Trigger Warning: This post mentions bullying and abuse. It has a focus on childhood struggles.
This post is about a fictional person, but his experiences and struggles are issues that most of us, including myself, have faced during our lives. The aim of this post is to inspire and encourage the reader to follow their dreams and change the world around them. – Dom
We don’t get to choose what we are born into, or by whom. That remains one of the things we cannot change or influence. The beginning of our lives belongs to two strangers that we grow to love or hate, but never remain indifferent towards. Childhood will influence our lives in different ways depending upon this unchosen creation. Born from love, born from need, or born from a mistake, the reasons for us being here do not need to dictate our reason for being here.
He grew up in a broken world, his creation unplanned and ill-prepared for. The cries that rose from his crib were met with shouts of frustration more often than whispered comfort spoken in softly elongated words intent on soothing him. His first experiences of the English language sentences accented by annoyance, a vocabulary he grew to use as a voice to his own childhood frustrations and tantrums. As he watched his parents argue through the gaps of the fingers he held over his eyes, he wished he could turn invisible, scared to move in case the motion would capture the attention of either one and give them a new target for their vitriol. He had lost count of the number of times he had been used by both as a punchbag, verbal and physical; learning how to twist, tense or switch off parts of his body and mind in ways that reduced the amount of pain inflicted. This also came in handy in his school life, where his awkward shyness made him the target of other children’s torment and spite.
For him, there was no escape from pain. Hatred and dislike towards him followed him no matter where he was, and he could do nothing to escape it. If he put his head down and worked, his good grades, although praised by his teachers, were ridiculed by his contemporaries. If he reacted with anger, he was punished and called no better than his adversaries. His only solace came from his friendships, and although small in number they provided him with a feeling of self-worth. He hadn’t chosen to live, to have an existence, but he certainly chose to live, he chose to prove everyone wrong and that he wasn’t a waste of space and worth.
The key theme of his life had been survival. Survival of his physical form, survival of his mind. A constant struggle to maintain the very things others seemed to want to tear away from him. He fought to not become a ghost, to not lose the compassion and love that filled him; at odds with those around him, but which allowed him to forgive his tormentors so that their actions would not leave impossibly deep cuts that could never heal. He fought on because he had learnt that the roots of people’s anger and frustration did not grow from beneath his tree, they stretched out from beneath theirs, invading and strangling those of others because their leaves were diseased and rotten, that they were not who they wanted to be, that they had not put in enough work and now they were surrounded by trees that had grown taller and cut out the amount of light they received. He saw through the jealousy of others the means to his own salvation.
Life is a struggle and if he wanted to succeed he knew he must never slow down, give up or settle for anything less than he deserved. The same lesson applies to everyone. The bitterness of others should not be a reason for you to allow your future to be poisoned with regrets. Life is by no means easy for anyone. We all have our struggles, we all have burdens upon our shoulders, and we all have a choice. The further we walk under the weight of our past, the stronger we become. Only you can make yourself feel like a failure.
He had lived in the expectations of others: his parents, teachers, friends; all with their desires of what he should become. Following his own path had led to their ridicule, his mistakes and setbacks deemed failures and hung like certificates on the wall to constantly remind him of their existence. But the only thing he had failed at was not following someone else’s dreams. His mistakes were just that, mistakes, his setbacks just setbacks, both things to learn and move on from. The journey to his dreams had not finished, and therefore he had not failed. Everyone decides when to stop, when to settle and accept their lot. Some give up early, some reach a place of contentment half-way through, some fall at the last hurdle, but they all decide to stop there. It is always your choice to put the full stop at the end of a sentence.
He was a survivor, his dreams too strong to abandon. He fought for them no matter who the foe. He might never reach his goal, but through his actions, others may reach for theirs. One person may not be able to change the world, but they may give hope and inspiration to one who can and will; and although their own personal dream remains unfulfilled, they did, in fact, help change the world around them. That makes them a success, not a failure.
We hold inside us the keys to our future. We did not choose to be here on this earth, but we do get to choose to remain here. Don’t let others control your life, don’t give up your happiness to the hands of another. Believe in yourself, and make the change you want to see.
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