There are some days you just have to sit and wonder what the meaning of your life is. As cliche as that may sound, it is true. I mean, that's the reason why we have religion, right, because ultimately, we believe that there is more to our lives than what we are doing right this moment. But, sometimes we're so sure of ourselves, we become blinded by an illusion that we ourselves create. Then, one day, you realize that you don't know yourself at all. And somehow, you can't help but feel betrayed, feel alone and confused, wondering who was it that you were living, because it wasn't you. You become lost, wondering where YOU are. You begin to hate you, for being so betrayed. You wonder how you could do this to yourself.
It's been 6 years since I've felt the betrayal, the hate for who I was, who I was becoming, and fearing who I would be. It's quite interesting what high school can do to a person, how he or she is influenced, how anything and everything could be the breaking point between being among the best or falling among the worst, all this with all too much time on the hands, to think...too hard.
I think this past year, as a sophomore in college, and I guess it could even stretch back to freshman year, I was able to break free of being so conscious of myself. I was able to close my eyes and just listen, letting people's concerns and needs just pour into my ears. I worked for the people and I loved it. It eased the pain of knowing that I was away from harms way, away from myself.
I never knew, just how detrimental that could be.
Second semester of sophomore year completely stopped me from going further. I had meetings every night to attend, practices to run, minutes to type up, events to work, computers to fix, people to connect with, all that on top of school work. I barely slept, and occasionally skipped meals. It wasn't too long before my body physically broke down and told me to stop. And so I was bedridden for 3 days, I felt like dying. It was the first time in 2 years since I felt much like a failure and so betrayed. My body had betrayed me and kept me from upholding my responsibilities.
At the time, every aspect of me (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, academically) was apart from each other. Everything worked on their own accord, so all I could think about were the people, outside of myself. I had thought, that my reason for existence was to cater to the people's needs. I didn't care whether I was a leader or not, but I made sure I was free for whatever help people needed.
I was too busy to hear myself screaming for attention.
But at 11:30pm this last evening, I realized that it's time for me to step down. Because I've accomplished being able to listen to people and to be able to cater to them. It's now my turn to be the member and to be the voice to be heard.
For the first time in 6 years, I'm together, one, with myself again, and with this newfound self, I will walk the path of humanity in my own way. I realized that one day, I won't have the privilege to lead the people, and I would have to accept that. I've been around people for far too long. The summer has taught me to become independent and not get depressed about it. In fact, I think this is the first summer in 3 years that I have not gotten physically affected from depression.
I guess the mindset of going abroad had left me no choice, but to embrace the fact that I will be alone in a place that I'm not familiar with, in a city where I will know almost no one, in a country where I'm unable to fully communicate my thoughts. But, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to overcome it, as big of a challenge as it may be. I have to.
I'll think of this as training for the future. It has to be. Because the way I see it, one day, I won't have the luxury of being able to communicate so openly with people who are just as open, to live in such a warm environment, to feel so comfortable about opening my heart, because there are so many unkind people who have yet to have their hearts unlocked, and their eyes opened.
One day, we won't have that kind of life just given to us. We have to build it.
So, I have to strengthen myself first before I can cater to others. I have to be strong if I expect others to be strong; after all, we all have to stand together, side by side, to walk this earth. If I strengthen myself, I can make any place a Soka to look back on and say, "I've really made a connection here. I can trust that these people will stand by me, fighting for the same thing I am, for the sake of humanity."
I've found myself, and hope to stay this way, and not lose or forget myself again.
"One with my mentor.
Many in body; One in mind
One person can change the world"
- YPG '08 Festival