I once read somewhere that a person is just the collection of his/her experiences. Since I read it when I was a bit younger, I did not fully understand the implication of the quotation. I mean what good is that going to do for me, right?
I was just a child with no worries, the future felt sure and bright. I never had to wonder about anything nor did I ever fear something other than insects and the darkness. Perhaps even now, I refuse to believe that the sum of my experiences is me. How could that be? How could I accept that when there are memories that I just want to forget and bury forever?
But it made sense, don't you think? The reason why I am afraid of smiling too much or feeling uncomfortable in my own skin is because of something that happened before. Even though I managed to succeed in burying the memory, the effects of these events remain.
So today, allow me to give you a clearer version of who I am outside of my pseudo name, Zehra Sky. Let me introduce myself beyond the words I write and craft for the world to see.
Let us start this narrative with a lesson.
Growth can only exist in a place where mistakes are made and corrected. Of course in my 21 years of living, I had made a fair ton of mistakes. Some were easily forgettable, some were things that I am just not good at yet, and there were some that gave me a slap to finally wake up in reality.
This specific situation happened when I was in Senior High School. Everyone in my circle of friends were already in a relationship or they were already flirting with someone. I acted as if I was unbothered since they all ask for my relationship advice anyway, but at that time I was wondering if something was wrong with me.
Maybe I was too unapproachable. Maybe I was boring or intimidating. Thoughts like these began to weave themselves into the wrinkles of my brain until I found myself full of doubts. I did not know what to do about it then. I did not have anyone to turn to, it felt like I was being consumed by the emptiness in me so I turn to the external world to help me.
I tried to find someone else who could fill the void in me. I thought that being in a relationship will magically make my insecurities and doubts disappear because I thought that love conquers all.
How grave my mistake was to believe such a foolish sentiment that I almost lose sight of who I am. I was so naïve to give my everything to someone I did not even like just because I thought that love will grow someday and maybe it will help in getting rid of the void I felt.
The result I got was not great, it was horrible in fact. I poured all the attention I have to someone else who ended up taking advantage of my ignorance and kindness. I fooled myself into thinking that my obsession with filling the void is love. I stayed in a relationship without direction nor future just because I did not know who I was.
It was a costly mistake, but it was one that had taught me my biggest lesson in life. Love should be given to myself first. I need to work on my insecurities instead of putting band-aid on them in hopes that they will magically disappear. I need to be honest with what I want as well instead of settling for the first person that had the audacity to push themselves to me.
Despite it all, that situation gave birth to a new me. Or perhaps not a new version of me but I became more self-aware. I finally gave myself time to get to know who I really am outside the opinions of other people.
It was a surprise since I lived most of my life describing myself based on how other people see me but when I sat down with myself, I realized most of them are wrong. I was not who they thought I was. I was the only one who truly knew who I am.
This was the first piece that I needed to start filling the void within me. With this new-found wisdom, I was able to get to know who I really am. The amazing part was that I realized that my greatest strength is my ability to continue moving forward despite the hardships I faced. No matter how many times I thought of giving up, I clawed my way back up and fought to take another step forward.
If you think about it, I probably just accepted that I am the main character in my world. No matter how weird that sounds like, I think it captured the essence of what I want to say. No one else will live my life for me so I have to take actions that will lead to where I want to be just like the heroes in the stories we are fond of reading.
Along the way, I gained an understanding that I am worthy of good things too. I understand now that the relationships I have with others are not one borne out of pity. They are cultivated and nourished with love.
I stopped wondering what I did to deserve such good friends, family, and partner. I am now more focused on thinking what I can do to be a better friend, family member, and partner.
I believe that knowing myself is the most important thing I could have done for my relationships. When I learned my own triggers and insecurities, I stopped projecting them onto my loved ones. This led to better communication and comprehension skills.
Instead of putting the blame on my loved ones for what I am feeling, I am now aware that it is my own responsibility to be accountable of my emotions. Instead of running away or ghosting people when I feel overwhelmed, I am more honest and vulnerable to let them know where I am coming from.
It might be a simple change but getting to know who I truly am gave more room for healthy relationships to bloom around me. I recognized my own toxicity and work on them. The people around me do the same thing. All of us cultivate the relationships we have with each other instead of expecting the other to pick up our slack.
So far, it works great. My relationships (romantic, platonic, familial) are thriving. I am happier than ever, yet I know there are more good things to come.
It turns out that I am indeed the sum of my experiences. Definitely not in a bad way like I thought before.
I realized that without the memories I tried so hard to forget, I would not have learned valuable lessons. I might have never known who I am and what I truly like. Moreover, my relationships would have probably been built on shallow foundation that are easily destroyed.
However, because of what I have gone through, different colored pieces of me fell apart and rearranged into who I am today. This mosaic of multicolored pieces is who I am behind the black and white words that you see.
This article is my participation to cutie @carisdaneym2 's birthday giveaway. I could not pick just one question to answer so I answered 3 of them in this order:
What mistake did you learn the most from?
What do you see as your best character trait?
What is the most important thing in a relationship?
I am going to tag @Laliaaa to participate in this challenge if she is not too busy with her school works.
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