Maybe it was immersing myself in TED Radio Hour, or preparing for the next 168-ish hours in Colorado, or writing a research paper that has me tearing every other paragraph, or keeping Eric Garner’s family in my heart on this third year anniversary of his death, or completing another MCAT review book, or feeling my quads of steel thanks to the horrid stairclimber, or reading about the first water park for people with disabilities, or it just being the week before Aunt Flo’s visit – I shortened my workout by 45 minutes tonight. I didn’t even hit half of the miles I was supposed to run today.
Listening to TED Radio Hour’s episode, Forgiveness, while running was a bad decision. Certain segments had me frozen, some tightened every muscle in my body, and others made me want to dash to the locker room to cry. I purposely avoided this episode while downloading podcasts for my trip, because my only thought was “I do not deserve forgiveness for the wrongs I have done.”
Prior to Forgiveness, I listened to A Better You and Wired for Altruism, both discussing traits I aspire to live by. Yet, both propelled me into a topic I didn’t want to face: closure. To become a better me and do good, I must accept everything that has come my way and who I am. So, I accepted that I am not as selfless, kind, patient, empathetic, and humble as I hope to be. I do not have a compelling story or laudable accomplishments. I am awfully shy, observant, and stick true to my INFJ personality. I prefer to live quietly — to hide in the shadows, blend into the walls, and secretly scribble down a speaker’s wisdom, but I want to create loud things.
I want to form a non-profit, build a business from the ground up, explore the correlation of Agent Orange and Vietnamese children born with mental and physical impairments, become a kickass pediatric surgeon who has the privilege of wearing cartoon scrubs for the rest of her life, find cures to a concerning large list of diseases, make a short film and documentary, write a book, make a ton of money just so I can create jobs and leave big tips and offer scholarships, have my family live comfortably, and so, so much more.
And it was today that I became conscious of how far I am from accomplishing any of the above. I haven’t even taken a minuscule of a step towards my wants. For once, ever since starting college, I see clear. I am content. I am at peace, but I am settling, being complacent, and not asking questions. I am afraid of this fresh breath of peace disappearing. I am holding onto words and actions of others and myself that wore me down and broke me into pieces that are now glued together but do not fit like they used to. I am afraid of being forgiven for the pain I have caused, the doubt I have instilled, and the anger I created – not just in others, but also myself.
Every speaker of Forgiveness delved into a different facet of me. It was difficult to hear my struggle in theirs and listen to the words I knew I needed but didn’t want to just yet. One said the pain that hurts the most is pain that we cannot reason with or understand, which was so on point that I stopped running right then and there. As I maneuver through life, I’ve learned that there are growing pains, lingering pains, and discernible pains. All of which should help us to become what we aspire to be.
For some, it may being that baker who kindly sneaks in an extra doughnut, a DJ who moves hearts with intricate movements of a turntable, or a dentist who asks about every family member – we must pursue it with all of our might. Let’s be unapologetic about our passions, generous with our empathy, and frivolous with our hope.
Today has been a kicker, as seen with this unorganized piece. It’s been an accumulation of unidentified emotions and unexpected spurs of inspiration. As discombobulated as the piece may seem, it’s actually a pretty accurate representation of what is going through my mind. It just feels so right though. After a summer of complacency and silence, it feels so good to be challenged. It’s time to forgive and be forgiven, to be loud, to be a somebody.
*Typically one recommendation, but today’s an exception!