Our Life
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Who am I? It is a question that haunts young adults throughout their teenage years. And with the phenomenal arrival of mental illnesses seen in some, the question hangs over the head like a knife waiting to draw blood. People change. Maybe that is why we find it hard to define ourselves in the cocoon of unfamiliarity around us.

We doubt ourselves in the crucifying way only we can think about ourselves. We doubt our intentions. We doubt our unconscious actions. We doubt our identity. We doubt our entire being of existence. We forget that while hanging onto the thread of our past identity, we sew a new bit of a new person into us every day. Change is the only constant being we can depend on. One day, the world might end or the sun might fall or we will stop existing. But change will always coincide with every breath of the universe. We change a little with every breath of fire we take in and every breath of the stars that we release. We are the embodiment of the universe and we are inevitable to change. That’s the only fact that we need to remember in the spiral of life.  We only have to remember that change will stay for the better or the worse. It is the birth and the bane of existence.

We have to let go of our past after learning from them in order to find our true selves.

Self identification is born from sheer destruction. It is only when we break that we remember to build. We break ourselves in the worst way possible and forget to clean up our messes. We waste away our time behind closed doors crying for the lost time that has flown away. We forget to live for our hearts and settle to keep it in a cage far away from the inanimate narcotic claws reality has presented to us. It is only when we break the trap of an illusion that we’ve managed to create around ourselves that we realize we had our sanity hidden beneath the shadows of broken dreams all along. We build ourselves by devouring every part of us that we use as stepping stones to our haunted house of a mind and glue it together with the elixir of dreams that we vow never to lose again in the midst of the blurring lines. And thus we will find ourselves in every molecule of our being that we had searched for all through the sea that we drowned ourselves in.

Change can be for the better or the worse. It’s up to us to decide how we confront our demons.

In order to find ourselves we need to lose ourselves. What is not lost cannot be found even in the depths of identification. Finding one’s true self is all about letting loose of all the restraints and trusting your worst fears to control you for a period of disguised captivity when you confront yourself. There will be blurred lines of fury and fog but the best part is that when we get over it, the pride we attain will be unfathomable. The pride will be locked away in a small treasure chest far away inside your heart and will be the end of the maze you’re following along. It is worth it to fight against and for all that you’ve believed because in the end, all that matters is that you’re still alive.

There will be a period when the feeling of invisibility haunts you through your routines. It will drive you insane by hanging your sanity as the bait along a pointless journey through your vulnerabilities. But the truth is that, you matter. You’re a being of this universe where every spark has a meaning. And greater sparks like you, which can ignite a fire to melt the coldest of the souls, truly do matter. If the mere sparks you create carry such a beautiful meaning that amazes the world to such an extent, then imagine with your wildest imaginations what you’re capable of. You’ve fought your insecurities and are standing alive prior to all that you’ve been through no matter what it is.

You’re beautiful no matter what fire you create. It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t made peace with all the sins you’ve committed before you’ve changed. It matters that you want to make a change within yourself. It matters that you’re trying to change the part of you that keeps trying to fail you.

Photo by Molly Strohl – depicting the voices inside of you that try to claim your sanity

Beauty doesn’t mean that you’ve to look runway ready. Beauty doesn’t mean how it is portrayed today. Beauty used to mean a whole lot more than having blue eyes and blonde hair. Beauty was how a laugh could light up the whole room. It used to be how a word could inspire a whole crowd. That is the real beauty. Beauty is what comes from the heart. Don’t get the real beauty confused with the packaged beauty invented to shame and commodify you in today’s world. Don’t let your insecurity fuel your vulnerability because, I know for a fact that a person who can fight all the voices in their head is indeed truly beautiful.

Your body doesn’t define you. Your past doesn’t define you. All that stands between you and your happiness is you. And that is exactly the secret of life. Happiness is the secret of life. Happiness counts as how well you’ve lived. It’s the measure of life. Our last breath won’t exhibit the numbers we’ve earned or the diplomas we’ve left. It will ask you if you’re happy. And that’s all there is to look for. Don’t search for regrets or guilt search for your happiness. It’s right there in front of you.

As an open LGBTQ supporter, I need to let you know that others don’t define your happiness. No matter what you’re you need to let them know that they don’t control your life. You do. If you’re an asexual, let them know that they’re just as different to you as you seem different to them. If you’re a homosexual, let them know that your sexuality works similar to theirs. You don’t get attached to everybody of your same gender, you get attached to the certain person you like. If you’re a bisexual, let them know that it is an actual sexuality. If you’re a transgender, I have to let you know that you shouldn’t be afraid of them. I want you all to know, you’re beautiful because you have started out on your journey to knowing who you are and you shouldn’t give up no matter what anybody says. You don’t have to live in fear of being yourself. You don’t have to be afraid to hold the hand of your date like every other person out there. It’s definitely not a privilege. It’s your basic human right to have the freedom of expression.

Beautiful feelings like love are not meant to be hidden away for other people to feel comfortable.

It’s only when we break the barriers that we begin to understand the true meaning of freedom. And in the euphoric freedom, we begin to find ourselves. It won’t be easy because we will have to battle the fiercest of our demons that we used to be afraid to even speak of. It’s about standing eye to eye with the person you’ve been afraid to confront – your past self. The desires of your past self; the dreams you’ve cherished, the sins you’ve committed, the people you’ve hurt. Confronting these memories and understanding that you’re not the broken piece of your past self, but a new person who carries a piece of the past self as a memory lets us truly understand ourselves. We are not broken. We never were. We are just changing. We need to remember that life is short. We need to take it in one day at a time or sometimes one moment at a time or even one breath at a time.

We have to forget every time we were hurt and remember the times when we were happy. And not the fake one too- we need to hold on to the real kind of ‘happy’ when we squeeze our eyes and try to catch our breath while holding on to our stomach. We have to keep those memories close to our hearts and swear to ourselves to never let that slip away from us. We shouldn’t let the past trap us from ever feeling happy again. This is about us. About you. The person who wants to find yourself amidst your past and loses a part of you in it. The person who forgets to breathe when you hear another collapse. You are important no matter what you think.

"Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

You need to remember that the true meaning of life is just that. It is to breathe in all our mistakes and to make peace with one’s past self. It is to let the fire inside of you burn brighter than the noise outside of you. It is to drown out everything except what your heart says. It tells you to breathe for yourself just for once. It tells you to define yourself with your beliefs and to understand your mistakes and forget it. It teaches you the most important lesson of life – to live with your heart open and your eyes closed with your soul catching fire with every time you try to drown.

Author: Gadha Jaychandran Nair, 15 years old, United Arab Emirates, Sharjah. Article presented at the competition "Welcome."

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