Moving Forward Together

Walking in a room filled with people you don’t know is a lot. Sitting down in a circle with others who seem to already found their friends is frightening. Speaking to the person next to you feels like you’re playing a terrible game of chance. Opening up feels like drowning. That’s how I felt when I walked into the LOOP Project. I always think I’m prepared for anything and I always act like I am. In reality, I’m very nervous around people.

When I walked into that room, my mind went to the worst. I’m not going to have friends, everyone will think I’m odd, and what if I don’t like their food? When I sat down everyone said hello and continued to chat. I dug through my bag looking for something to distract me, I don’t know why I didn’t want to interact. It felt like forever just waiting for it to begin. The room was very chilly, making it even more painful waiting.

I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for the LOOP. I mostly did it to achieve my Chief Scout Award, thinking I could kill 2 birds with one stone. Little did I know, I signed up for much more than I thought. I know I should be proud to be who I am and take pride in everything I do. There’s just that feeling in my gut that makes me feel sick, finding the courage to speak. Speaking out loud about my feelings makes me want to cry.

I’ve always been fascinated with other thoughts. The fact that there are 7.8 billion people in the world makes me wonder how many unique thoughts there are. There are so many things to discover, but of course, shyness takes over. I am a very curious and empathetic person, which I use as an excuse not to talk, saying I’m more of a listener. Maybe it’s time I stop saying that and try talking out loud. I’ve had a taste of speaking to others about my life and feelings at the LOOP Project, it felt thrilling. People relate to me, reminding me that I am not so alone. I do wish to have that experience again, but there are so many times I get cut off while I talk to others, which makes me think maybe I should just listen. They have more to say than me and I like to listen anyways.

Maybe stepping out into that world, taking the risk, and breathing in new air isn’t that hard. I think it’s only scary taking that step. Once you’ve breathed in that air, it’s like a weight being lifted off your shoulders. When I was with the LOOP, everyone started sharing their stories, and I think that was what did it for me. Seeing others freely speak about their life made me feel at ease, it’s okay to talk out loud about yourself. I’m still learning how to be selfish, it’s really hard taking a piece of time for yourself, or taking that last cookie on the table.

When I was growing up, others around me told me I should be kind, humble, and considerate. My Mom called that being a Cinderella, saying it wasn’t exactly right to be that way. Once I reached a certain age, suddenly everyone told me I should be firm, and righteous to myself. I shouldn’t let people tell me what to do and let no one stand in my way. It’s still such a shock to suddenly have to change into the exact opposite. I don’t exactly like being like that, so I find a comfortable level. I will only be like that when necessary, like telling the McDonald’s cashier I don’t want pickles on my burger.

Our Elder Pablo taught us many useful things that we can use in life. My favourite was to listen to your heart and your mind wisely. Use your mind for life-changing decisions, or something related to money. Use your heart when you speak to others unless they are trying something fishy such as ask you to buy that for them. Nope, I’m not going to buy that for you, I earned this money and I will spend it on what I want and need. I really do feel improvement in my life, it may be slow, but I can still see the little changes.

It’s been a while since I’ve held someone’s hand. Holding a hand feels like you can do more while holding their hand. Maybe if we all held hands, we could walk together in big confident steps. If we were to trip over, the person holding our hand can help us back up, or let us fall. Depends on the person, and how they feel about you. That’s why I try to be the best me when I talk to others, because I know I’m not all that bad.

On the last day of the LOOP week, I felt sadness and happiness. I’m not sure if there’s a word for that. I wished that I could stay there forever. I made such connections that I thought weren’t possible in such a small time period. I felt my heart as if it were wrapped in cellophane as I saw the last of the LOOP members. I knew it wasn’t sayonara. Quick fact; Sayonara actually means ‘goodbye forever, or ‘I don’t know when I’ll see you again.’ I used to think it meant a normal goodbye, but the word itself is quite sad. I knew I would see them again, but waiting does hurt.

Saudade, or bitter-sweet. The feeling of sadness and happiness. Like reading the last chapter of a book, or taking the last bite of your food. I finally know the word for sad and happy. I felt most happy when I left for home after that week, but as I said, that feeling of sadness was hugging my heart tightly. I surely will miss them even though I will see them again. I learnt so many things with the LOOP, and can’t wait for another heart-tugging, joyful, and full of laughter session.

Just remember that special moments are like a flower, beautiful while it lasts, and sad to see when they are gone, but you can preserve it to keep that happiness.

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