Swim. Don’t Drown.

Swim. Don’t Drown.

“The shark that doesn’t swim drowns.”
“Akula, kotorya Ne plavayet, Ne tonet.”

It’s been four years since I started to get questions about my future career. It’s been four years of pressure to get into a field that has a good payment, and a good reputation. And, honestly, I hadn’t gotten anywhere until a few months ago.

Since the beginning, I felt as if I was always facing a white canvas not knowing what the heck to do about it. I looked out into the world through a broken glass, unsure where to go next that won’t backfire. But, instead in the mist of asking others what they think I would be good at, I had forgotten to ask myself where I want to be in life. And, for that, I stood still for those years.

I didn’t venture out to see what opportunities I could have. With all the questions and the pressures to go into one field versus any of the others, I simply closed up in a shell where all I saw was darkness. I didn’t think I could live up to be what my parents wanted me to be. I didn’t believe I could do anything that would be worth of them bragging about me. Most importantly, I didn’t believe there would be a place for me to stand in the world when I grew up.

I started to lose parts of myself I was always defined by. I began to loose sight of what I had always wanted to do in life: be happy while making a difference. I started believing the words people yelled my way that told me I wasn’t worthy of the traits I held close to heart, or that they weren’t good enough in order to give me a good reputation. All the words, all the comments, all the pressures from everyone around me did the opposite of encouragement.

It wasn’t until I got away from what others had to say. I started going to school more; I ditched the old study room in which I felt trapped and trading it for a clean library desk where I felt impossibly free. I went back to my roots; I started picking up the pieces of myself I knew were worthy despite what anyone else had to say. I began exploring my options and talking to people who didn’t have a biased opinion that pressured me to walk down any certain path. I started swimming.

In my eyes, it wasn’t until then that I truly felt like myself. Before, it was always about reputation; it was always about how others perceived us to be. There was never any room for me to grow on my own because the person I was supposed to grow up to be was already molded and framed in my parents’ mind. I couldn’t learn from my own mistakes, because everything had always been planned out and simply told to me to execute. I wasn’t being me, no, I wasn’t being human; I was simply a robot.

Now, a year since I’ve turned away from being cooped up in a cage and a few months since I uncovered a part of myself I knew was always there, I feel whole. I feel independent; I can take care of myself and I can get through by myself. I feel like I have a chance at everything the world has to offer as long as I go out there and achieve the best I can. I look into the mirror and, though I might not have everything figured out, I can see the girl I was always meant to be.

I’m finally working towards the future, my future. And I couldn’t be more proud.

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