Former Caloundra High school captain Brylee Eather told a room of 120 people why her ‘Chappy’ Stuart White meant the world to her.
Former Caloundra High school captain Brylee Eather told a room of 120 people why her ‘Chappy’ Stuart White meant the world to her.

Why Brylee Eather won't forget her chaplain

BRYLEE Eather was one of the special guest speakers at a fundraising dinner for Caloundra's chaplains.

Here's what the former Caloundra High school captain had to say.

Good evening distinguished guests, my name is Brylee Eather, I'm 18 years old, and I am currently six months into what majority of you oldies classify as the 'real world' and I'm surviving. 

Now, I'm not surviving because I got an op 8 in high school, or because I still live at home. I'm surviving because once upon a time an old wise man with sick dreddies taught me how to control the world and not let it control me.

When I was in grade 8, I was introduced to Chappy, when I was in grade 9, I met the happy side of Chappy, when I was in grade 10, I met the caring and loving side of Chappy and in grade 11, and I met Stuart White.

I could stand here and ramble on and on about how amazing my Chappy is, how loving he is and how incredible and fun he is, but it just doesn't feel like these words do him justice, so instead I'm going to tell you all a little story of how I came to meet Caloundra high's one and only Chappy Stu.

In a nut shell, high school is a place of stress and socialisation, where teachers teach, students learn, careers are made and vegemite sandwiches are a necessity.

But as I'm sure that you have all experienced, high school can be much more than that.

It's a place where rumours are created like a spider's web, where being rude becomes cool and where gaining one friend usually results in losing many.

Don't get me wrong, I loved high school, but that's because it's safe to say that I'm a fairly confident and outgoing person, whereas for those that are more reserved and quiet, it can be a whole different experience, and from what I have seen and heard, it can become very unpleasant very quickly.

Unfortunately, one of my friends was affected by this confusing stage of our lives midyear 11. Now, this friend of mine is possibly one of the most beautiful, brightest people I have ever met.

She has the most infectious smile that can light up a room and a special persona about her that can reflect light even on the shadiest of moments. But there was a reason as to why this friend of mine was always happy and positive, and it was because she was a bottler.

A bottler is someone that pushes away every emotion other than happiness and squeezes them all into this one tiny plastic bottle and hides it from everyone.

For a bottler, this method seems pretty effective for a while because they tend to forget one very important fact.

Plastic explodes.

Eventually all the anger and confusion and sadness has no more room to compress and all the bad tension and pressure and stress becomes too much and the bottle simply, explodes.

As every other teenager at the time, my friend has some issues; family rejection, untrustworthy friends, school expectations, future career pressure and last but definitely not least, those wonderful hormones that we all so experience.

Its one thing to have a mental breakdown to your mum every now and then, but it's a whole different story when one begins to hurt herself, and unfortunately my friend got to that stage, more mentally than physically, but nevertheless, hurting.

She was attacking herself with negative thoughts and had convinced herself that she was an expendable piece to the world's puzzle, that she didn't belong and no one wanted her or cared about her.

She felt alone and numb but instead of doing anything about it, she bottled it up, like always, put a smile on her gorgeous fair face and trod on.

'But one single person can only take so much. One normal school day we were sitting at lunch with the rest of our group and I noticed something that made me realise that there was a problem, that my perfect friend had holes, holes that no one knew about and no one had tried to fill.

My first reaction was to run, it scared me because no one wants to know that their friend is in pain and is sad, so I left. I ran to the bathroom, and cried.

There are 7 billion people in the world for a reason, we are not placed on this earth to be alone, the world wasn't created for everyone to live their own stories and follow their own indestructible and individual paths, we have personalities for a reason, we can communicate for a reason, and Chappy taught me that.

So instead of ignoring the matter, I decided to be what seemed the only person with enough selflessness to link themselves onto my friend's path and guide her into a new direction.

Sothe next lunch break I met up with her and screwed the lid of her tiny little bottle and watched her explode.

She opened up to me like she never had and told me all her troubles, she trusted me, and for that moment I honestly thought I would be strong enough to fill all her holes, all by myself.

I told her that I was here for her and that whenever she felt sad or angry that she had to call me so I could distract her from doing something regrettable.

And I did exactly that, for the next two months, I was her shoulder. I would stay up with her until midnight almost every night just so I could make sure she went to sleep okay, I would get messages and phone calls at 2am on a school night, maths exam the next day, and I would be there to reply.

But eventually, what were once my friend's problems slowly became mine as well as I began absorbing all her pain in an attempt to free her and without even noticing, I became the bottler.

Distracting my friend would last for so long, but I can't just distract her forever, I knew she had to deal with these issues and I knew I wasn't strong enough to help her all on my own.

So I took a leap. One day I walked into Chappy's office, sat down on his couch and cried.

I was so scared to break my promise of secrecy, to talk, and it wasn't easy.

Chappy saw my struggle, he knew I needed help. But instead of yelling at me or pressuring me to talk. He just patiently sat there and made me a hot chocolate and he just waited.

The lunch bell went and I hadn't really said a word so we organised to meet the next day, and as planned, I walked in, hot chocolate ready for me, and I began to talk, and I didn't stop.

I never told Chappy what race my friend was, how old she was, what her religion was, or how much she weighed, because Chappy didn't care.

He knew someone was hurting and he was there to fix that, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. 

I knew talking to Chappy about my friends situation would upset her, I knew she would hate me for it; I knew it would break us, but I knew it would help and quite possibly save her life.

Because of the seriousness of the situation Chappy decided that we had to talk to my friend.

Chappy promised me that it would be okay in the long run, he told me that what I did was a true act of love and that one day, even if it is years down the track, my friend would realise this and appreciate what I did, I may still be waiting for that day, but I'm sure when it comes, it will be like nothing ever came between us.

It was rough and I was scared and my friend was scared and angry and confused and lost, but at least we weren't alone anymore, at least we had one more person to add to our mess of a path we had created.

Over the next few weeks, Chappy worked with both myself and my friend separately and finally managed to make my friend smile again.

She began to believe in herself and finally she began feeling like she deserved the life she had and I will be forever grateful towards Chappy for helping my friend find her path again.

Chappy never gave up on us and it's such an amazing feeling having someone if your life that values your existence more than anyone, having someone that believes in you and cares about you.

Someone so selfless that without even a second thought, jumped in to the deep end of our thoughts.

Someone so mentally strong to take on our pressure, to absorb our troubles and to live through our eyes for a moment and not break. Someone so understanding, that no matter how lost we felt, looked, seemed, he never judged.

My friend went from rock bottom, a girl afraid of everything, to completing high school with outstanding results, aspiring to follow onto uni, working to save money to travel around Europe in a few months by herself and finding a man that treats her like a princess every moment of everyday and falling in love.

She has grown into a beautiful and confident young lady that is embracing her future with both hands and loving every moment of it and I am, and I imagine Chappy is, very proud of her and her achievements and growth over the past few years.

Without Chappy's guidance I couldn't even begin to imagine where my friend would be now, I can't even bring myself to think of the possibilities.

Chappy taught me that it's okay to be sad, it's okay to be scared, it's okay to feel lost sometimes, but it's not okay to let those feelings control your attitude and beliefs, don't let them control you and don't hide them.

Chappy taught me the value of life and how to appreciate it and embrace it, how to find the beauty in things and how to recognise the beauty in myself.

I may have lost a friendship, but Chappy helped me save a life, and that something that I will be forever grateful for.

You are truly an inspiration to the lost and scared percentage of our generationand generations to come Chappy Stu.

The world needs more people like you.

Thank you for listening.

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