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I had to believe in myself that I could change my own life around - by A.

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'A' Level student-inmate from institution A4

2nd Prize

Honestly, the first word that came to my mind at the moment the invigilator announced that we could all commence writing. I signed up for this competition with so much vigour and excitement when I laid eyes on the title, “Believe”. However, after crushing many papers I drafted my story on in no attempt to save the environment. I realised that I was stuck in a limbo as I could not answer and explain what “Believe” meant to me. I later decided to withdraw from the competition because I signed up with the intention to share an encouraging message to whoever reads my story. Now that I am sitting here with pen in hand. I made the decision to be honest in what I believe in. It may not necessary be always right, but this is my perspective of it.

I am twenty-six years old this year and for the most of my life, I was clueless as to what I believed in. In fact, I was more familiar with the acronyms and the enemy of the word “believe, which is “do not”. I was in denial to certain flaws and that I adopted a very passive and complacent attitude in life. In addition, I fail to give myself credit when it is due. During one of these moments, it occurred to me that I did not necessarily need a solo stay to inspire others to be motivated. I had a random thought about dying once, and the huge role it stayed in my life – it led to my incarceration.

However, instead of continuing to blame myself and wallowing in my own pool of self-pity for the rest of my sentence, I decided to embrace my situation. To me, the worst feelings to experience is not anger or sadness. I feel that regret and disappointments are where damages our souls the most. At this point in life, I decided to stop regretting being involved in substance abuse. As long as I have heart that beats, I shall live. As long as I had a mind to think, I shall think positively. Maybe I had to go through the experiences I went through to reach the potential in this life. Instead of making excuses for myself, I feel that I should believe in myself. We should never give ourselves the labels that we often give ourselves, especially negative ones.

Believe. There are many aspects to this one word. Aside from the most common relation to religious faith, the idea of being true and having faith that something exists struck ware for me. I had to believe in myself that I could change my own life around if I only had faith in myself. The first step I took was getting rid of “Dying”, after successfully accomplishing that mission, I proceeded to get rid of Do not whine, “worry”. My mother once said to me “worrying is just like a rocking chair, you rock and rock but it gets you nowhere”. Prior to this, that was exactly how I felt. Constantly worried about the future now that I ruined many chances in life because I will soon be an ex-convict.

Sitting in this silent hall now as I am writing this together with many others, I am ready now to share with the world what I believe in and what this words mean to me. When I finally accept that I am exactly like the universe, ever changing, then maybe I could have a second shot at life. Everyone that has ever given up and gave in no longer have a shot in this life. When you start to believe in yourself, and have your own self only then will you be able to truly love those around you.

Only then will be old to face the challenges you stumble upon bravely. You may not claim victory over every challenge life throws you, but believing that there is goodness and truth that exist in this world would be able to keep you going. I want to share with everyone the light that I found at the end of my tunnel. Pain, it is only temporary, whatever denies and guilt you are experiencing will eventually pass. However, giving up? Giving up is forever. Do not give up after each failure. In the word “believe” the obstacles “I” comes before the alphabet ‘E’.

Make this a reminder that “I” stands for yourself, that you should start believing in yourself first, before you can start to truly believe in ‘E” – everyone else.

Finally, when you believe in yourself, you will come to realise that maybe it’s not the past that has a hold on us, but the fear of it that keeps us from moving forward.

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