• The One Who Always Learns

    Hey, You.
    Are you feeling anxious right now?
    Or are you afraid of the results of your tests?
    It’s indeed frustrating when the test questions are something you don’t know how to answer. It feels like your effort to study was for nothing.
    Which place will you land in?
    Who will stand beside you there?
    “Am I gonna be OK?” you question that every day since the test ended.
    “What if my worst fear comes true?” You don’t have an appetite until you know you are safe.

    Hey, You. Come here.

    Hug me and let all your feelings flood out. Let them stream freely in our body, no need to block them, even though they sting and squeeze our heart much.
    It’s OK.
    Nothing happens for nothing.
    Bruises are there to show us that we are fighters.
    The pain we are most afraid of?
    When that happens, we will be strong enough to handle it.

    Sometimes, what you expect betrays you.
    What you want slips from your hands.
    What you need is too far to reach.

    Sometimes you will cry loud and alone.
    Other times, you will be too numb to feel anything.
    Too tired to even try.
    Don’t worry.
    Even with all the blood and scars, eventually, everything is going to be OK for you.
    Because you will never stop when things are difficult. You will only stop when things are finished.
    You will fall and hurt, but you will always get back up and stand stronger.
    And without you realizing it, you will be at the peak of the mountain you’ve been trying to conquer! Your dreams will come true one by one. Trust me, they will.
    Then you will understand that your dream not for nothing, but because you can achieve them.

    Go on.
    Keep making new dreams.
    Let people laugh at your dreams.
    Because it does not matter whether you achieve them or not,
    You know the goal itself is what inspires you to be better.
    The curiosity to break the ceiling is the reason you always try as hard as you can.

    And that’s enough for you.

    You are happy as the one who always learns and tries their best.
    And that’s how you will always be OK.

    Astrida Hara

    Voting starts July 24, 2024 12:00am

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  • Embracing Life’s Absurdity

    Life is a game. It has its ups and downs; sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Currently, I find myself on the downslope. I write to remember about this moment, for when life gets though, that’s when life teaches us the most.

    Despite not being in my best condition, this chapter of life is beautiful to me. When choices are limited or budgets are tight, we are forced to choose priorities. And therein lies the blessing in disguise.

    For the first decades of my life, I was pressured to always excel. As the eldest daughter of the family, I bore the burden of being an example for my younger siblings, under constant scrutiny not only from my own family, but also from my extended relatives who always compared me to my cousins who are only one year older than me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I can see I was always afraid of being a failure. It felt like an unending competition—be it over report cards, physical growth, or even the boyfriends. As one by one of my cousins got married and had children, I felt the collective gazes turn towards me. Even after I married and started a family of my own, the fear of failure kept hunting me. Until the day of the car accident.

    That accident left our car totaled, and I have never been the same. My body started acting weird –tingling sensations in my legs, an inexplicable fatigue, but the worst of all was excruciating stomach pain. At first, it happened only once a year, but then the frequency and the intensity increased. The pain was like something stabbing my stomach from the inside and squeezing it hard, made me lay on the floor, sweaty big like peas as I was sure I was about to die.

    I went to a doctor specializing in gastroenterology, but he didn’t find anything wrong. Then one morning, I started to feel the slice not only happen to my stomach but spread to my back, arms, shoulders, and everywhere. I went to my primary care physician who is an internal medicine doctor. He examined me and finally diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder where the brain misinterprets sensations as attacks, resulting in debilitating pain.

    Since I was a child, I have always been a highly sensitive person. I empathize deeply with other people. I couldn’t watch movies with torture scenes because they scared me to death. But fibromyalgia changed that. It exposed me to every fear I’d ever had. I experienced the pain of barbed wire cutting, knives slicing, pins and needles in my eyes, the ache like being hit, electricity sharp pain, and every type of torture I could imagine. I even lost my ability to write because my fingers hurt all the time and I had serious brain fog. That’s when I understood why people with fibromyalgia are sometimes suicidal because living with this shell of a body with this kind of pain is torture in its truest form.

    After the storms of disappointment and anger passed, I found solace in the absurdity of life. People spend days striving to achieve something when actually, to be able to sit after opening our eyes in the morning is already an achievement. When we are able to go down our bed, walk, and do many things on our own, not everyone can freely do that. And what’s funny is, no matter how high we already achieved something, we can always lose it anytime, in many ways possible. So what are we doing in this life? What is our purpose to breathe?

