, if not all, teenagers go through at some point in their lives or perhaps it was just puberty messing with my head.
I don’t know. However, I was able to stick it out and I actually found a way to end the bullying on my own terms. I noticed that the reason Dick was bullying me was to make people laugh so I figured that if I can make them laugh and become the funny guy, they would stop treating me like I was less than them and surprisingly, it worked. Every time they made fun of me, I ran with it and I made fun of myself even more than they could. Kind of like that last rap battle that Eminem did in 8 Mile except that movie didn’t exist at the time so he pretty much stole my idea. It’s all good though, me and Eminem are like best friends forever now. Not really. I still didn’t have many friends but at least I wasn’t getting bullied any more but from that point on I wanted be funny. I started picking up my mom’s VHS camcorder and recording little skits and videos for my family to watch. They loved it! Of course, some of my cousins would be like, “You need to get a life, Ryan.” But it became a traditional thing. Every Sunday I’d have a new video for them to watch and laugh at. In eighth grade, I finally reconnected with Nicole. You know the girl I had a crush on since elementary school? She was still at the other middle school where all my friends were, but I somehow became in contact with her again through MSN Messenger. A lot of you might not know what that is now, but it was like the Facebook of that time. Well, when I finally had the courage to ask her out, I got completely rejected. No explanation. No excuse. Just a straight up, “No.” Nothing more. And I’m not gonna lie, that bothered me for a long time. It didn’t just make me sad, it made me very unconfident. It was devastating to me at the time. Then high school came around. Up until that point I considered myself a complete loser. I always saw myself as less than everyone. Nicole got a boyfriend. I was less than him. My old elementary school friends had found new friends that they became close with. I was less than them. My brother, who had just left for college, not only left high school with honors, but he ended up placing second in the state for high school judo. Which, as you know, in my family is a big deal, so yeah. I was less than him, too. I was back at square one. I had a few acquaintances but little to no close friends. Even the kids I considered nerds had friends. They had each other. In my mind I wasn’t anybody. I was less than everyone. I looked forward to class more than recess and lunch because at least that way I could sit somewhere and not look like a complete loner. And then it happened. One of the most momentous occasions of my life: I joined the wrestling team And I know what you’re thinking: “Wrestling is just a sport.” Well, to me, it wasn’t. It literally changed my life and well almost ended it at the same time. I remember this one time I had to lose roughly 16 pounds in a week to make my weight class. This was, by far, the most I’ve ever had to lose in such a short amount of time. So I disciplined myself to survive on half a can of tuna and roughly 32 ounces of water a day. Pretty sure I would have died had my teammate Landon not found me collapsed on a run. Sorry, mom. You’re just finding out about this now. It was probably one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do in my life but it was by my own choice just to prove to myself that anything can be done with enough effort. Sure enough, I made it to 102 pounds.
A whole pound under my weight class. From that point on, I felt like a completely new person. I didn’t feel like a loser anymore. I felt like I could get anything I wanted in life as long I put the work in. By the time high school was over, I was lucky enough to earn a state championship wrestling title. And just like my brother, second in the state for judo, even with a dislocated elbow. I had lots of friends, most of which were fellow wrestlers. You might recognize some of them from my videos. I even had a girlfriend. No, not Nicole. Someone that I thought was even more beautiful and perfect for me. Oh, and those videos I made for my family every Sunday? I decided to start putting them on this Web site called YouTube so I wouldn’t have to physically bring them a copy. And little did I know, a few other people found them and started sharing them as well. Before I knew it, I was consistently getting thousands of views every day and comments kept telling me to do it so I did. However, my parents really wanted me to get a college degree. So for the first time in my life, I left Hawaii to attend UNLV for a degree in nuclear medicine. I hated it. I was spending most of my days and nights learning about something I had no interest in. The workload between college and posting YouTube videos just became too much and my girlfriend remained in Hawaii, so the long distance thing wasn’t helping either. I realized that, once again, I was completely stressed out and unhappy. So after about two years into college, my girlfriend and I broke up. and I finally ended up telling my parents that I’m dropping out to pursue this YouTube thing. It took a little while, but to my surprise, they became completely supportive. And because of that, thanks to my parents, thanks to wrestling, thanks to my bullies, thanks to not only the good but the bad experiences in my life, and, of course, thanks to all of you watching right now I am who I am today because of all of you. Like everyone, I still go through highs and lows but ultimately, I’m completely happy. This is my real life story. No, I’m telling you this because I want to brag about my life or because I want you to feel sorry for me ’cause I was bullied when I was younger or whatever. I’m telling you this story because I know for a fact that there are a lot of you watching this right now that are going through the same things I went through when I was younger. And I wanted to let you know that life will get better if you choose to make it better. It’s okay to be sad and angry now and then. There are some things that may be out of your control like a bully that picks on you or a boy or girl that rejects you or even a sibling that outshines you. But the one thing that you and only you control is your perspective and your actions. Being depressed and feeling sorry for yourself is easy. I challenge you to change that today. Happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy. Choose to better your life because only you can make that decision. You’re not less than anyone. There are only two things that can stop you: your own mind and your own body. Some might argue that there’s a third and say your heart as well but if you’ve been on my channel long enough you already know that even with heart it’s still less than three.

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