“Once we learn to accept who we are, imperfections and all, then can we achieve our full potential. Forget about negative self-image and self-judgement. It’s about self-love, and no one teaches you that at school. No one teaches you that if you accept and love yourself, nothing and no one can touch you. ”

I was a brave man today. I strode into class donning new spectacles, my huge black eyes framed by an unfamiliar shade of brown. It was an unconventional choice, and it strayed far from my style of old. I also volunteered to be the final runner for my floorball team in the inter-sports relay, knowing full well how I despised the thought of being ridiculed – should I run poorly. But I ran. I ran past the hungry eyes of a restless crown, and despite my team finishing second last, I was proud of them. More importantly, I was proud of myself. I chatted up a footballer on the way to the starting blocks, casually expressing my anxious state of mind. I couldn’t read his expression. Perhaps he sympathized with me, though he was more likely to have been exasperated by my unnecessary small talk.

The funny thing is, I didn’t care. I couldn’t have cared less what my classmates thought of my new fashion sense. Finishing second last didn’t matter at all, nor did my failed attempt at casual banter. I was comfortable in my own skin, and I was proud of what I stood for. For once, I didn’t let my silly insecurities prevent me from doing what I wanted to do. They might have deadened me once, but not today. I felt the winds of change caress me, and boy did I ride them. And as I slowed after passing the finish line, I took a moment to catch my breath. The sun’s rays were beating down on me, each one singeing my tender skin. My vision was blurred, purple clouds dancing in its peripheries. Walking over to my team, they offered me warm pats on my back. Their smiles were genuine, and well-appreciated.

There’s a lot going on in my life, and there’s always more to me than many see. I’ve waged bitter wars with beings that dwell only in my head. I too have sunk deep into the depths of depression, yet I’ve emerged time and time again, wounded but alive. I’ve lived through ages of darkness so devoid of light, even hope often feared to knock. My own reflection was once foreign to me, and I loathed it so very much. Yet, this very day, I rediscovered the beauty of life, my life – its fragility, and how unpredictably captivating it is. I may be a mere mortal, whose destiny is known only to a higher being, but destiny was my friend today. It reached out to me, offering me its hallowed hand. I grabbed it, and I swear, I’m never letting go.