By Karen Ho, Yale-NUS College ’17 – See bio
To society’s rejects, to those who don’t fit. To the ones who feel they’ve been cursed with a talent in something so unique that there’s no way to quantify it, no way to show it in a qualification, nothing useful to get you where you are told you need to be. To those whose parents want you to do what earns the most money and respect, but you know all you want to do is work with paints or words or music or people to create immeasurable beauty.
You are blessed. Too many people have mastered the art of pleasing the system and satisfying people, working their magic formula through the years, without ever finding that spark in their hearts. Don’t let them make you think that their way is the one you should follow. They have never found something they loved doing so much that all their thoughts morphed into it. You pass by a grandmother embracing a child and you freeze and set ablaze the image in your mind. You hear a neighbour crying at midnight and you need to play her a soothing song on the guitar, your heart aching for whatever’s breaking hers. You look at a friend’s new watch and mentally take it apart right away, taking in every bit of the intricate work. Or a slow song plays in a store and you immediately picture the stage, the soft lights, the magic.
Few people see the beauty in the everyday things that you see. Few people notice it at all.
And then, when the road of exploring and igniting becomes overshadowed by adulthood and they aren’t as blessed to have found that inner flame in their youth, they become too caught up with the endless demands of work and family to be able to care anymore. Nothing’s more important than making sure you don’t lose your job. Nothing’s more important than supporting the family. The boss, the kids, the money, it will all eat away at their lives. Those without passion become jaded. They become dead. Or they might not, but they’ve never been alive.
You’ve been alive. You are alive in that flame that burns in you; it’s the reason you were placed in this world. And no matter how much your passion is buried under the boss and the kids and the money, it ensures you never become dead.
You have a gift. A gift so unique that there’s no way to quantify it in this world’s free-size system. It’s right for you, or you struggle to put it on, or you just don’t fit. And when you don’t fit, you’re a stick in a dress made for Other People, or too full of life, trying to contain it all, praying it won’t rip apart and reveal all of you. Either way, you wish you would fit. You don’t want others to look and laugh.
Let them look. Let them realise this world was never for you. It’s a gift you were blessed with. It’s your responsibility to bring that gift to the world. Go out, now, and try to bring life to those who never had it. Or show the others that they don’t have to be afraid of their gift. If you have that flame, don’t try to quench it. Let it burn. Let it spread.