We Are America

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Photo ofBenjamine Duran

It was only through awareness that I escaped the depths of my mind, escaping the self-imposed limitations. Now I can walk you through the story. 

A cacophony of sounds overwhelms my mind. Every waking moment was an endless marathon through feelings, memories, possibilities, and overthinking; the judgment of my life was everlasting. The burden of my noisy thoughts was overbearing. It felt like I wasn’t living. I closed my eyes and stopped. 

The standstill is relieving and the noises subside for a moment. Suddenly I reached a fork in the road, the thought of it was burdensome and filled me with fear. Avoiding responsibility I stumbled through life, vaguely taking notice of the implications of my actions. I started relishing in the temporary, but it was far from the now. In this ignorance, a film developed over my eyes, it darkened and grayed. Mindlessly taking life as it was given, it quickly grew dull, and the line I was drawing behind me felt null. I lied to myself, saying, “I’m fulfilled”, and the fantasy was appealing but as I observed it was all deceiving. With my life receding, I stepped in front of the mirror, only to be frightened by the unknown. Now pleading, “what is this?”, I was misreading all that was preceding. “Who are you?” I asked myself, failing to grasp my past self. Within conflict and confusion, the innate sense of duty is pushed away. In standing still, all blew by me while the ground below me deteriorated.

Before I knew it I was in a hole. All around me was darkness, unknowingly I walked through life, yet I made no progress. In traversing seemingly perpetual misery, I kept hitting a wall. With the slightest bit of awareness, I followed this wall, outlining what was my self-induced limitations. After endlessly walking and arriving nowhere, I hopelessly sat down and reflected. I thought about the continuous noise in my mind and how it never stopped; it only got quieter when I turned a blind eye to it, but it kept stirring in the back of my mind amongst the ignorance. Trying not to focus on the noise in my mind was to no avail. Immensely overwhelmed by everything, I stopped fighting these disorderly thoughts and gave up. It was only then when I slowly started to accept them. 

Every moment was lived mulling over the past, present, and future; but in this overthinking, self-awareness developed. Time has caught up to me. I’m not a kid anymore. In reflection, the revelations dawned upon me. The realization of complacency, fear, and lack of resolve. It was the realization of not taking action. In knowing these answers, I couldn’t summon the will to consistently change. I was one-foot-in, one-foot-out. I couldn’t commit, afraid of the possibility, afraid of the judgment. I was dragging my feet everywhere. I frantically looked for answers, looking everywhere but myself, continually avoiding my responsibility. I persistently looked for a solution, and a way to go, only to end up nowhere. I couldn’t escape this hole. I was walking in circles, the cycle really was dreadful. With a newfound understanding of the root of these issues, it took all my courage to push forward and out of the hole I buried myself in. With the fear of stagnation in the back of my mind, I moved forward. 

I realized that although there is no clear path and no perfect step to take in life, all that can be done is to move forward with it and take action. I started living with the aspirations to overcome internal conflict, to live without limits, and to effortlessly live within my control. There is only one way to escape misery, and that is to live with intention and to take charge of my life. Everything is easier said than done, but with that attitude, nothing can change; the only way to start living life and achieving is taking responsibility. When I grounded myself in the present and focused on enjoying the process of life, only then was I able to live.

© Benjamine Duran. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.