This is my story on facing discrimination towards minority religion.
When I was in middle school, I used to win several competitions on short-story writings. One day, the school decided to move me to the exclusive class in which students were specifically supervised to achieve their non-academic accomplishments. It was an exciting news until I had to actually socialize with my new classmates.
Being a minority in a majority is really challenging. Indonesia is a country with various religions. Equality is the dream we try to achieve, and yet I felt like the world turns its back against me. The boys would throw their dirty words at me and kick my feet when they found me all alone in the hallway. The most unbelievable part was that there were no girls who wanted to befriend with me, when I thought that girls would always support girls.
That terror would haunt me for 4 years, until the year I entered university. Unlike my other previous educational experiences, being a university student has been a blessing. Entering a college life, to me, is the most beautiful and the biggest turning point in my entire life. I have never seen such a melting-pot environment where I get to meet so many people from various religious and cultural background. There was always a thought-exchange going on every day, and the most important thing is that I have finally found a true meaning of friendship.
My university facilitates students with a lot of opportunities to grow by establishing and supporting numerous organizations. I was interested in joining the Students Executive Board in my faculty, because it has a ministry that no other faculties have, which really made my heart burst out; Ministry of Religion!
That nightmare when I was bullied flashed in my mind right when I filled the registration form for the student executive board. “What if there is actually a bully going on at this very moment, but I just don’t know about it? Will I be able to break a stigma and discrimination towards the minority religion, just like the one I had two years ago?”
But I filled the form anyways. After going through the interview process, I was finally accepted. The chief of the Ministry of Religion was a woman that I adored so much for her brilliant and critical thought, an example of what I aspire to be.
The chief and her vice decided to make me as a chairperson of national seminary. It was a real challenge for me as I had never handled such a big and notable annual event in the ministry. The theme of the seminary was the thunderstruck moment: 'Embracing the Diversity of Religions in Millennium Era'. I was tongue-tied and happy because I finally got to make a little impact through this seminary.
After negotiating with three notable speakers from religious backgrounds, promoting the seminar, and facilitating the participants, I gained this sense of relief and pride. It is not because I was chosen as the chairperson, but because of the participants' reactions. They showed me appreciation in the evaluation form. A simple "the seminar was great, keep going!" was almost making me tear up.
I finally came to realize that whatever our past is, we can always choose what we want to become in the future. Yesterday's pain is just tomorrow's memory. It hurts and the pain is unbearable and unforgettable, but the dawn is always coming and it is your choice to do whatever you want.
You are not your yesterday's pain, you are your today's dream. Leave it all behind, here comes the sun.