Exam week is coming and across Davidson campus, we can feel the rush, the urgency, and the pressure. There is no time to relax. These last two weeks are our last opportunity to improve our grades.
Every time we step out of our rooms, we enter a competition, a race, another challenge. The pressure is not only coming from other people but also ourselves. The race is not waiting and the tremendous workload is ahead of us. If we fall out of the race, the competition, then we will fall behind.
On one occasion, I saw this girl who always seems happy and energetic crying in the hallway. One night, I saw one of my friends hiding under a blanket and crying. There were days that I saw my friend skips meals and sleeps for hours. There were days when I see this girl, who in my eyes, is the most confident and outspoken girl, broke down in the middle of a seminar. She ran out of the classroom as fast as she could and couldn't stop crying.
I was wondering: how can something like this happen? These are the people who I'm jealous of. They are richer than me. Their parents are more educated and well-connected than me. They are daughters and sons of lawyers, doctors, educators, businessmen, etc. They have everything. They should be happy. I used to want their lives. For me too, why am I not happy? I am at Davidson, one of the best colleges in the South. I am supposed to be happy. I don't have the right to be upset and unhappy. There are people who are more unfortunate than me. What has happened?
For some weird reason, after observing these moments, these people have become more humane to me. That they are like me. That I am not the only one. That nobody has a perfect life. That each of us wears a mask and how can we be happy if we keep wearing these masks?
Maybe because I was socialized and raised to think that as a woman of color, I have to work harder than others and if things don't work, it's maybe because I didn't work hard enough. Maybe because the words that my mom told me before I went to college: "You are the only person who can prevent you from achieving your dream." Because of that, for every single shitty thing that happens in my life, I can fix it. I am supposed to have everything under my control. There are no external factors that hold me back, only internal factors.
Life is difficult and for each of us, that level of difficulty affects us differently. Your life is hard for you. Mine is hard for me. There is no need to compare or contrast. Because by the end of the day, nobody has a perfect life. There are things that happen out of your control. There are people who end up intentionally hurting you. There are things that bother you every single day. There are things that hold you back.
In the midst of all these unfortunate things that happen in your life and all of the upsetting things happen in this world, there are love, compassion, and faith. Love, compassion, and faith are the little seeds that grow inside of your heart. No matter what happens, you have to groom them, to water them, and to nurture them. Because by the end of the day, these seeds will help you to find the brighter path and guide you through adversity.
This reminds me of a story:
"There was a girl who got lost in the maze. She remembers when her father told her to bring the little seeds with her. He said that these seeds will help him to find her. Everywhere she walks, she drops the seeds. These seeds later grow into beautiful flowers. Her father will follow the flower to find her. However, he couldn't wait for the seeds to grow. He didn't come. She cries and then she realizes that she has to stand up. She keeps walking and walking, trying to find a way to get out of the maze. Every time she sees a flower, that means that she already went to that part of the maze so she marks it. And she keeps trying and trying different ways. Through countless trials and errors, she finds her way home.
She learns that her parents are not always going to be there to love her unconditionally and to protect her. She has to learn how to stand up and fight for herself. And the seed of love, compassion, and faith will guide her through adversity. These seeds will one day grow into beautiful flowers that guide her through the day."
For every single upsetting thing that happens in my life, I will view it as a part of my life, a part of my destiny. I can either face it or run away from it.
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