The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Open-Minded

 

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.

– Tupac Shakur

There are moments; rare yet enlightening moments where I find myself getting lost in the ponderings of a time that once was; of the girl I once was before all of the harsh complexities – that inevitably accompany the rocky transition into adulthood – tainted my once bright (and admittedly naïve) outlook on life.

I feel like the last eight or so years, in particular, have intermingled into one big blur through which I have blissfully laughed, heartbreakingly cried and waveringly waltzed my way. It’s been a rather ambivalent phase as I have grudgingly entered the proverbial chrysalis (kicking and screaming), metamorphosing from girl to woman and yet for the longest time not being able to identify myself as either.

During these moments of somewhat intense contemplation, I am guilty of thinking back to my 18-year-old self; how fearlessly carefree she was, totally unbothered by the frivolous drama that is intrinsic to pubescent life. It was almost like she was above it all, merrily moving forward in a world of her own. Oh, how I envy her. How at times I have longed to be that girl once more if even for a day.

But then I realised that to wish such a thing would be to detract and undermine all of the amazing occurrences that have happened since then; the beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) humans I have encountered; soul-stirring writings I have read; the experiences I have had both good and bad. All of these things have so brilliantly shaped me into the person I am today and to not acknowledge this fact because I’m so embroiled in nostalgia is disserviceable; disrespectful even.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to myself for being so ungrateful (sorry, self… Really, I am). It seems that life’s tribulations have (at the best of times) gotten the better of me. In instances when it has so gloatingly thrown an uncontrollable predicament my way I’ve had to remind myself to: 1. Always remain gracious (or at least try to – God only knows the number of times I have so fleetingly tried and failed); 2. Never ignore my intuition (many a time I have had to suffer the consequences of disregarding this rule); and most of all 3. Know better and do better (‘you should have known better’; a phrase that my mother has exhausted on me to the nth degree and yet you’d think that I would actually know better!)

Life be like:

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I’d like to share with you an anecdote detailing a rather defining moment in my life…

It was three years ago almost to the day. A boisterous, freshly-turned-22 –year-old-me was riding in the back of a pick-up truck in Thailand. I remember it being a warm, late-summers evening travelling down some country roads with an indescribably picturesque view, accompanied by a bunch of girls whom up until 4 weeks prior, I didn’t even know existed. I was halfway across the world with some of the most amazing people I have ever met having the absolute time of my life – the wind in my hair and the world at my feet; it was a real pinch-myself moment.

And then suddenly it came charging at me like a big, grey elephant that had strayed from its path; the realisation that it’s the little things in life that turn out to have the biggest impact – that truly make you reflect on and appreciate the blessings you’ve been given. And to think, it was only 12 months prior to this epiphanic moment that I was at a real low in my life – it’s funny how much can change from year to year.

 

‘The world is your oyster’. (Apologies for the clichè but it really is!) And like the oyster, our minds must be pried open for us to truly enjoy all of the wondrously precious pearls life has to offer.

We can do anything we put our minds to – Who cares if it’s stomach-turningly scary? Fear, no matter how great, is temporary; regret, no matter how small, is forever! This trip was the first for many things – the first time I had travelled anywhere outside of Birmingham (let alone out of the country) by myself;

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the first time a bunch of adorable, little Thai children called me ‘Teacher’;

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the first time I successfully learnt how to ride a bike (all thanks to the amazing Aussie who is Venus); ultimately, the first time I had ever pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone.

Venus, your commentary is hilarious! Lol!

Once the mind is exposed to a new idea, encounter or experience, it expands to new horizons from which it can never; will never shrivel back to its former dimensions. The question is: why would you want it to?

 

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Well, of course, I did… I became better!

Fast forward three years and now that moment forms a part of what I characterise as one of the best years of my life so far. And to think, had I let the fear of going on this new adventure paralyse me, I wouldn’t have had the once-in-a-lifetime experiences nor the acquaintance of some truly amazing individuals.

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Like the rose that proceeds to defy rules of nature by flourishing through a crack in the concrete, an open and positive mind has the power to release us from the constraints of everything that is limiting us from achieving our full potential. But no rose comes without its thorns and so to be exposed to an unexplored world full of wondrous beauty and endless opportunity also means being open and vulnerable to the wounds of life.

All in all, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we can never entirely understand and value our times of inexplicable high without enduring points of discouraging lows. In essence, that is what makes life so unexplainably beautiful.

So, may we no longer dwell on what has already passed but instead focus on the power of now; may we all have the courage to embrace our successes as well as our misfortunes; and above all, may our faith be far greater than our fears.

 

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