Better Love

I’m a little wounded, but I am not slain; I will lay me down to bleed a while. Then I will rise and fight again. – John Dryden

Visualize. Inhale. Grip the bar. Backward Giant. Straddle back to handstand. Piroette. Fly Away. Stick the landing. You got this. Exhale. 

Life tells you “no” a lot. And we accept it more then we should. But eventually you get to a point where “no” isn’t an option. You stand there and ask yourself why you accept defeat so easily. Then you get mad. You get frustrated. And that’s when you decide to change. That’s when you make a difference. Damaged people are dangerous because they know how to survive, and damn, you’ve survived.

It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve used uneven bars. 8 years since everything came crashing down. 8 years since they said I could never do this again. Never is an awfully long time and I’m impatient. 

The shadow of your past self lingers in the background. It haunts your every action, dictating your next move and how you should react to certain situations. It reminds you that this world will not give you hand outs, that you must work hard to achieve your goals and even then, it may be taken away from you. It brings back flashes of the kicks and each punch left by your bullies, the “you’re not good enough’s” and the internal bruises from the punching bag that you created for yourself. The shadow pulls you aside on a constant basis, whispering in your ears how you are nothing without it, without the struggles you two have been through together. Maybe it’s time to realize that at one point, it was the reason you worked harder, faster, stronger, and bolder. But it isn’t the reason anymore. Your shadow is abusive. Cruel. And isn’t it time for you to deserve something better?

I could fall again. Hurt myself. Oh I’ve hurt myself too many times. What if I can’t recover this time? I’m still healing… But if I do catch the bar. If I do the rotation. Oh how I can fly once again. God I’ve missed flying. 

Leaving your comfort zone is scary. The familiar is something that would tell you that there was darkness lurking just around the corner. That your future was an abyss of unknown and that light in your life could never exist there. It was an irrational fear of second-guessing new friends, staying on edge, all because of your broken, bullied, and bruised past. Mumbles of slanders and insults as you lay awake at 4 in the morning, wondering where everything went wrong, replaying all the lives that you should be living. The familiar broke you. Pommeled the already shattered pieces into dust and blew it on the ground before your bloodied knees and stitched pride. And this is why, your past shadow, your familiar, with all of its cooing and songs, should cease to write its way in your story. It will still have a place in your heart, just no longer in your life. It will be in your mentions, but no more than a passing word or two. It doesn’t deserve a sentence. Over time, your departure from your comfort zone no longer brings fear. Your past has been left behind and the life that you’re creating is so much better than you ever imagined. For the first time in forever you have options. You can leave. The once void of nothingness has transformed into a windy road filled with adventure. Opportunities. Aspirations. By letting go, you are finally free. Free from the judgment that weighed you down. Free from the failure and insults that constantly haunted your smile. You can finally be happy, and not the happy when you put a smile on for the world when you’re actually breaking inside. But truly, over the top, genuine all-smiles euphoric. The kind that is contagious. The kind that brings joy to others around you. You may not be any of these things yet but you will get there. You just have to breathe.

Don’t be scared. Just let go of the bar. I can land this. 

Everything is silent. You shut your eyes as hard as you can and let go of the top bar. Fly away. Stick the landing. Your feet come into contact with a hard surface. Your muscles activate as you regain your balance. Your eyes are still closed but you’re grinning from ear to ear. Your friends are cheering. Finally you open your eyes and turn to face the apparatus that tormented you over the past 8 years.

I may not be where I was but I am exactly where I need to be. 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fragility of Relationships

For the first time, I’m finally free. I’m learning to be happy. I have the weight lifted from my shoulders. I can fly away. 

Humans are complex beings. Their traits fluctuate in the sequence of waves, but at the end of the day, personalities are the things that make them memorable. What’s that quote again? Something along the lines of people aren’t going to remember what you wear or look like, but how you make them feel. I’m going to stray from my usual writing style to get personal and real with you, whoever you may be: you will never know what goes on inside someone’s mind, and you shouldn’t take it personally.

