The World is a Cruel Place, BUT

Sometimes when you’re running against the darkness, you find someone who seems to know the best path out, someone who has run that road across a terrible landscape and come out alive and better. There aren’t a lot of ways to express the depth of gratitude for the work they put in.

Even if you never come to actually know them, the fact they helped you beat the darkness makes them feel like someone on your team, like the anchor of humanity’s worst and most fucked up relay.

And when you begin to flag a little bit because it doesn’t seem like the race is ever going to end, you can look up to someone like that, someone who showed you that it’s never too late to try to outrun the lies and bullshit the darkness will tell you to get you to slow down.

And then one day you realize, it isn’t a race at all, because a race has a finish line, and this thing fucking doesn’t.

It’s just a run. A long run. Along the way, you pick up running buddies, people you admire for their toughness, people who keep you running, people you never would have expected to turn something that can be so hard into something you can enjoy.

And so when you have run so hard ahead of the darkness that every horizon looks like a sunrise, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of those people who led you out got tired.

“Wait,” you think. “They had it figured out. They showed me how to run. They showed me the sun.”

Even leaders get tired.

Over time, it might be hard to tell difference between the fatigue of running & the darkness they are running against. It might be hard to lead the way for so many people. It might, it might, it might. That’s the thing. You never know what it might.

And then they are gone.

So, what the hell are you supposed to do then? When you have finally learned how to run, how do you keep going when you lose one of the people who showed you the way? What do you do when you start to doubt “the way” is actually the way?

I guess I don’t know.

But today I guess I’d say this:

If you feel like you’re running alone, look around and you will find others running, too. They may be running differently, maybe backward, blindfolded, or in some janky way that makes them stand out against the field. Find those people and run with them for a while.

Eventually, if you just keep running, you’ll find people who are running a lot like you. Even if they don’t know you, they will understand you. And they will lead you—not to a finish line—but toward that sunlight where being tired isn’t so tiring.

And here’s something you might not expect: you might look up one day and realize someone is following you while you run. They are matching your stride and keeping your pace. They are grateful to have found YOU.

Be proud of that and use it to keep running.

It’s crushing to see one of your running buddies fall off stride and slip away. It can make you want to double back and find them. Don’t do that. It’s not how it works, or at least, it’s not how you want it to work.

Keep your stride. Steady your breath. Allow yourself to confuse the tears on your face with the sweat of your struggle.

And don’t stop or double back. Look for the other runners. They are everywhere.

We are everywhere.

(I don’t always feel great about Twitter, but the degree to which this thread resonated among friends & people I’ve never met has been very comforting and reminds me how important it can be to just admit how guy-punched something can make you feel…and how alone we *aren’t*)

And since I woke up to all kinds of inspiring messages today, I will pass this on. It’s what I remind myself when I feel like I’ve felt since hearing about Anthony Bourdain.”

— Brad Willis

Transcribed by




I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present:




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