    Life is nothing but a game; it tricks us. We are constantly fearing failure and trying hard to not become a failure compared to others when actually everyone is playing their own race. Life is not a competition. Each of us has our own track with its own challenges, and we just have to win ours. Expectations and perceptions of others do not mean anything.

    Realizing this brought me freedom. I shed the burden of proving myself to others because I only have to focus on my present. It’s about me treasuring every breath I take in the morning and being able to think and do something in every minute. It’s about me facing my pain and uncertainty and learning how to win my own race. And that’s what makes me love this chapter of my life!

    Astrida Hara

    Voting starts July 1, 2024 12:00am

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  • Thank you, Lauren! I am glad to have found the Unsealed and to be a part of it <3

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  • Thank you so much for your comment and kind words, Lauren! They mean a lot!

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  • astridahara submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Why do you love yourself?Why do you love yourself? 3 months ago

    I love you, Astrid, and you should too

    I remember a time when you identified yourself merely as a ‘big nose’ and ‘dark skin’ girl.
    I remember when you believed you were nothing but a monster, as everyone, everywhere, labeled you a troublesome child.
    I remember when you considered hanging yourself, thinking it might be better than fighting with your parents constantly.
    I remember how you cried, and cried, and cried, unsure why you should exist on this earth.

    Once, you forgot what a dream was.
    Once, you did not know what a friendship was.
    Once, you sabotaged every relationship because you felt unworthy.

    You couldn’t love yourself because you did not know what love truly meant.
    Yet, you easily fell in love, and desperately wanted to find it.
    You were hurt and manipulated countless times.

    Then, you learned to be brave.
    Then, you embraced life, moving step by step.
    Then, you fell more, but stood up stronger, until you understood more.

    You gave birth to a child.
    That’s when you discovered what true love meant.
    That’s when you realized people lied and were prejudiced.
    That’s when you knew you should give yourself a chance.

    Eventually, you did.
    You have blossomed and achieved what you dreamed of.
    You have accomplished more than you imagined.
    Your friends have gathered around you.
    People have started to admire you.

    You do not think this is something to embrace.
    You understand that life is nothing but a game.
    You have become an expert in deciphering people’s hatred and affection.
    You no longer seek validation from others.
    You believe in yourself and your talents.
    You have fallen in love with the learning process.

    Your goal is to discover how high you can ascend.
    Your passion is discovering how you can help people.
    You now like yourself for all that you are and are no longer scared.

    Thank you for all you have done. You should be proud of yourself for not giving up, grateful that you stand up to challenges, and taking back control of your life.

    I love you, Astrid, and you should too.

    Astrida Hara

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    • Astrid! Congrats on the baby. I am so glad you gave yourself a chance and allowed yourself to love yourself how you so deserve. And a funny thing happens when we love ourselves – the more we love ourselves the less tolerant we are of people that aim to bring us down. I am proud of you too for not giving up. Now, you can also be a great example to…read more

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  • This Year, I Promise

    This year, I promise myself.
    to not rely on someone to make the world better.
    Rather, I will count on me,
    to fill my role better on Earth.

    This year,
    I may not fulfill some hope in myself.
    But I will do justice to my power.
    I may not make much money.
    But I will make more meaning.
    I may have a lot of free time.
    But I won’t waste any minute.

    For all the challenges,
    the struggles,
    the injustices,
    the unwanted things that may happen to me this year,
    I will face those bravely.

    I will not fear any failure.
    Because I can learn from them.
    I will drink to my success,
    Because I will deserve them.

    I will not promise to be less sad.
    But I promise I will be less mad.
    I will not promise I will smile more.
    But I promise I will be grateful more.

    This year, I will write many books,
    even though no one believes in me.
    I will type and thrive,
    cause I believe in myself.

    Astrida Hara

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    • I appreciate the authenticity and accountability!

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    • Astrida!! You’re not the only one who believes in you. I believe in you too! This piece is brilliantly written! It’s insightful, deep, and real. This line hit me hard, ” I will do justice to my power.
      I may not make much money.
      But I will make more meaning.”

      Meaning is what life is all about and I can’t wait to see all the meaningful things you…read more

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