It’s funny how situational a lot of friendships are. When you are in a city for a certain number of years, surrounded by a group of strangers (some of which eventually turn into friends), you start to form connections. Co-workers, acquaintances, partners, and friendships. You develop these connections because that’s what human nature tells you to do, but the strength of them cannot be determined until the situation of which everything is based off, differs. When you graduate, when you move away, when the rest of your life starts to occur. All of a sudden you’re in a new city, far away from those relationships that you formed over the course of the last 4 -5 years, and everything is different. But not necessarily in a bad way. You quickly realize who is there when you need them, who you decide to still make the time for, and who you cut. I know that sounds harsh but let’s be frank, there are some people that no matter how much you try to convince yourself that you’re meant to stay friends, don’t make the list. And you’ll probably never know why they have that effect, but that’s just how it is. And if you are one of the people who is suddenly removed from the life of your friends, don’t take it personally. Explanation given or not, the circumstances of your friendship has changed and that’s just how life is. No one said it would be fair. But there is no need to be upset, you have no idea how you affect those around you. You will never know what goes on inside someone’s mind, and you shouldn’t take it personally. 

When you move away, that fog that clouds your judgement, begins to lift. Everything becomes clearer. The people you once thought you couldn’t live without become distant as you realize everything was superficial. You remain grateful about the memories formed with them and you will always wish them happiness for their future, but your time together has run its course. It’s time to move on. Some relationships become questionable. Neither party really wants to put in the effort to speak to the other due to time straints, schedules, or emotional baggage but they still care for one another. These become the ones where you no longer make the time for the other person but if you happen to be in the area, you send a message informing them of such and if you both are free, you grab a quick coffee. These individuals have been transformed to a “I want to remain in contact if it’s convenient at the time for both of us” friend. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is the reality of starting your new life. Finally, some relationships are worth salvaging, and those are the ones that come with ease. The ones where trust is a two-way street and your intentions and morals are never questions. Where not speaking for a couple of weeks doesn’t raise panic, but an understanding that the other person has begun the rest of their lives as well. Those relationships are the ones that last.

I don’t know which category I fall under with a lot of people I know, and that’s alright because for a lot of people, I am still figuring out where they fall. All I know are the select few that I know to be special, and those are the ones where communication isn’t strained or stressful. Your social circle gets both larger and smaller as you grow-up. It expands in the sense that you meet new cohorts of individuals everyday, for the rest of your life. It shrinks in the fact that no matter how many people enter and exit your life, you limit the number who get to enter those barriers that you have posted so vigorously. And your relationship with them strengthens into titanium. And when life takes you away to new adventures, you know that they will always just be a phone call away.

People are fragile. When they are hurt or confused, they run away. It is not your job to chase them. There is a reason they are running and if you chase them, you may be dragging them back to a place they don’t want to be. You are stopping them from spreading their wings and experiencing freedom. You may not even know that you are doing it. Don’t be offended when ties are cut without explanation. Take the moment to realize that you don’t know who you are in someone else’s eyes. Smile at the memories, put them somewhere safe, take a deep breath, and continue with the rest of your life.

Because oh what a beautiful life it will be.

You just have to live it.

 

Little Boxes We Can’t Throw Away

What am I doing? Why am I here again? I was fine. I was coping. What happened? 

Your heart is heavy inside your chest. A deep breath in feels like a thousand knives. Your head is racing a million miles a minute and you don’t know why. Or how to shut it off. Sleep is non-existent but it’s been like that for almost a year now and you’ve given up trying to figure out the root cause. So you sit. Or drown yourself in work. Or blast your music as loud as you can. Anything to block out the numbness and hollow feeling that is trying to settle itself back into your life. Whatever you do, just don’t scream.

I’ve done a lot. I’ve lived a life. There’s no reason for me to be like this. People have had it far worse. Snap out of it. SNAP OUT OF IT. 

