What shaped you into who you are now?

Who you are today is the aftermath of a snowball effect. Everything you encounter either helps you evolve as a person or ruins a part of you irreparably, developing another that might not necessarily be as good. For example, the worst of people were never born like that; we are all brought into this world as entities unmingled with life’s complications. We are born pure, authentic and loving. It is everything else that roughens our edges. Personally, I never really gave that fact that much thought. It was always something self-evident and overlooked. But one day, I was asked in a job interview to talk about a firsthand encounter that has managed to play a big part into shaping who I am today, and instead of having a panic attack like I usually do, I had an epiphany.

I remember every tiny detail about the day my little sister was born. I remember the adrenaline rush that tickled every sensation of worry, fear and excitement my father and I were capable of having while my mum was giving birth to her. I remember my heart skipping beats in a room where a new one was beating just as fast. I remember how she looked; so beautiful and unaware, so innocent, so full of life– but most importantly, I remember how small she was and how big I felt.

I was 6 years old. And with a trembling hand and a heart that was unqualified to understand how significant a promise is, I held her against my chest and vowed to always take care of her no matter what. I vowed to always be the person she could go to for shelter, her proof that no matter how ugly the world gets as she grows up, humanity’s not forever lost, that you can still have a heart even when everyone else lacks the essence of it. I vowed to always be understanding, especially in her most distraught moments. I vowed to always be her savior even at times she doesn’t really want to be saved. I vowed to never be a disappointment no matter how many times my parents forget that that is not my name.

To recall that exact moment of how tiny I was making such a huge promise without a shred of fear or insincerity (and to actually keep it that long without once breaking a part of it) overwhelms me. I have taken midnight strolls in the darkest of alleys and got mobbed continuously of the parts of me that I have loved, that made me alive: like my ability to trust, love and open up without constantly shaking with regret and/or the fear of regret. I have endured the worst of ways one could get hurt and watched parts of me die as the ones I’ve loved die as well. In the span of 3 years, just 3 years, I turned into a completely different person with completely different habits. So imagine how much I’ve changed in the span of 12?

But through it all, my core remained the same. I was still the same 6 years old girl who couldn’t despise anyone no matter how much she disliked them, like she was immune to hatred despite being hated. I was the same person who was deadbent on helping everyone, the same person who believe in second chances no matter how horrible someone proved to be. I was the same girl who promised her little sister to always take care of her.

So, here it is, the one thing that played a huge part into shaping who I am today: my sister. She is the reason I am not the worst version of myself even when I’ve been through the worst scenarios of possibilities. She is the reason why my core is still the same no matter how much I’ve changed as a person. And most importantly, she is the reason I keep going.

What is yours?

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Like Bukowski once said, I'm a helpless burning thing among other helpless burning things.