Almost Lost Chapter 1: I can't. I can.

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A blurred rainbow bokeh of Christmas lights.

THE PAST

It is my final year of high school. Sitting in my elective art class, I wonder if I am ever going to make it. We have more than a couple of assignments due tomorrow, and I have not completed any of it. Neither will I, until tonight when the panic of failing my class is going to grab me tight with unseen tentacles of anxiety and paranoia. Deep down, I know that the fear of failing this class is only a puzzle piece to my perpetual existential crisis. Most people have told me that I am too young to have it, I beg to differ.

Under my desk, cupped in my hands, is my cellphone that I did not give up at the beginning of the day. I start scrolling through journals, illustrations and articles that interest me. I have a feeling that my art teacher knows about this. He also knows that I am going to produce work by tomorrow that he would not be able to complain about and hence he keeps shut. Letting me enjoy my process of creation.

I select a part of this quote I find in one of the write-ups:

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I post it on my timeline and go back to searching for inspiration for my submission the next day. Can I do it?

 

THE PRESENT

I sit in my dorm with the brief for the project open on the computer in front of me. I always have my fairy lights on, it is a bad habit. They start flickering, and the red ones stop working. My room, so colourful a moment ago, turns into a pale shade of greenish blue. I can make anything I want for my final project of Freshman Year, and that is precisely the problem. All my life, except when I changed my school in the 11th grade, I have been taught to do things that I am told out of the home. Never has anyone in my school slid a piece of paper with a bunch of prompts written on it, into my hands and told me to create something. Create anything.

"This is not overwhelming, you can do it.", I say to the throbbing sound inside my head.

I look out through the window. As my eyes follow the beam of sunlight that falls on my arm, I stare at my skin. Golden, wheatish, brown aren't among all the words that crowd my mind. "Un-white," I think to myself.

As if in an animated movie, I can almost see the light bulb glowing over my head. I pick up my laptop from the bed and put it on my lap and start creating a mood board. The red lights magically come back on, and my room turns into a bright shade of rainbow again.

I can do it.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
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