You’re sitting by a campfire. Laughter fills the air as you catch up with friends from your past. You smile as you remember how pure and wonderful they are. You’re doing your best to push The Voice out of your head. I don’t want to listen to you right now. Leave me alone…. please. Then it hits you. Like a brick wall. And you want to crumble. Collapse. Run. Oh how badly you want to run. But you can’t. You’re stuck. While everyone else is moving forward with their lives, here you remain. Like the fallen of Pompeii. You’ll remain where you are forever and it’s a reality that you refuse to accept. You refuse to accept it but you don’t know how to change it. Chin up, fake a smile, carry on. 

You’re on that site again. Scrolling through photos after photos of self-destructive behaviour. You know what you’re doing is wrong. Irrational. Silly. But you can’t stop. You crave more. The Voice has taken control once again and you’re too tired to fight it. You’ve been fighting it for so long now. You just want a break. You’re tired of fighting. You want to sleep. Be at peace. You’re hoping that by giving in you can try to understand what it’s telling you. Put yourself in The Voice’s shoes. Maybe this will all make sense then. I know it won’t. But I’m oh so very tired. 

It’s not that you’re done with life. Far from it. It’s that fact that you’re carrying the weight of all the lives you should be living. The world is on your shoulders and you don’t want to put it down. Or you can’t. You don’t want to let people down. But how can you let them down when you don’t even know what you’re doing. You have no idea where you are going but somehow everyone else does. You want to live so badly that it’s debilitating you.

Get out of my head. Get out of my head. GET. OUT. OF. MY. HEAD. 

You look at The Voice in the mirror.

Oh how badly you want to smack that grin off their face.

But you know you won’t.

There’s an odd comfort in the familiar. 

Salty Eyes and Midnight Skies

How does one react to this. Don’t scream, don’t cry, don’t breathe. The others are sleeping, no need to wake them. This is personal. This is you. Compartmentalize.

It’s 2 am and your laying wide awake in a hostel bed, in a city on the other side of the world, in a country that doesn’t speak a word of your local language. You stare at your phone. There’s been an incident. He’s fine, but we’re keeping him for observation. You knew that this day was coming. For months you’ve been telling him to go to the check-ups. You begged him to get clearance from his GP before going on a 3 weeks trek in the hills of Italy. 

What do I do now? I can’t go home. I can’t tell people here. I can’t tell anyone. Oh god, even my brother doesn’t know what’s going on. Am I supposed to tell him? I can’t do that. Why is this happening? Anyone? What did I do that was so horrible that my family has to suffer? 

How do you deal with family aliments when they refuse to disclose what’s going on? You dig. You call the doctors. You track down the nurses. You pull every string imaginable because this is family. This is the man you raised you. Who despite your ups and downs, and there were many, would cheer for you at the top of his lungs. Who didn’t understand all of your decisions but you knew that he was trying to be supportive. All of a sudden every argument, every bad word and every “leave me alone!” vanishes and is replaced with sorrow. A heavy weight is placed on your chest. It’s familiar and foreign at the same time. You know the next steps. You also know that he’s going to fight for his life because he has to. And you know that you’re going to be right by his side once again. You know that you’re going to have to be strong and not let it show. You can’t let him know how terrified you are. You don’t need to distract him. You need to focus and so does he. You two will get through it.

But right now? It’s 2am and you’re on the other side of the world. At 2 am you can break. You can plead. You can get angry with the universe. But do so quietly. Do so silently. And in 10 minutes, never do it again.

Compartmentalize

Lying to the Mirror

It’ll be fine. Oh come on, don’t be like that. You’ve had quite a lot to drink. You can trust me.

You wake up in a pool of sweat. You want to scream but are petrified into silence. Is this what hell feels like? You turn your head to the bunk next to you. How is it that you can travel across the globe and still never escape the nightmares? You’re kicking yourself because of all the progress you made. You’re kicking yourself because after only one week you’re back to square one. They are fast asleep but their slumber keeps you on edge. You toss in your bed and try to shut it out once again. But that’s the thing about fears, sometimes they demand to be felt.

