You wouldn't have heard of Anthony Pollaers Rowan, but you should have. In a world where too many people are quick to follow reality television stars who have little to no substance, we need a few more Anthony Pollaers Rowan's. In a world where people have little gratitude and continually take their lives for granted, we need a few more Anthony's.
I first met Anthony 5 years ago, he was a friend of my roommate and he came to visit for the weekend. It was noticeable right away that Anthony suffered from a disability, but I soon found out that this isn't entirely true. Whilst he may have a debilitating, rare and severe case of his condition he doesn't let his suffering control his life. This is what continually inspires me about Anthony, here is a young man without the conditions of happiness that other people so freely enjoy who still finds positivity in every moment.
Times haven't been easy for Anthony, he has a rare type of Myoclonus Dystonia which affects everything from his speech to his movement, he endured a full hip replacement before the age of 25, battled through years and years of bullying, real bullying, and not the type that everyone is quick to label these days. He found himself isolated in social settings, struggled to build relationships, and battled anxiety and depression, both a symptom of his condition and a by-product of the difficult and testing environment he grew up in.
A lot of people in this situation would pull the pin and throw up the white flag, a lot of people do when they 'suffer' from much less, but Anthony didn't and he still doesn't. If it wasn't for Anthony and his courage, motivation and inspiration I wouldn't be the person I am today. I would take my life for granted, feel sorry for myself when things weren't going my way and fail to realise that I have more than enough to be happy in this very moment. I hope Anthony inspires you in this same way because when I hear that a quarter of young Australians are unhappy with their lives I can't help but feel that if they spent just one hour in Anthony's shoes then they just might have a reason to feel this way.
I sat down with Anthony and asked him a few questions about how it was growing up, his aspirations and dreams, and how he is so happy.
How was it growing up?
It wasn’t easy because I was bullied pretty often at school. I found it hard to make any team sport because people would think I would lose the game for them, so I never really got a chance to even try. Building friendships was very difficult because of the bullying, I guess people didn't want to be associated with me. The friends I did have were all older in the grades above me, so it wasn't easy to go to social events when none of your friends are close to your age. I found that because of my disability that the people having the parties didn’t want me there because it would have been bad for their image or reputation.
I was very lucky, however, to have a strong family around me. I had great Grandparents that were there for me no matter what and I had a great Mother who did everything she could for me.
What are some of the difficulties you face every day?
Myoclonus Dystonia affects my speech and my movement. If I don’t sleep well, which I find difficult at the best of times, my speech gets a lot worse and my movement becomes worse and a lot more noticeable too, this makes it difficult to walk far distances and simply get around easily. Whilst my speech and movement hinders me, I’m very independent so I do everything for myself, because I don’t like asking for help.
It's hard for me to get a job because when I go to give my resume the first thing the employer sees is my disability and they go off that and don’t even talk to me or give me a chance. I believe if they did talk to me they would see I was smart, approachable and possibly have great ideas for their business. This makes it hard to be financially independent, which limits what I can and can't do.
Over the years I've suffered from depression, nowadays it's not as bad and I've learnt to manage it a lot better with the help of a strong circle of friends that I can always talk to.
What advice would you give to a young person who is battling with bullying, anxiety and depression?
Don't deal with it on your own - speak to someone whether it be a family member, friend, teacher, or doctor, just don’t deal with it on your own. It's not easy to talk about it, and I understand that, but when you do a massive weight is lifted off your shoulders like you wouldn’t believe.
What are you studying and why?
I’m studying music because music is known all over the world and any genre of music can be heard in any language in all corners of the globe. You can contribute to the world by making a beat that the world can hear and then relate to whether you live in Australia, America, Africa, Asia, The Middle East, or the UK, and that's pretty amazing.
When I was young I would spend hours each day listening to music. It was something I could listen to and find meaning and something to belong to. I’m passionate about music because I know music is relatable no matter where you are or who you are in the world and I believe that music can change the world - it is the universal language.
What inspires you? What are your hopes and dreams?
I hope to be able to contribute so I can enjoy more freedom and independence and help out my family. I don’t want to have to worry about money so much and all of the other small stuff.
How can you be so happy when things aren't exactly easy for you?
I’m happy because the people around me make me happy. I do have those 1 or 2 days were I’m not always the happiest person but everyone has those type of days. Even though things aren’t the easiest for me it makes me stronger and really pushes me more and more to succeed and prove all those people who doubted me wrong.
Let's throw some support behind a young man trying to get the most out of life and giving it a red-hot crack. If you're involved in the music industry, an artist or producer, why not be the person to give Anthony a taste of the industry. If passion, commitment and enthusiasm is anything to go by - Anthony will not let you down..... firstname.lastname@example.org
By Evan Sutter