Aletta's blog

Life to paper: Musings to inspire (blog #3)

It’s the New Year! Let’s make a meaningful resolution?

The last day of the year is truly a special time for some people – while some reminisce the time gone by, some choose to look forward to what has become symbolic of a new phase in their lives. I have always believed that the 31st of December is a day that changes people. It is a day that gives you an insight into their lives and opens up a window to their dreams and aspirations. Unfortunately, not everyone is full of positive energy on the last day of the year. There are some who feel the burden of their vulnerability weigh down on them, often coming across as ‘sad figures’ to be held far away from the crowd, lest they dampen the mood. This year, as the clock struck 12 and the world around me erupted in celebration, I managed to find someone who changed the way in which I looked at vulnerability.

My boyfriend and I decided to bring in the new year with a quiet drink at one of the pubs in London. During the course of the evening, I met a beautiful woman at the bar – laughing as she engaged in conversation with the bartender. She eventually brought him a drink, thanking him for ’the laughter’ they shared. I found her fascinating and we soon started talking, sharing details from our lives like we were friends meeting each other after years. She told me about the recent death of her husband and how small conversations with strangers helped her combat the loneliness she felt. She hugged me, as she cried and opened up about her fear of being judged by the very strangers she met – by the man at bar, who could have mistaken her gesture of gratitude.
Here was a woman, someone I had known for less than an hour – a complete stranger, who chose me to be her support that ‘celebrated’ evening. It was an awkward moment to be in, but I held on and let her just be herself.

As I sit here now, looking back at that evening, her tears to me represent bravery.

Societal conditioning and the pressure one feels by it has always held people back from being their true selves. Whether it is a man who openly expresses his emotions, or a woman who tries to suppress hers – everyone is affected by what society expects of us. And among these many expectations, expressing vulnerability is a big NO. To rise above these expectations and put yourself first, to me, is one of the biggest acts of bravery. The woman I met was brave – regardless of whether she realised it or not. She was strong, even in the midst of her fears and she was an inspiration.

This new year, bravery is what I aim for. Bravery in my vulnerability, in my hardship and in my failure – but above all, the bravery to love myself and never suppress who I am for the sake of society.

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