Last year, my then-girlfriend-now-fiancee and I saw Rise of the Guardians. It was a refreshing take on all those childhood figures we’ve come to know and adore. Despite the fresh characterizations that seamlessly told a tight and cohesive narrative, one part about the film that really struck me is when Santa asked Jack Frost a deceptively simple question: what is your center?
Santa, with a thick. Russian accent, went on to discuss how he is viewed as fearless, giving, scary, et. al by way of a Matryoshka doll. Each doll represents a layer of his personality, and as another doll is pried open, another layer is revealed inside it. At the very center of the Matryoshka doll is the smallest and final doll that represents what the person really is.
All this time, I thought that kindness is my center.
All my life, I believe that I went out of my way to make others happy, to be content playing second fiddle, to simply be part of the background. Because I want the people whom I truly love to benefit from everything that I can do for them. As much as possible, I try to give my 100% for them to prevent them from feeling angry and negative. At one point, it is what made my relationships with people work.
Although this may not be your definition of kindness, this was mine, at least at that time.
Until this past couple of weeks where everything unraveled in front of me that really rocked the very foundation of my existence. In other words, my center was crushed, destroyed, and disintegrated right before my very eyes. I wasn’t kind at all.
All that I held onto all along was a false center, one that gave me this identity that leaves me frustrated when things don’t go my way, or leaving me feeling empty even after I’ve given so much, a hallmark of kindness.
I owe everything to my sheltered past, even my failings and problems. It is my upbringing, where everything was handed to me on a silver platter, that ultimately is the cause for my success, as well as my inability to express and communicate what I really feel and cope up with the trials of life anew.
With this realization, I had to go back and rethink who I really am. I had to trace back my years growing up that led to certain decisions in life until I reached to where I am right now, a man with relatively great experience and an even greater worldview. All had a common denominator – perseverance.
I failed hard before, tried to learn from my mistakes, and yet failed for the same reasons. I’ve done lot of mistakes, deliberately or accidental. I said stupid shit that got me into trouble. I didn’t say anything at all, suppressed my emotions, and just shut the fuck up, but still wound up getting into trouble. I’ve disappointed people that I loved and made them cry countless of times. I’ve beaten myself up for all these.
And yet I’m still here.
With all my shortcomings, inabilities, and insecurities being layers of me as a Matryoshka doll, this is the best I can come up with. At the core of everything, I accept my failures and the stupid shit I say even if people don’t. I strive to live and find ways to be believed in, respected, and looked up to, even if, at the end, people wouldn’t respect me at all. I die with the knowledge that I tried and never gave up. Perseverance. Because for every bad thing that happens to me, I still want to believe that all roads lead to a better and brighter tomorrow.
This new center feels right and not right at the same time. But the important question is, is it my center? I’ll try to figure things out the next few weeks.