“I looked in the mirror. I was looking at a person that no longer resembled me. I looked and I describe it like a sky choking on clouds, not knowing whether to rain or be sunny or be clear; I looked like I was choking. …” – Najwa Zebian
That feeling … the feeling of the sky choking on clouds … it’s too real, isn’t it? You’ve felt it. In fact, it has hit you hard, practically smacked you in the face, leaving you breathless, right when you were least expecting it.
Your mind explodes with questions, a barrage, an onslaught of them. “What am I? How was I? How was I before? How have I become so? When did I lose myself? Why does this person just look like me but feels like a complete stranger? What has happened to make me lose myself so absolutely? Who am I? Where am I? How am I?”
“How am I?”. So many questions, but that’s the one that punches you in the gut. One tear, then another, then another – they keep coming. The dam has broken; the resolve is shaken, and you cry. No, don’t stop. Today, you let yourself cry; you feel too weak keep up the ruse of being strong, too feeble to hold up the walls that you so carefully built around yourself, the same ones that are now crashing in deafening silence.
You’ve tried to be strong for so long, tried to be resolute and tried to be immovable in that resolution. You’ve stayed unyielding to sadness, unaffected by series of disappointments, insusceptible to agony. You have hardened yourself to the point of being going beyond your own recognition. Apathy may often be frowned upon by others, but sympathy is downright criticized, sensitivity is hated. So, what’s the point in being sensitive, right? Being sensitive equals to being weak. And weakness isn’t an option. People might avoid socializing with apathetic individuals, but they will straight up bully the sensitive ones. Social isolation or collective torment – is there even a choice?
But you are not as strong as would have liked to believe, are you? As your resolves break and the cries turn agonized screams to breathless heaves to dry hiccups, you wonder what happened? You are not strong, you are scared, you are not resolute, you are petrified, you are not apathetic, you are numb – when did that happen?
The truth is you’ve been misinterpreting fear for strength, emptiness for apathy all along. Now that you are facing the truth in that reflection of yours, you see a shadow of your former self and you do not like the sight. That shadow looks tired, drooped shoulders and bowed head give away the fatigue you are feeling, even when your back is straight as an iron board. So, the final question that stands is, what are you going to do about it?
“And in that moment, I decided not to give up on myself…” – Najwa Zebian
Enough! That’s enough! You’ve been through enough. You’ve put up with enough. Enough of blaming yourself. Enough of blaming others. Enough of enforcing that façade when you are crumbling inside. Enough of avoiding your pain just to feel unaffected by it. There’s no denying it; you are affected, you are hurt, and it is painful, but the wound doesn’t need to stay that way! It’s time to heal now!
It’s time to confront that mind-numbing pain and start pushing back. It’s time to look that pain in the eye and say, “Yes, you are strong, but I am stronger.” Cry, but cry to relieve that burden that’s suffocating you. Fall, but only to pause for a breath and get up with an iron will. The deeper you go into your pain, the higher you’ll rise in courage. Neither hurting nor denying that hurt, makes you a superhuman. It is human to hurt, it is human to lose your way sometimes, it is human to feel lost. You are human and that’s okay. That’s great, actually!
Your pain doesn’t need to be a source of darkness, instead turn it into a nectar of true strength. Wear your battle scars with pride and marvel in the journey that you’ve undertaken. The journey to heal. The journey to be strong again, hope again, believe again, feel again, care again, love again, laugh again – to be you again.
Who you are, what you are, how you are – depends on you. To be you, you don’t need validation, you don’t even need acknowledgement. You are you on your own terms and that is how it should be. All you need is you. Hurt to broken to shattered to numb to survivor to healed to stronger to happier – you’ve been on a long journey to find yourself! You should be proud of who you’ve become after wading through all that pain. Maybe you’ve lost a bit of yourself in the process, but you’ve gained more than you ever hoped for. Today you’re a champion, today you are a winner.