There are some days where I find myself wondering about the people I have come across in my life. I’ve always believed that everyone we meet in our lives isn’t simply an accident. Every encounter, every relationship, has some kind of reason. Many times that reason isn’t as clear and straightforward as we’d like. And most times we fail to acknowledge how important some people are in our lives. We forget to say those simple words, “thank you” and “I love you.”
I am a strong believer in that every person who has come into our lives has a purpose. Some are meant to teach us something and others to inspire us. Timing means everything to me, and maybe that’s why I don’t believe in coincidences.
I think back to the moment where I met my best friend in college. She had been my resident at the time, and during Halloween weekend, a car hit her. I remember rushing to the hospital, hoping that everything would be okay. I remember holding her as we both sobbed, thankful that she was alive. And from that moment she became the most precious person I met throughout my college years.
Over the years she has helped me to believe in myself, to see myself as an inspiration and know that I will always be enough. Each time I receive a letter or card from her, I pin it to my bulletin board, because in her words I find the strength to do what I do every day with confidence, and that is to help first-year students. There is a reason why I, out of hundreds of applicants, was chosen to become an advisor. I believe I was meant to connect with people, to help them open up to different possibilities and learn to take risks so that they can grow as a person. Through my job, I’ve realized that I am meant to inspire those that become my mentees. And through them, I’ve somehow become a better version of myself.
The mentors I’ve had throughout the years have all helped me to fight the scars that I’ve been so embarrassed about. My first-grade teacher Ms. Claudia, whom I’ve known for over 16 years, has been my family’s greatest supporter. Her passion for education and her love for others has shown me that my family is more than just those who I share a bloodline with.
My family is those who came into my life and never left. Who have always been by my side, and will always be. I remember my counselor in high school, Ms. Vesceri, who to this day has been my biggest advocate. In my darkest moments, she pushed me to continue believing, to know that my greatest strength comes from within. I am a college senior, pursuing majors in Integrative Physiology and Psychology, minors in Religious Studies and Philosophy, and certificates in Public Health and Neuroscience, because of her. My high school years were some of the roughest years of my life, but she is the reason I learned how important it is to never give up.
My favorite place besides my home in Sri Lanka, is Brent’s Place, a home for kids undergoing bone marrow transplants. Each child I’ve met there showed me that cancer isn’t “an end all be all” diagnosis. Positivity is key, and if cancer gets the best of you, you go down fighting. You never give up. Cancer can wear you down, it can push you to give up, but it can never cripple love or courage. And wherever there is sadness, look just a little deeper and you’ll find happiness too. My father’s diagnosis brought us closer, and my diagnosis helped me to realize that I was more loved, respected and admired than I had realized. How can scars ever be ugly, if it is those scars that have taught you something beautiful about life?
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the people I’ve crossed paths with is that love is precious and sacred. Over the years, I’ve had my share of flings, never a heartbreak thankfully, but each guy has left me questioning my worth in some ways. I’ve always felt as if I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t pretty enough, fit enough, funny enough, and the list goes on. Despite the drops in self-esteem they left me with, I came to understand that my heart was delicate and very sensitive. And if I were to ever love, I would love deeply, hopelessly, and passionately. Because of that, I would have to be careful in the matters of the love, as your first love is something you will always remember.
The boys that I’ve met previously, helped me to understand that I needed someone who was kind and patient, someone who enjoyed humanitarian work like I did, someone who put family above all else, and believed that every relationship should be built on a strong foundation of trust and honesty. I knew I was asking for the impossible when I made my list of things I wanted in a guy, but I found him, and my first love has enlightened me in ways I hadn’t realized were possible. Because of him, I have learned to believe again, to love again, and to see that the strongest relationship I should always have is with myself. A love like ours is more than I could ever ask for, and despite those that have hurt me in the past, I know that he never will. Despite my flaws, to him I am perfect.
With the people that have come into my life, sometimes I forget the exact things they said, the exact things they did, but I will never forget how they’ve made me feel. Whether it be loved, inadequate, or inspired, each person has taught me lessons of life. And if I, was given the choice to change my life, I would still keep those that have hurt me in it. And I thank every person who has crossed paths with me, and especially those who have stayed. Like a mosaic, everyone has contributed to who I am as a person, and that is what makes me beautiful. To everyone who is still in my life, “I love you.” And those who have come and gone, “Thank you.” You have all, in some way, helped to bring out the very best in me.
Featured image via Ailin Rachael