How could you see the stars if you spend your whole life being afraid of the dark?


Every night when you close your eyes, by virtue of insomnia, the flashbacks start playing in your mind like a broken record. The blood and tears shed, the pain inflicted on you, so deep and tangible that you could still feel it within you. You remember the enemies who looked at you haughtily, the resentment, and the scars carved on your body which serve as a constant reminder of those days – The memories, emblazoned in your mind so vividly. It’s agonizing for you to recall what happened back then.

Their words like knives stabbing your heart, their harsh voice berating you like a fork clawing on a plate, poking at your insecurities.  You’ve lost count of the times you spent curled up in bed, under your blanket, once a source of comfort but now it’s stinging your wounds, all while you’re trying to sleep in a silent room, craving to nestle in anyone’s embrace. There was no one who could hear you out, no one who could fathom your pain.

I am sure that this rite of passage is somewhat familiar to anyone who has had their share of pain and grieving. Sometimes we blame God for all the pain that we are going through. We’d complain about how terrible our lives have been; and we couldn’t help but compare our life to that of others who seem so impeccably perfect. We’d freeze our expressions and keep our voices devoid of emotion, in fear of releasing the wild beast chained deep down in the bottom of our hearts.

Oftentimes, we’d be too engrossed in our own problems to acknowledge the sufferings of others. Little do we know that like us, other people too use their spotless public facade to mask their personal miseries. If we had a chance to make a foray into the lives of other people, we would soon realize that nobody leads a perfect life. In fact, the things that we take for granted might be coveted by others. I am certain that there are, and there will be things that we can still be grateful for. For instance, an interesting story that we could immerse ourselves into while escaping from the insane pressures of reality; an honest, thought-provoking conversation in which we get to mine nuggets of wisdom from other people’s profundity; or perhaps, even something as simple as a plate of good food.

At the end of the day, we need to learn to move on from the injustices that were done to us, whether real or perceived; and shake off our habitual inhibitions, because good things can happen to us only if we emancipate ourselves from negativity. The world might seem cold, unjust, and merciless; but it’s also a very beautiful place. All’s not lost, as there are still many people out there who aren’t malevolent and who will sincerely care for you.

Yet, forgiving the faults of others doesn’t explicitly imply that we should just forget about it. It is through all these experiences that we grow stronger and learn to be wiser. Instead of filling our boots with hatred, let’s build a castle out of all the bricks that were thrown at us. When you feel that life is an oblique sinus (cul de sac), try to see things from another perspective.

Only when we remove our prejudices, could we then build towards the future that we want. However, in doing so, we still have to acknowledge our past, and stop denying the pain we’ve  endured in our lives. In fact, stars can only sparkle by the hundreds when the sky is dark, and the same goes for our lives. How could we experience and appreciate the many bright spots of joy if we live our whole lives being afraid of the dark?

Written by: Jason Ting

Edited by: Kenneth Tan

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