I volunteered in this life, and I kept my promise to survive at any cost. But why was so important to survive? What made this life worth living and not giving up once and for all? What gave me such power and strength to be able to get up and move forward after I faced death, I lost a loved one, or poverty was scratching off my bones? One day, sooner or later I would be going to die, and no one will ever remember my existence unless by any chance something greater than just surviving will make me famous. I was made of matter and that’s the only one who would recycle, but that energy that I used to stay alive was lost or transformed? When I asked these questions, I might not like the answer, but after all, why this life was all that matters? If I was living to die, why I was dying to live so hard?

“My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It’s essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know they don’t. The reality isn’t important: what’s important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way to avoid a waking coma. Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has.”

― Ted Chiang

I was a source of statistics, the result of religion and beliefs, or the sum of all the ideas that made the family, and society the essential matter of my existence. I needed to reduce the influences around me and pretend that all I had was the present moment, living like a drunken in love all the time. Smiling and dreaming like a lunatic, leaving everyone wondering what my secret was and how could I be so happy in a destroyed world. In a world where wars were still happening, some children struggled with daily meals, and I still had a smile on my face that was making me either ignorant or just a strong human. My beliefs fed me strength and pumped power into my veins, pushing me back to my feet. Either from religion or science, my beliefs were the ones getting me stronger or putting me down on my knees. There was no recipe for living a better life and I did not have much time to try every possibility until I would discover the right one. But I had a body that helped me stay alive, my cells divided and replaced the damaged ones every day. When I lost hope and wanted to give up on the hard life, everything in my body fought back to keep me alive. My mind got lost in thoughts, the vision got blurry, and the senses reduced, but one heart was pumping a greater amount of life into my body, and even if that was the only reason to be grateful, I had to consider it. If I wanted to believe that God loved me and was the one that kept me alive, it was also worth it, but no matter what my beliefs were, my life was the most precious achievement I could obtain in this world, and to survive was all that mattered.

“When walking alone in a jungle of true darkness,

there are three things that can show you the way:

instinct to survive, the knowledge of navigation,

creative imagination. Without them, you are lost.”

― Toba Beta

It mattered to have the instinct to survive because only alive I could achieve my dreams. I wanted to discover places, push my limits, feel happy, and care for loved ones. Unless I survived, none of these could become reality, but sometimes to wish was not enough. I also needed to have the knowledge of navigation, and not expect to travel on an impossible mission. I needed to find my way; the path that couldn’t feel too heavy even though was uncomfortable. New roads could make me discover parts of my behavior that I had never been aware I was capable of or get me on different paths that challenged my limits. A different environment or culture could lead me to unexpected experiences. It was not always easy and caught me in the middle of the vortex. My thoughts were challenged but I was pushed to try and discover new tastes, new people, and new emotions. Life has not always reached my limits and trying my luck in a nearly-to-death experience, was finding the balance that made me feel all that mattered. When I used my creative imagination, I challenged the world around me, and with the power I had, I could overturn a difficult time with just a memory from the past. Fear was the one I created in my imagination also, and if I did not allow it to take control of my life, I couldn’t get lost, and life went on until I learned my lessons and I discovered the beautiful world around me.

“The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.”

― -Dr. Seuss

I wanted to be part of the community and I was a social creature that needed to belong to a place, with a status and a purpose. However, an individual without a proper rhythm that set up the initial tempo of their life could only be a lost soul. It mattered to belong, but what was more important was to stand my ground no matter what was the surrounding. Were times in life when I needed to step back and build my cocoon, reflecting on my achievements, or building them from scratch. There were times when solitude was my best companion when days were nights and everything around me was the same, a routine that burned into my flesh. I retracted from social activities, from everything that influenced my beliefs, and I faced my naked reflection in this world. It came to the surface all the mistakes, all the failures, all the achievements that I couldn’t get. After that, I face my greatest triumphs, the obstacles I overcame, and the new person I become. It was not about how much of each baggage I had and where the scale was hanging low, was the awareness I could get because brick by brick I consolidated my personality and, in the end, all that mattered was the last version of myself. It hurt to face reality and to realize that I did not have the life I wished for but emerging from the chrysalis and spreading my wings gave me a new opportunity to fix what I failed. With new forces and the time, I rest, surviving another transformation was all that matters. I lived a life not like a movie, but with a series of episodes that gave me always a chance to become another character in the new season. But I was never ready for a new season of my life even when I could be whatever character I desired. To stay alive, was all that mattered.

“Butterflies are beautiful, but the process of emerging from the chrysalis and spreading your wings can hurt like fucking hell. But still, you will survive the transformation (over and over again) and you will fly. Remember this when it hurts the most. This is the metamorphosis, the going down to liquid, and the rising again. It’s no joke – but damn, it’s one hell of a journey.”

― Jeanette LeBlanc

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