When I was 19, I received a fortune cookie that said, “Never give up, the beginning is always the hardest.” Up to this time I have kept it with me for sparks of inspiration and confidence. Growing up from a repressive family structure harmed my mind from sanity and gave its fair share of demons when I started to make sense of the past at age 21. Now at 23, with much pain needed to let go and hope to forge through, I can say with my head high how much scars and heady wars I had gotten through at such a young age.
For one, when I told my English teacher through a paper assignment, a memoir journal of one thing that happened the most in your life, I typed the significant story of my operation at eight (years old). To which she boldly replied how I should be all the more “proud” of myself, having been a survivor of such illness.
It seems too distant now most things horrible and dreary. My operation, my teenage angst in wanting to leave home, finding freedom in college and Berlin, standing up for my choices haphazardly and facing my problems, my lost enthusiasm for music, to graduating with bittersweet sentiments coupled in disappointment.
At 21, I felt on top of the world. Lacking so many things, feeling all emotions, experiencing the fleetingness of time and the blatant ephemerality of life itself. When I graduated at that age, I was in fact filled with remorse mixed on notions of relief that I finally finished school. Yet in terms of other things, like fulfillment, I lacked thereof any celebratory stance. As the caps went flying ; and everyone cheered and took pictures, I stood there feeling incomplete and distant.
The other fortune cookie I serendipitously received then was the quote, “Flexibility is one of your strongest characteristics, your calculations are going to be prosperous.” As if it weren’t obvious, post graduation felt dizzying and morbidly confusing. I once thought I would migrate sooner to a new country as promised, but at the end it broke and that is another story to be bypassed.
At the heart of it all, I gained so much patience and wisdom with myself in the span of two years. I turned 23 now and I no longer feel attached to anything from my past. The most amazing thing is how it all seems to make sense, life in general, based from the two fortune cookies I still keep.
I learned how you can never really trust people and put your entire life on them. You can only mirror yourself and see the progression you have made.
All the while life is anything but permanent, we can never really keep track of who we wanted to be before, the many dreams we have lost count or the image we so spoke of to ourselves when we were younger.
The world is unpredictable and full of danger, the only peace we can have is within the fortress of our souls. To be still is to have peace inside our hearts with the conviction and certainty that we cannot control our circumstances before us, how people will always be, people.
What is extant to us is how we nurture ourselves, examine the goodness inside of us and persist in continuing the very life of our existence. And even if it means latching onto the same childish dreams, fictional idealism and momentary lapses, what matters is the consciousness to be aware of living, the mono no aware that is still life.
Who we are, will always be the essence to which we live and breathe. The fulcrum to our mechanized existence; the critical gist of our tomorrow.