Of failure and of strength

Dear Maa,

I don’t know if it’s natural or rather funny that I’m growing into you. I am becoming the woman you are. I have begun to feel like you do.

Today, I went out with friends for a girls’ adventurous day out. It was our first time climbing walls. As interesting as it appeared, the three storey high wall also intimidated me. It made me think small of myself, smaller than I have ever felt before. I dared to take the first few steps but with few more, my legs started trembling. I gave up. I climbed down. I never went back up again.

Growing up, I taught myself that it is okay to let go if something is not important for me. Growing up, I taught myself that it is okay to give up if the goal is not worth the trouble. Growing up, I taught myself to be a sport about both my success and failure. I taught myself to not make too much noise and not be too transparent about how I felt about either of them.

Wall climbing was one of the goals that I didn’t mind letting go of. Wall climbing was something I didn’t mind failing. I had embraced my failure and told myself that I needed some more strength before I gave another go. I was coping with the whole scenario like I had mastered to for years. I was calm and composed.

I didn’t regret the decision until I realized it was a mistake big and fat enough to make big and fat room for people to feel sorry for me.

Today I learnt and lived a lesson that you always tried to teach me. What’s important in life is to be strong and not put yourself in a position that privileges other people to look down upon you. What’s important in life is to not appear weak, because when you do people will proudly feel sorry for you even when you don’t.

Ma, I don’t remember the last time I was so utterly disappointed with my choice. I think I now understand you. I think I now get your need to be invincible, to be strong, and to be in a position where people don’t dare make you think lowly of yourself.

I think I know what I want to be in life. Strong. Like you.



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