Sunday, August 9, 2009

I am a Crayon

This is not a story about fishes or grasshoppers. Nor is it about kings or pirates. This is a story about a crayon. Yes, the ones we use in kindergarten to add color to our lives (In primary school we used to write autobiographic essays, like: I am a pencil or I am a basket. This is my attempt to re-write those kinds of essays):


I am a crayon. I am short, I am blunt. When you use me, my smell will stick on your fingers. Your hands can get messy. You won’t probably like me, but my owner do. Well…at least he used to.

My owner used to go to kindergarten, and he would bring me along each day. He used me to draw pictures and add colors to it. He has a very good imagination, and he has such strong passion that he could draw and color all day long. It’s hard for him to contain all his imaginations inside his 6-year old head, but with my help, he could pour it all out on paper. He would draw pictures of his whole family, show it to his mom and dad and it made them smile. It made him smile. It made me smile. That’s when I feel most purposeful. Those were the times of my life

One day, he learned to write, and used me to write down the words he learned. Day by day, his writing improved, he learned more and more words. I was happier than ever for being able to help. I was very proud of him. But one day, as I sat in the drawer where I was kept, a newcomer came in. Wrapped in a neat box reading ‘2B Pencils’, I wonder where this newcomer came from.

“Those are Pencils” Paper told me. “They’re used to write too, you know?

“Wait, why does he need Pencils when he can just use me?”

“Well…You’ll see soon enough”

I wasn’t too worried at first. We have spent so much time together. No newcomer can shake that. But little I know that I was soon to be replaced. As days passed by, I was taken out less and less frequently. He didn’t bring me to kindergarten anymore.

“Kindergarten? No, he goes to school now”, Pencil told me one day.

“He used me to write down notes, you know, and during art class, he would sketch with me. It was really fun!”

“Wow! What’s a sketch?” I asked.

“It’s hard to explain, he said. Here, look for yourself”

Paper showed me the sketches. It was very beautiful. My owner used to draw houses, trees or cars with me, but this sketch was a whole different thing. ‘Now I know why I haven’t been taken out lately, maybe if I could draw like pencil, he would take me out to school too!’ I thought. I hear Pencil brag about his time with my owner. He tells stories about exams, arts, about mathematics. I grew jealous of him each day. So I practiced sketching everyday, but it proved fruitless. Then I turned to writing. I tried to write like pencil: sharp and crisp, but still I couldn’t. My writings were messy.

I was so disappointed, but I still waited for my owner to take me out again, but he never did. It has been months since I’ve seen the daylight. Until one day, I finally gave up and went into seclusion. I spent my time in a dark corner, reminiscing my good old days. Each time I remember my owner’s smile, the smile of his mom and dad when he showed his drawing of the family, I feel happy again. Suddenly it occur to me: I don’t really want to write sharp and crisp letters, I don’t really want to sketch beautiful portraits; all I wanted is to make people happy. Trying to be a pencil ceased to make sense anymore.

One fateful day, I was taken out again. But it wasn’t my owner. I had a feeling that I was going to be thrown out. But my worries were futile...I wasn’t thrown out. It was a little girl who took me. I never knew that my owner had a baby sister! She took me, and started drawing on a piece of paper. It has been awhile since I’ve done this, but I can say I did well for my age. What’s important is that I was taken out into the world again, and make people smile, I will.

I am a crayon. I am short, I am blunt. When you use me, my smell will stick on your fingers. Your hands can get messy. You won’t probably like me, but I make little children happy, that’s what I’m good at and I’m proud of it. I used to regret being myself; I wished I was a pencil or a pen. But I am who I am. Whoever you are out there, you may have used me some point during your childhood, you may not remember me, but I am proud to make you happy back then.

Sometimes we are intimidated by other people. We’re impressed by their abilities. Like Crayon impressed over Pencil’s ability to draw and write sharp and crisp. But the heart of life is good. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.
Be yourself, and discover yourself. Put your strengths to good use, and never fret about your weaknesses. Some people feel that their life lacks meaning because they’re trying too hard on the wrong things, or they're simply trying too many things at once. I'm sure you've heard this before:

If you chase two rabbits, both will escape

So identify what you’re good at, focus on it, and you will be able to contribute more. With God's will, success will follow. Spend more time focusing what you do well than rather what you do wrong. When you focus on doing what you love, once you've lighten up that passion, your blood will have that particular thing in it, and it's very hard for people to stop you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

There's Something Fishy Goin' On Here

Have you ever wished life is as simple as fishes swimming around in a pond?

Let me tell you about a fish. Let’s call him Fishy, because there’s always something fishy about this fish. Fishy lives in a pond full of other fishes. But they don’t eat each another. Because it’s a small pond, and all the fishes are of the same species that feed on algae. One day, Fishy decides to swim around in circles. So, he swam around in circles. Around and around he went, chasing his own tail, until one moment, another fish saw what he was doing and asks:

“Hey, Fishy, you’re not a dog are you?”

“No”, said Fishy. “What’s a dog?”

“It’s a type of mammal that likes to run around in circles chasing its own tail, exactly like what you’re doing right now”

“Wow. I’ve never seen a dog before, but I’d love to see one someday!”

“I’m sure you will, said the other fish”

So one day, a dog fell into the pond.
Just before the dog splashed in, a bone dropped in. This dog must be one of those greedy ones which carry bones in their mouth and came across the pond and saw their own reflection in the water and fell in it to get the other bone, which turns out to be only a reflection. The other fish saw the dog drowning, and quickly came for Fishy. Fishy quickly swam towards the dog, and asked the dog:

“Mister, are you a dog?”

The dog didn’t reply to Fishy’s question. Instead, he yelped for help. He couldn’t swim! Fishy didn’t understand why a dog couldn’t swim, because he has been swimming since the day he was born, and he couldn’t imagine a creature that couldn’t swim. Soon, the dog drowned and died. Poor dog. Fishy was saddened by this unfortunate event, but he was thankful that he gets to see a dog and went along with his day swimming around in circles because he has nothing else to do.

“Mister, are you a dog?”

Life can be as simple as Fishy. Swim around in circles and never get thirsty because water’s all over you. Never worrying about being eaten alive, and there’s always plenty of food. You can be happy, swimming around in circles, but that’s it. Nothing more. The only chance you’ll see a dog is when one falls into your pond, which wouldn’t happen if not for the Malay saying: ‘bagai anjing dengan baying-bayang’.

Life can be hard, you run the risk of getting eaten alive (not literally, of course), but that’s life. Never give up because you will grow through each pain. If you give up along the way, your suffering would be nothing but a waste. That’s when you decide to be like Fishy, live in your own pond (own world), watch TV because it’s nice to see people more messed up than you. Slowly, you become a victim of your own fear and insecurities.

A common misconception about people who succeed in life is that they are fearless. It’s simply wrong. Fear is a necessary part of growth. FEEL IT and HURDLE TOWARDS IT ANYWAY. In the words of Susan Jeffers, a world-renowned psychologist:

Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness

So get into this world. It’s wide, and it’s never too late to try

Note to animal activists: I am in not any way saying that life as a fish sucks. It’s just an analogy to get to my point. Don’t get me wrong, I love fishes. They’re tasty

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