And on that sad, gloomy day, I learned an important lesson that I’ll probably never forget my whole life.
It all started on the 3rd of January 2012 which was two days before school was reopening again. 2012 was an important year for me as I was sitting for a major exam which meant studying more and procrastinating less, and if you knew me personally, you would know that I procrastinate way more than a human organism should. And just like anybody else, the starting of the year is when we self motivate ourselves to do better than we did the year before.
Making a list of New Year’s Resolutions and only sticking to it for a month was what we normally did, sometimes even for only a fortnight. This year however, I wanted to change that. I was determined that I would stick to it till 31st December 2012.
However, that night on the 3rd of January my siblings and I were called to come downstairs from our respective rooms by our parents.
They wanted to speak to us about something important. I knew it was coming sooner or later, but I wanted it to be the latter. See my parents weren’t on the best terms and were having a row for quite some time. Obviously as a teenager who watches too many movies, I suspected the most cliché reason and that was that my dad was having an affair that my mum found out about. Like myself, my sisters suspected the same thing but I think we were all living in denial just because we didn’t want to accept the fact that our family might break apart.
Lots of people have their fantasy life of them being rich or powerful or inspirational and whatnot but my fantasy life was just to be part of a happy family in a house with white painted fence outside that would have movie nights together and always getting ice cream on Sundays. This may seem unrealistic but I do know people who actually live this life and I can’t help myself but feel envy growing deep down in me.
We came down and had a seat and as my dad started talking I immediately zoned out. What we had suspected was right. My heart sank lower and lower with every word and every sentence and it felt as though a brick had replaced my heart instead. In my religion, they teach us to never question God and abate ourselves, but at that moment I was at my lowest, I questioned God saying “Why? Why our family? Why at this time?”, and thinking about the whole situation now I realize that I was angrier than I was sad. Mainly because they didn’t try to fix it. I thought that my mum was focusing on the one bad thing he did rather than all the good things he has done. But what did I know? Nothing.
That night when I was trying to sleep it felt as though my thoughts were a tornado in my head. Whenever people tell me they cry themselves to sleep, I always thought that they were exaggerating but that night, I cried – tears of anger – till I slept. I kept trying to make my feelings about the situation go away but how do you kill a feeling?
Everything went downhill for me from that day on. I didn’t talk to my family as much I used to, I distanced myself from everybody in school, my academic results were degrading and my diet wasn’t very healthy. It was like I was on shut down mode and I was a zombie in a human world. I preferred my own company in many ways back then. I felt like a pariah but nobody was out casting me but myself. I wanted to erase my mind, replace my heart and just start over because the pain never went away, but instead I made room for it.
Eventually, I changed and became my old self again. But what made me change? Well you know in every movie or book about situations like these there’s always a turning point for them be it an accident where they could’ve lost their lives, or when somebody who’s close to them is taken away and all that sorts, so obviously I had a turning point myself, but it wasn’t anything dramatic. It was like any other day, I was physically tired and mentally drained, and so I decided to surf the internet and went on Youtube to watch Ellen Degeneres’ videos because she’s well known for her humour.
She seldom makes a serious video but I did come across one and it was called “An Important Message from Ellen about Bullying”, and I was not in any situation where I was being bullied but the message that really changed my view on life was when she said “Things will get easier. People’s mind will change. And you should be alive to see it.” I have never tried taking my own life but I have wished that my brief existence would come to an end, because I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so the last line really made an impact on my opinion.
I looked at what I had, a roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, clean water to drink, tasty food to eat, clothes to wear and a good school to learn in and I couldn’t be more grateful. I came across a quote on the internet that said “When something bad happens, you have three choices: you can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.” I decided that it was time for me to stop letting this problem destroy me but instead strengthen me.
I learned that we should never criticize something we don’t understand and I stopped being so angry at everybody especially my mum because my mum had to see her skin stretch as I was in her womb and she went through excruciating pain to bring me into this world. She was my private nurse, chef, chauffeur, teacher and best friend. As for my dad, well he may not be my mum’s husband anymore but he will always be my dad and I will always be his daughter and a signature on divorce settlement isn’t going to change that.
I now have a list of ‘The Best Things in Life’ – which had things from hot, cheesy pizza to being in love – in my notebook to remind me that we only live once and we shouldn’t waste any time of it. The bad things stay with you. You can’t escape them even if you want to, but there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. Everything that has happened made me who I am today, somebody who is hopefully hopeful. So be careful of what you wish for because if I had wished harder for my last breath to come I probably wouldn’t be able to write all this now. Hopefully I’ll stick to my New Year’s Resolutions next year till the very end.