No, I don’t want to. Go away. Why can’t I lift my arms? I’m drunk, please leave me alone. Stop.

You’re walking down the street in a market town. Stalls are set up on every corner and locals greet you hello with a friendly smile. Colours of silk are sprouting in the streets and the joy of bargaining is heard around you. You want this memory to be a good one. You want to be at peace and make the most of your travels. With all your being you want to forget your past. But you can’t. Please don’t talk to me. Please just go grab your beer and don’t say anything. Please please please. They turn around and wave you over to one of the nearby stalls. It’s a trinket of various faces animated onto fruit. They tell you that they thought you’d like it. You fake a smile and do the laugh you’ve perfected over the past couple of years. And then you thank them.

What happened last night? Oh my God. No. no no no. This can’t be real. I must be having a nightmare. Wake up, wake up. WAKE UP!!

Sitting in the lounge of your hostel, you talk to your fellow backpackers. They tell you tales of places they’ve gone and what they’ve seen. Your whisked away into a world of adventure and wanderlust. For a moment you forget. You’re so engrossed in the conversation that you lose track of time. Dusk has transformed into the darkness of 2am skies. Someone mentions bed. A flicker of despair appears in your eyes for half a millisecond. No one notices. You keep quiet as you head to your dorm. Nights are the worse. That’s when they return. That’s when you have to force yourself out of deep slumber because the uneasiness you feel is paralyzing. That’s when the nightmares make an appearance.
Travelling is an experience.
A time to open your eyes to the world.
To open your heart to those around you.
But no one tells you that it also reopens parts of you. Parts that you thought were good and locked away. Parts that you’ve avoided for so long and are now forcing themselves into the limelight.

Don’t scream. Don’t run. Just get through it.

Please

Growing Up and Growing Apart

Stop it. You’re doing it again. Snap out of it. This isn’t you… or is it?

There’s no way of knowing how you are going to react to any individual. Normally, one is kinder to strangers than to their own family but why is that? Why is it that no matter how happy, free, spirited and patient you are with others, when it comes to your family the fuse is short. It’s like lighting a match in the middle of a wind storm. Short-lived, frustrating, and a waste of time.

More often then not, there is not one particular thing that they do which makes you lash out. And by all means, most of the time they mean well but because you’re so used to living on your own, having someone come in and try to micro-manage is a bit of a headache. An unwanted nuisance. They doesn’t mean to be like this. They just wants you part of their life. When you finally speak up and tell them to stop touching your things, to stop telling you what you can and can’t eat, they explode. They throw a tantrum like a 6year old child. You are left feeling so guilty as screams and slammed doors echo in the background. All I said was to stop going through my things. I like privacy. I’m a horrible daughter. 

The thing is, it’s hard for loved ones to welcome you back into their lives once you’ve been away for so long. People can change a lot in a couple of days, let alone weeks, months or even years. They learn to grow apart from the person they were raised from, obtain opinions of their own, and gain knowledge on different aspects of life. They say knowledge is power or the key to success. This is untrue. Knowledge is crippling. It deliberates one from the world that they once knew and shoves them into a new one. Knowledge is a scary thing, especially when it’s understood. When you’re six years old and running through the park, all you know is that you’re parents know what’s best. That your sibling will be by your side no matter what. That anything that is told to you must be true because lying is wrong. When you’re 12, the world starts to change shape. You start to argue with your sibling about what you believe is correct versus their version. You listen to your parents but begin to question their methods on certain things. You’re twelve but you start to gain the knowledge that perhaps not everything is what it seems. Jump to 18years. You’re going away for school and leaving everyone behind. The world that you have created and survived throughout your teenage years is about to enter the O.R. and put under the knife. When you come out, you’re outside appearance will remain relatively intact however, your interior will have shifted, been replaced, and parts removed all-together. And the knowledge that you store has expanded exponentially. What makes this transformation both beautiful and terrifying is that there is no way of telling. Your scars are hidden within your body, and your life experience only slightly leaks through your eyes. Your hairs have turned grey with stress as the weight of the world pushes down on your shoulders. You visit your loved ones after all that time apart and you begin to question everything.

