Photo Courtesy: 7 Minute Miles
Let’s start with the physical manifestation of this quote.
All my life, I’ve been short. I’m 5 feet, and only just reached that milestone this year. Well acquainted with holding the title of “Shortest Person in the Class”, I’m all too acutely aware of my vertically-challenged nature.
It’s difficult to grow up having people instantly assign the labels “cute” and “innocent” to me because of my appearance.
This over-sensitivity and cognizance of my size has led to me have a Napoleon complex, according to my mother.
(However, fun fact: Napoleon wasn’t actually that short. I know, your mind is probably blown from this historical fallacy. In fact, he was taller than the average Frenchman at the time.)
I don’t necessarily agree that I’m “aggressive”, but it has made me wonder whether my character traits have developed as a result of me trying to compensate for falling short in stature (pun intended). My friends have more than once remarked that I’m different than how they had originally perceived me to be. When I had asked them to elaborate, adjectives like “shy”, “quiet”, and “sweet” were common. Now, they describe me as, “ambitious”, “outgoing”, “intelligent”, and “well-spoken”.
But in the end, these are just labels. I’ve been called everything from stupid to sophisticated. I give them their power. And I shouldn’t let them, or my height, define who I am.
Another way in which I’ve “felt small” was when I was going through a mild bout of depression. But, nothing about depression is mild. It wasn’t to the point where I felt a desire to kill myself, but I had become disillusioned with life.
Knowing that you’ll die isn’t a realization, but it seems like it when it finally hits you. It’s like a leak in the ceiling that you’ve ignored, but when it finally bursts open, it’s a flood. I was drowning in figuring out how to accept this perpetual, sinking feeling that I had.
I will die. All of those that I have ever loved it met will die. All of humanity will die, until there is not even the barest trace of our existence left.
Those were the words playing in a constant loop in my mind.
It used to be I would ignore it, push it back into the depths of my brain and hope it would get lost amongst the chaos. Now, it’s something I accept. It’s a selfish desire to want to be immortal, but an innate one.
We have a life right now, stretched out before us. And the actions we take will that path, the end we know not.
I want these steps I take not be like footprints in the sand, washed away as quickly as they came, but to leave an indelible mark.
I want this road I travel to have twists and bends along the way that I shape almost as much as they shape me.