If you’ve ever come across a video by the user boogie2988 on Youtube, you already know what I am about to say. Boogie2988, or as his alter ego is known by, Francis, has been putting out funny, touching and amazing parody videos for many years. But that wasn’t always the story.
As told in a video on his channel, Boogie was neglected by an alcoholic, coalminer father and blasted with physical and pathological abuse from his mother on a daily basis as a child. Boogie 2988, or as he was once known, Steven Williams had a rough upbringing. Arkansas can be a tough place to grow up, especially in such a dysfunctional household where truth was as strange as fiction. As it is with many people with psychological trauma, Williams escape was yet another enemy: food.
“I was born into a home where I was unwanted and tortured. I mean literally tortured,” he recalls. “Burned, cut, stabbed, choked, you name it. Food was the only comfort I had.”
Those words are hard to read. How a young child could be so broken by his parents is a crime and could send most people into despair, which is exactly what happened to Williams.
He spent years locked in his house. 7 years exactly. He didn’t go outside or exercise at all. He instead dove into the world of online gaming and writing code. It was early on in the tech boom and he was finding work from his house and he was happy with the little or no human interaction. After his parents died, Williams tried to find his way and he was doing a good job after teaching himself code but the work was starting to dry up for outside freelancers.
As his life progressed, so did the weight gains and soon Williams started to suffer financial and medical turmoil as he approached his mid-30s. As his self-loathing continued, it started to make other parts of his life difficult. Williams was trying to find work but was rejected from over 200 jobs in large part due to his morbid obesity being a health insurance liability. He was 550 pounds and depressed.
“I was socially isolated, and the only money I received was through disability support,” he says.
Despondent and desperate, it wouldn’t be enough for Williams to get even with his troubles — he had to pull ahead of them.
As he says in his brutally honest Youtube Video: Draw My Life; “It’s as simple as this: YouTube saved my life.” He started posting videos as a self-therapy and it slowly turned into his identity, his passion and his career. It wasn’t until his second year using the channel that he was able to earn enough to no longer need to rely on disability pensions.
He made new friends, found new fame and even discovered love through a fan who later became his wife. By 2010 he got off disability and by the time 2013 rolled around he was financially stable earning his living from his Youtube business.When asked how much he earns he reluctantly says; “I try to not discuss how much I make too often, but I’m doing as well as a high-level office executive.” Well done Boogie2988…well done.
But not everything is a fairytale. Williams continues to battle his health issues.
Boogie2988 still suffers from occasional bouts of severe depression and anxiety, and is trying to shed a significant number of pounds so he can participate in weight-loss surgery. While he’s motivated, hes also a realist.”Food is a language I speak every word in, and I have to learn another language — specifically, the language of starvation.”
Mentally, he is equally challenged by trying to move past the horrors of his youth.”I have a pretty strong emotional disconnect. Happiness is something I never thought I’d achieve. It’s something I have a hard time achieving most days. I only wanted to be content. I wanted to be free of pain, depression, negative memories and night terrors. That’s all I ever wanted. Through my wife, I have discovered joy.”
Williams is hoping thats enough to keep him on the path to a better life. To learn more about his story, follow him on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4_bwov47DseacR1-ttTdOg