Stop it. Bite your tongue. Just let them do what they always do, it’s only temporary. Enjoy your time with them when you can. No need to start an argument.

Too late. A slip and you’ve upset them again. You accidentally corrected them on a terminology, you discussed a touchy topic, you put your toe out of line and before you know it, the storm has arrived. You try to apologize but they won’t have it. Annoying. Worthless. Ungrateful. Stupid child. Fat troll. Why do you even come here, you don’t belong. 

Home is where the heart is but homelessness is all we know.

 

True Love

The story below occurred approximately 3 years ago at a party 


 

The other night I went to a friend’s ABC Christmas party to celebrate the end of exams. Originally I was not planning on attending the event, however something inside of me last minute decided that it would be a good idea. That decision was probably one of my better decisions in life.

The party was scheduled to commence at 8:30pm so, naturally, I arrived swiftly at 9:30pm when the party was actually going to start, however upon my arrival I quickly noticed that I was the first “non-resident” to arrive. Oops. Casually I began drinking my beer and was just quietly taking note of what was happening around me. Two of the girls who were hosting the party were taking shots from an “ice-luge” that they had created earlier that week, while the others were attempting to play beer-pong and dance with the music blasting in the background. Luckily, it took about ten minutes before other people started to arrive and by 10 o’clock the party was in full swing. That night, having just finished my last exam, I had gone to the party to have some fun. Just enjoy the company of people and not care what I do. That did happen, but not in the way that I had in mind.

Having located and claimed my spot on the wall, close enough to the music and people that it would look like I am participating in various activities but far enough that if I chose to not dance it wouldn’t be noticeable, I was quite content slowly sipping my beverage. I assumed that not many people would notice me as invisibility is one of my greatest powers. Beside me I saw this man, scrawny looking but looked like he had intelligence in him and did some physical activity such as hiking or biking. This boy looked so lost and out of place at the party. I don’t know why I decided to introduce myself, what quality about him made me compelled to talk with him but I did. I introduced myself and he told me his name was Max. Max was 21, looked to be about 6ft tall, Caucasian (European decent for sure), and he wore a black t-shirt and dark blue jeans. His hair was short and brown, a little bit unruly but not so much that it was unbearable. His name suited him. Max asked me if I attended school in the area and I informed him that yes, I did go to the local University and was studying Human Kinetics in hopes to becoming a doctor some day. He looked at me with confusion, telling me that he didn’t know what HK was. I told him that it was a cross between Sports Medicine and Bio-medical Science. Max seemed slightly impressed and when I asked what he did he said that he doesn’t attend school but is actually an entrepreneur who is in the process of creating these zipper-shoes. He told me that his passion is to one day create an empire. He then continued to talk and tell me about all of his ideas and creations. One of which was to combine the concept of Religion and Science. This is where it got interesting.

We started to get into a heated conversation about the trinity and the coming of Earth. Now in the bible (as I am told because I have never actually read it) it says that God created the world in 7 days, however being in science, I know that statement is false and in fact it took billions of years to create the physical entity that we call our planet. Although this is true, Max started to mention how that although the Earth took billions upon billions of years to be created, the spiritual aspect of Earth took 7 days. 7 days for everything to get a spirit and become a being. 7 days for all of the organisms to truly wake up and notice their surroundings. 7 days for the human spirit to grow. Seven. Our conversation soon took a turn to the tree of knowledge and how science and religion must intertwine to get the perfect balance, religion for the spiritual side and science for the biological and physical portions. He exclaimed that the core of balance is that of “True Love” and every action and reaction that occurs in humans and in nature, all branches off from “true love”. He asked me if I agreed, if I believed in love or true love. I looked at him straight in the eye and exclaimed “No. I don’t believe in love or true love for it does not exist.”

Lest I say that he was shocked.

