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Growing Into Dreams Once Too Big

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“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” -Paulo Coelho 

The stem to the tree of my dreams grew from many roots. One of my dreams has always been to live in a more kind world. From an early age, I’d constantly envision how living in a world where we could unapologetically be ourselves would be like. Being able to explore my gifts would probably cultivate confidence to help others. I dreamt of being confident enough to assist my peers understand Maths and Science better, encouraging my teammates to tirelessly refine their athletic potential, and encourage everyone to take on every challenge with an intent of giving it their all. The more I grew up, the more this dream felt too big. Every extraordinary accomplishment seemed to get me alienated. People didn’t celebrate things you’d assume they’d be honoured to witness. When I was in primary school, my teachers celebrated all of my achievements. For every occasion that my teachers made me show learners in my grade how quickly I got the hang of a lesson, and shared their pride in their work with other teachers, I fell prey to more bullies. I was assaulted for doing exceptionally well in every activity I participated in. My mind became so quiet from shutting the noise out, I even became deaf to the cheers that would have kept me afloat. I was incapable of separating the two. 

My preeminent trauma occurred when I was in fourth grade. I had been acknowledged as the top learner in my school. I recall feeling grateful that I made my family and teachers proud by how well I had performed. Sadly, by then, my mental state has significantly deteriorated. I felt insignificant to the award itself. A few days later, I wished I could take it back. A bright girl two grades ahead of me accused me of being the reason why her little sister hadn’t received any awards. When I failed to give a good enough apology, she proceeded to physically assault me.I am not convinced that people don’t care to be kind. I believe that we are hurt and feel better burying our pain than tending to our scars. However, our eagerness to reclaim our places in the world and trampling over our scars leaves us feeling okay with inflicting pain on others. Maybe the girl who attacked me was brought up under an unhealthy academic excellence culture. Maybe the unkind people in work places struggle with expressing themselves because they weren’t given a platform to show their gifts growing up. Maybe someone somewhere is struggling to heal from something I said in a moment of weakness. 

We often neglect Ubuntu in our missions to strengthen our minds. Our hardships sometimes strip us off our humanity. The words “Kindness is the best nourishment for humanity” reconnected me with my dream. It no longer only entails the world being kind to me, it’s centred around me embodying the very same kindness. I’m becoming a part of the movement that reduces, if not completely eradicates, the chances of the next generation growing up in a world that doesn’t celebrate and empower their abilities. I’m growing into my ever growing dream.  

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