You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem, And Smarter Than You Think

One fine day in April, as the shimmering, coppery sun, glowed through the pearly clouds, a ragged, quivering mass of bones staggered across the humongous and towering building. Yes you got that right, that petrified little soul was me. An innocent soul deprived off all hardships and hostility until then, when I all stepped into the thematically dressed black and white tiles, that resembled a chessboard, and all the dazed freshers, the pawns in this game. I had carved a very idyllic image of my high school. But that artistically carved image imbibed into the depths of my heart, was shattered like a bright shooting star torn across the night sky, when I realized that I am beginning a journey of friendship, heartbreak, jealousy and anxiety. I was lost like a wrecked ship in a shoreless sea. In my heart’s temple reside a plethora of kaleidoscopic memories. Memories that are timeless and precious. Yes, there were some jabs and hateful comments that made some deep wounds that even the knife was lost in them, but I learnt do not be lost in those vain comments. There were people who were toxic and cancerous to my dreams. Many left no stone unturned to grate my bright and mellow spirit into a crushed foam of abuse. People will always try to drag you down, ruin you and your reputation, and leave you like a hollow ship that is sinking deep into the merciless ocean. In reality, those people are seething with jealousy, for they know are the best and you have the power to conquer this whole world. I think that you all will agree that high school is all about those meaningless fights, the constant drama and gossip, plethora of heartbreaks, jealousy, hatred, and endless peals of laughter. It’s a box full obstacles and deceptions, nights where your heart is bleeding and your soul shattering into a million pieces. You learn to master the art of etching fake smiles, but then from the crowd rises a pillar that gives you a shoulder to lean upon. A shoulder that drinks the endless ocean of your tears that you shed.

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We are a dismal ocean and that pillar is the tempest that will pushes us to rise to the pinnacle of glory. Our heart is yet to encounter other afflictions- the pain of realizing that your best friend is leaving you to study overseas, the rejection letter from your favorite university or the harsh truth that you will no longer be sheltered and nurtured by you parents and teachers. But in the midst of this raging storm will lie our happiness. Happiness that will create a bright future for us – the ecstasy of starting university, the joy of finishing our exams, and the last day of wearing the dreaded school uniform. It is an enigmatic year, where I am amazing friends with people I barely knew, the jovial night of our ball when I felt pure bliss and euphoria with my friends, and the deep moments of silence when we bask in the comfort of each other. In our thirst to grow up, and escape high school, we failed to see the sprouting happiness that lurks around us, and fills the impenetrable voids of darkness. The sad and pitiful memories still reside deep within my heart, however the glorious moments still triumph. As I stand here talking to you all, I am overwhelmed by the immense memories that envelope me, cocooning my heart with a gentle hug, filing my eyes with unshed tears of joy until I am drowning in them. This year flew like a strong zephyr, but now as I reminisce about my past I have realized that we were all broken shards, who were splintered differently, but each shard was unique and beautiful in its own way. A story that appeared in my tedious year 9 literature paper changed my outlook towards life. It made me realize how futile we can be..

The story about a teenage boy goes something like this – My mom had only one eye. I hated her for she was such an embarrassment for me that I confronted her one day and said, “If you’re only going to make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?” She did not respond. I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because of my anger. I studied really hard and went abroad for my higher study. In due course, I managed to get good job, got married, bought own house , had kids of my own, became happy with my life. Then one day, my Mom came to visit me.

When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!” My mom quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have got the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight. After few months, I had a school reunion and I went to the locality of our old house. My old neighbors said that my mom died. I did not shed a single tear for her. But they handed me a letter that she wanted me to have.

“My dearest son, I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up. You see, when you were very little, you got into a major accident and lost one of your eyes. That day as a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up and live with only one eye, when I was having two eyes. So I decided to give you one eye of mine. I was so proud of my son who is seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye. With all my love to you, Your mom.”

Did this heart wrenching story make you realize how your attitude could rip someone’s life away? Can you reconcile to the fact that your hatred towards a person was unjustified; for that person was your guardian angel? There are moments when we are spiraling stilly, contemplating that slender trail of subtle thought that gives us nightmares and restless sleep. When our light is failing and we feel that we are tangled in the web of life. But never let your anguish be the cause of someone else’s pain. There was and will be a voice that will reek of venomed melody, trying to tarnish you. But you are not blemished. When you look in the mirror you will see a person who is outstanding and bulletproof. You are not a failure just because you committed mistakes, but you are wiser as you learnt from them. You are not a reflection of someone else’s opinion about you. You are not anchored to a port, but rather you are striding swiftly towards your final destination. I cannot give you false hope that our lives will be cherry trees that are a sea of velvety perfume, but I want to iterate that life can be quite daunting and stressful. I cannot lie that you will not stumble across people who will hurt you, crush you or break your heart. However, what I can vouch for is the fire in your soul that will push you forward, and burn all those who stand in your way to achieve what you deserve. Hope is not something that will be bestowed upon you, you have to delve deep into yourself- you have to learn to trust yourself, believe in yourself, and love yourself, and it is only then that you find hope and when there is hope there is happiness and it is then that you unleash the ultimate power to achieve the zenith.

Remember to move forward with resilience and hope, and conquer the wintry forest of your life. Promise me you will never back down, promise me you will be always humble, promise me you will try not to hurt others, but most of all promise me that you will love yourself and never change yourself for the sake of others. These words have never seemed so true – “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Winnie The Pooh

13 January 2020

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