“You don’t believe in love?! How so, how can one not believe in something that surrounds and engulfs us?” I looked at this man in front of me, and read his face. His eyes grew wide when he had talked and now they were staring at me, desperately searching for an explanation  His nostrils were moving ever-so slightly and his posture had stiffened in a way that was still warm and welcoming but at the same time guarded and on-edge. I knew that he was waiting for a response.

“I don’t know. I believe that there are many things that we do to try to mimic the idea of love, such as actions of kindness, being true, caring, and friendship but love is never actually there. Love is just an idea that we can never have. It’s sort of like the final destination. Everyone wants it and spends their whole lives looking for it and sometimes people get very close, but because it was never there, never existing to start, no one ever reaches it. Love remains an idea but it will never become an entity.”

He retaliated, “but is not everything branched from love. Is not the honesty and friendship and our actions just reflections and different forms of love? Is love not the core that shapes us and we are all of it’s children. Is love, true love, not the sun that gives us life? People always search for love thinking that it is something to be found and within their search, they lose sight of life and forget to live. If people learned that true love is actually the existence inside of them, that it is their heart, then they can truly live a full filling life because they have learned to live with true love. They would be living in balance. Love is what makes the Earth, what makes our solar system, what makes us as human beings function. Without it, we would be nothing and cease to exist.”

He sounded so passionate when he spoke and was really trying to convince me that love existed. He would not accept the fact that I didn’t believe in love, that I thought love was foolish and that one could lead a full-filling and balanced life without being bothered by the idea of love.

Our conversation carried on for about two and a half hours in which time my external environment seemed to have disappeared as I was so entranced in our discussion, that everything around me seemed minimal and unimportant. We were both so occupied and feeding off each others words that we were oblivious to the fact that one of the party goers had passed out and another was in the bathroom upstairs. Unaware that not only had the house become a mess but the music had changed from “party” to Spanish. Only when a drunk girl crashed into me that we were snapped back into reality and saw what was happening around us. Within minutes one of his friends came up and told him that they were heading downtown and that he was supposed to go as well. The friend also asked me if I wanted to join but with a smile I graciously declined, saying that I should be heading home soon and that I hadn’t initially planned on heading out.

Max and I looked at each other, realizing that our time together was rapidly coming to an end. He asked me what I thought about our conversation and I told him that it was refreshing, interesting and probably one of the most intellectual conversations I have ever had in my life. He smiled and responded that his eyes had been opened and he was now considering things from a new perspective. One that has never entered his mind before, one that he did not, until that night, believed to be possible. I guess we both learned a lot during that two hour time frame at a place where we a least expected it.

We said goodbye, giving each other a friendly hug, knowing that we would probably never see each other again but grateful for the bond we had created and would now share. I will always remember that day. That party. Max. It was one of those moments in life that you know will stick with you forever. It’s something that when you are 60 or 70 years old, you will look at your grandchildren and tell them about a conversation that you had with a stranger that you had never met at an ABC Christmas party in your second year at university that had changed your life forever.

Thank you Max, I am forever grateful that we met.

 

The Best Friend to the Beautiful

You’ll never really know when it started. You can give an approximate date or circumstance that triggered the downfall but it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment you started to hate yourself. Hate. That’s such a strong and powerful word and yet, why do I so often use it to describe who I am? From a young age, perhaps younger then what should be allowed, we begin to notice the little imperfections about ourselves. Maybe it’s the acne that is spread across your face that has haunted you for the better portion of two decades. Or perhaps is your nose that 3mm too much to the left. Your thighs and how they jiggle with every movement and your ever-growing belly. It could be your academic grades that aren’t up to par to that of your friends, or how you missed making the national team by a quarter of second. Whatever your flaw is, you fixate on it and blow it out of proportion.

