My entire life came as a flashback to me when in an interview someone asked me, “What advice would you give to your younger self?”. Running the clips of my memories one by one in front of my eyes and I stood there watching it frame by frame.
It’s Wednesday, 2nd September ‘1989.
I clenched papa’s hand tightly as he stood beside me on the frozen city lake. He always wanted me to keep learning new things. This time was ice skating.
“You can do it”, he said.
But I’m too scared to even take a step ahead. I nodded my head from left to right. Papa turned towards me, took my hands in his, leaned forward and looked me in my eye.
“You’ll be fine.”
“Don’t be scared.”
“I’m here with you, and I won’t let you fall”, he said.
I stood there looking into his eyes. His mighty brown eyes. Capable of convincing you by transcending confidence and love at the same time. I knew he won’t let me fall.
Convinced with his eyes, I took a step ahead and slowly dragged my body along, trying to maintain the balance.
Almost about two hours later I was sweeping across the icy floor. I was gliding over it, like a kite in the sky. Papa was looking at me. His eyes curled at the edges because of the huge smile.
He has always been a passionate father and an ambitious human. He believed that being authentic was all that matters. He loved others for who they were inside and not for how they looked. He wanted me to nurture my gifts and told me how it was courageous to be different from others. I wish he was here today. So that he could see that the world doesn’t accept us for being different, how it tries to suppress the ones who stand out. The world we live in is full of fake things and fake people. Growing up we all learn about how we should behave in a specific way, that we should wear specific clothes, and like specific things. I remember how I never liked to have long hair but mum would never let me cut it because she believed that girls should always have long hair. As if having short hair made me less of a girl that I’m. Growing up I started believing in these lies the world foisted upon me. I started to doubt myself. I became ignorant of the tiny voice that was within. I abandoned my dreams, I traded my beliefs and buried my values.
I was so fervent for becoming the part of the world that I gave up on the things that made me unique. I became a part of this masquerade party, where everyone was hiding their truth behind their disguise.
It took me a while to understand the fact that I mattered. That my dreams aren’t just soap bubbles that would pop and die. I understood that what makes me different is what makes me strong and that is my gift. That is when I took off the false mask off my mind and soul. I had to revamp my life and foster my beliefs.
Today I’m fearless. I know who I am and what I can do. I had to relearn a few things. One of them that if I wanted to influence the world, I couldn’t have done it if I had been just like it. I learned that people may hate you for being different and not living up to society’s standards but deep down, they wish they had the courage to do the same.
“What advice would you give to young Linda?”, the reporter asked me again.
I smiled and replied