A person is born naturally good. Or rather, a person is born good but is meant to be both good and bad in order to be complete. I was a timid child. They called me quiet, chubby, but smart and kind. I only knew how to be happy, by reading, watching TV, drawing. But there were unavoidable times that my quiet little space was invaded by bullies who had nothing better to do. And there was no one, no one strong enough or caring or with authority enough that stopped them. I cried silently. I forgave. My best friend whom I had only met in high school had no idea what I experienced. But it was okay. I wasn't hurt, I got used to it, and I could still smile and be myself. I just distance myself from those kinds of people. I mean, I wasn't the only one who was bullied. But, the funny thing was that, I didn't try hard to defend myself. But whenever I saw others being bullied, I would always help them and comfort them. Maybe I wanted to give to others the help and security I didn't receive. I don't know. It just happened involuntarily. I was a child, a teen, and I moved on impulse. And my default mode, apparently, was sacrificial of my own time and comfort. They say, there will be no enslaver if no one allows themselves to be enslaved. And I am guilty of being willing to be enslaved of little things, small things that for others were just pieces of paper, money, ballpoint pens, carrying their bags, doing their assignments and letting them copy from my test answer. And I just smiled through it all. I was deaf to the words of those who really cared, as they kept telling me that I acted like a doormat and other people were abusing me. To me, that was how I show my generosity. But, this habit, this foolish belief, extended from my friendships to my romantic relationships later on. Feeling trapped in a whirlwind of emotions of another person can take its toll, and even the kindest, most foolish would someday wake up and say they've had enough. That's what I had experienced in a three-year relationship. And it left such a deep scar on me that I grew scared of love even sensing a tiny bit of sadness and anger within myself could recoil and paralyze me again. And like a bad seed, the jealousy, the malice, the negativity I firsthand experienced in him grew roots inside me. It was a nightmare, and I swore I learned my lesson. But, I wasn't quite healed yet. A few years later, I met a man whom I deemed was different from him, although no one is truly perfect. During our relationship I discovered stoicism. But I won't elaborate on that here as what I'm about to tell is far more important. I've read Siddhartha, a novel by Hermann Hesse, by chance. I was looking for Demian as it was referred to in a series of music videos by a favorite band, but sadly, the online bookshop didn't have a copy of it, but had Siddhartha and Steppenwolf instead so I bought those two. It must've been fate, because I could relate to the protagonist's journey. Siddhartha was good when the story began, but in search of enlightenment he left what he was accustomed to, by joining the ascetics and gave up things of the world. But down the road, he concluded that he could not fully be enlightened that way, even shunning the way of Buddha himself, and went to a city where he met a woman whom he regarded as his teacher. It was there that he learned about love, about business, and eventually, succumbed to lust and greed. When his actions caused him to be sick both inside and outside, he wandered away from the city in a state of confusion. Later he met a boatman and through old age, calmed and gained wisdom, finally proving that each one of us had to experience evil and hardships in order to be whole. In my recent years, although I am a complete nobody, I have experienced hardships and conflict, and even found someone that awakened the other side of me--a darker me that was skeptical of the good in myself and others. I have delved deep into knowing myself through that darkness though--recognizing my anger, depression, frustration, anxiety, etc. as valid emotions. I became more aware of why happiness in me isn't constant, for inner and outer reasons. Like in the novel Siddhartha, I guess I had to experience all this so that I could look back and not commit the same mistakes again. Even if I have grown far from the kind and innocent kid I was when I was younger, and despite all my wishes and attempts of returning to that state, I couldn't just erase the events that happened and affected me emotionally and spiritually. I just had to be my own hero and press on. So here I am, still struggling, yes, but I'm accepting the fact that this is all happening for a reason, and that there are still good days ahead.

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