Let me tell you what it’s like to be the best friend to the beautiful girl. The girl who has the beauty of sirens and the grace of a world-class ballerina (and the figure of one too). Her brains could be compared to Einstein and her child-like, carefree laughter brings the birth of fairies. If you are unfamiliar with the tale of Peter pan and the life of a fairy, I apologize for the deprivation of your childhood. With every step, she lights up the world and men line up with the chance that she will acknowledge them. It’s hard being the best friend to someone who has everything you ever wanted and has the kindness that could be compared to that of Gandhi.

Everyday you wake up and wish you could be like her. Maybe if my thighs were a little bit skinner, my face was clearer, and I wouldn’t get all caught up in my head, people would like me. So you try. You go on the diet, you take the pills that are terrible for you but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter in your eyes. You force a smile and laughter and try to put yourself out there but the failures and condescending past catch up to you. You get a part-time job at a local pub, in hopes that you will overcome your anxiety and talk to others. But then she gets a job there too and although you love working with her, a part of you hates it. You hate it because you hate yourself and trust, it takes a lot of energy to hate yourself as much as you do. People ignore you at the pub, they fixate on her beauty. Walking down the street, people mistake you for the best friend. A stranger walked up to me. ‘l just wanted to say that you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.” Then he notices that you are not HER. ”Oh sorry, nevermind. I thought you were someone else.” He walks away, leaving me broken and a contemplating jumping in front of that oncoming train there and then. It’s funny actually. How much that thought pops into your head. With every passing car, train, bridge you think ”I could end this right here and now. This unbearable, insufferable life could be over.” You stop yourself, there is no need to go into the details of the ways you have planned your death. The letters you had written and torn up. The frequency of times in a day that you look at that knife and force yourself to put it down. No, being best friends to the beautiful is not an easy task.

You want someone to call you skinny. You want someone to wait up just to make sure that everything is alright, but you know that is never going to happen. No one ever cares about the ugly fat girl. No one wants to be her friend. You’ve actually managed to convince yourself on countless occasions that the beautiful girl is only your friend out of pity. You’ve gotten used to being on your own and taking care of yourself because you know that no one else will. For the rest of your life, it will be you versus the world. But the world is not a kind place. It is a place filled with judgemental, vein, and selfish individuals, yourself included. The world will always take the beautiful girl over you. That’s just the way it is. At the end of the day, you’ll only be remembered for being the best friend of the beautiful girl, nothing else. There’s nothing else of you worth remembering.

So why bother?

Blinded by the Sun

Step up to bat and look the pitcher in the eye. The game has begun.

Useless. Stupid. Childish. Waste-of-time. Failure.

The words cut like a knife as you replay that phone call over and over again in your head. “You got an interview for medical school? Why? Who would take you? You’re being stupid.” All your life you’ve worked so hard to please that man. To make him proud. You’ve almost killed yourself from stress (literally) just to obtain those ever pleasing As but not once did you receive praise. Eventually you stopped looking for it and rejected them from people around you. I can do better. This isn’t good enough. Anyone can do this. But this time it was different. This time you waited until he returned home because you were excited. All of your hard work may have finally paid off.

Getting excited. That was your first mistake.

You’ve started a fundraiser. You want to go to Nepal to help with relief efforts over the Christmas break. You have some experience in restoration and can be an asset in the medical field. Yes, this is my way of giving back to the world. I can help those who cannot help themselves. You’re adrenaline starts to increase.

Strike 1.

You check your email. A school has messaged you, “Congratulations! You’ve passed stage 1 of the application process. The next step is a formal interview at our university.” You did it (well sort-of but it’s a step in the right direction). You have an interview and you’re mouth is grinning from side to side as you eagerly await to tell him. But you don’t want to say anything right away, this is your moment and you want to keep it all to yourself for a little bit. To embrace the magic and make sure it isn’t a dream.

Strike 2.

You’ve been stressed for weeks, sleep has been lost, meals have been neglected, and you’re barely keeping it together. You’ve gone a maximum of three days without shedding tears but it was a struggle. You avoid mirrors with the entirety of your soul because even the slightest glimpse of your reflection would set of you off. It takes a lot of energy to hate yourself this much. That the very thought that other people must look at you when they are walking down the street will result in a crumpled version of your body by the bathroom stall. You don’t want to leave your bed but you know that you have work to do, so you create a plan. First train in the morning, last train at night. Do not leave the office for lunch, do not talk to others, keep your head down and become invisible. It’s for their own good; no one should be subjected to this awful face and lard of a body. I’m saving them from the trauma of encountering something so hideous that they may have nightmares. I hate myself. Your boss calls you into his office and you walk in keeping your head down. He looks at you and starts to tell you about this new project he wants you to work on. You nod in agreement and then he tells you something that you weren’t expected. “I’m really pleased with your work and I was able to talk to some companies who are willing to pay you for all of your hard work.” You can’t help it. You look up with tears forming in your eyes. Finally. You thank him profusely and feel the excitement grow inside your stomach.

Third strike, and you’re out.

The phone call was quick. Pleasantries were exchanged and all seemed to be going well. You tell him your good news, the interview, Nepal, the job, and even let it slip in that you’re grades are doing well and that you’ve been traveling. “You travel too much. You’re wasting away your life. It’s time for you to grow up. That interview is stupid, it’s too far and besides, why would they take you? You’re getting paid for a job? That’s not a big deal; stop acting so childish for goodness sake. There’s no way you’re going to Nepal, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” 5 minutes. 5 minutes is all it took to leave you a mess in an alley way with tears streaming down your face. You’re heaving and can barely catch your breath.

….

No one said baseball would be fun.

A Cynic With A Message

Be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi

There are many cases where parents and their offspring do not see eye-to-eye about certain things. This can be attributed to the changing of social precedents,  new-found maturity of the offspring, stubbornness from one or both parties, as well as many other factors. However, at the end of the day, the only important thing from their interactions should be the stability and continuity of honesty. Sounds easy enough but let’s take a look at this word, what does ‘honesty’ and ‘being honest’ really entail?

“Honesty” is derived from the Latin word honestas. In the fourteenth century, it first appeared in the English language, and it closely denotes to “honour”. Varro, a Roman linguist, suggested that onus, “burden”, is the root of honos, implying that honour weighs us down morally. But what does this mean? Let’s take a small peak into Greek mythology.

One of the most famous stories of Diogenes the Cynic is when he wandered around ancient Greece carrying a lantern and searching for an honest man. He spent most of his life living in a barrel outside the city-state of Corinth and was the original Cynic. He was witty, rude and had little respect for authority and he believed that men and women carried on through life dictated by rules and taboos, making no one truthful or honest. However, why was he searching for an honest man when being a Cynic makes one believe that there is no such thing? There are many theories, his father was a banker and when Diogenes took to debasement of currency, he was banished. His quest to find an honest man could be his way of redeeming his actions. Although by many counts he was a stubborn man, he did believe that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory.

If what he believed of virtue holds true, then the expectation is that it is translated and carried out to the current century but unfortunately, this is not true. Actually, there are rarely reported cases of ancient Greeks being straight in their dealings (this is why if anyone tried to swindle the Romans, they were referred to having “Greek honesty”). Throughout Greek history, the people’s actions has changed and the modern ancient Greeks think themselves as honest, as indeed so do I. This is different from many of my North American and United Kingdom friends who will openly and freely admit that they are not always honest. Who would ever admit that? This tells you that although they may not always be honest, they value virtue, an admiring state.

So the next time there is an argument that breaks out between you and your parents/guardians/spouse/partner/offspring, think back to the underlying issue. Did this dispute erupt because one party wasn’t being honest to the other? Did they say one thing to your face but meant something else entirely? Being honest is difficult but being virtuous is not. There is nothing wrong with having high moral standards but make sure that someone else does not suffer in the process. Diogenes valued virtue but it was at the expense of those around him. There is still no answer as to whether Diogenes found his honest man but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be one. Take on the role of the missing person and turn it into someone who can be found. Then spread it to others and make a world where one does not need to search for an honest man, but it is the dishonest ones which are scarce.