Building a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me
Guest Post by Jessie T
When I got an email from Jessie asking to guest post on my blog, I was thrilled. I had planned on getting a few more guest posts scheduled for the first few weeks of my maternity leave. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get around to doing much at all in those last two weeks of pregnancy since life had other plans for me and Oden was born early.
I’ve been wanting to feature the personal stories of my readers for a while now. Stories that depict real people overcoming the challenges that kept them from their dreams. Real stories told by real people. The only instruction that I gave Jessie was that her post shows her overcoming a challenge or difficulty and that it should be titled “Building a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me” after reading her blogs tagline which is;
“Welcome to the Republic of Paper Coffee, where every thought is a citizen of the impermanent infinity! It’s the place, where we built castles out all of bricks they throw at us. Feel at home. You can check in and out anytime you want.”
This is her story!
Building a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me
Somewhere far away, in Perfectland, everything goes the way we want it to from the very beginning to the very end. No more embarrassing situations that make your face go red and no more drama – it sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, it’s supposed to, as it’s Perfectland or in other words: Non-existentland. No matter how amazing it would be to live in such a world, it’s pretty much out of our reach. Here, on planet Earth, things can go pretty terribly, and both life and people throw bricks at us, as if we were walls. That’s just the way it is, but guess what? Your fairytale isn’t a lost cause, if you have your own castle. That’s why I built a castle out of the bricks they threw at me. Let the story begin.
Once upon a time, when a princess wanted to be a knight
The tale, which I’m about to tell you doesn’t include any spectacular adventures, extremely evil witches, or Saurons and Voldemorts, but it does include many bricks thrown with less or more fury. Everything started some time ago, upon my high school graduation. It’s the moment, when you’re supposed to choose what you want to do until the day you die, or at least until you retire. You may find this to be an exaggeration, but in Poland, university studies are taken very seriously, and someone taking a gap year is just like a Santa Claus in August – almost impossible to meet. As a top student, I was expected to choose an ambitious, yet stable university major, which could guarantee me a nice single-family house and a pleasant life. It would be a good choice for a princess, but I wanted to be a knight. Somebody, who would do something “out of the box”. This is how I started my relationship with Arabic language, and began my knightly training.
Only sane people live inside the box
Upon telling people what I chose to study, I knew I would see surprised faces, but I wasn’t ready for the waves of disappointment and disapproval, which followed. Almost every single person wanted me to be aware that I could have gone for other majors instead of Arabic. Yeah, I already knew it, and surprise: I didn’t care. Then, there was always someone who seemed to be genuinely worried about me, as if studying Arabic was sure to make Aliens kidnap me, and someone who kept calling me “very brave”. Getting to know the Arabic world is not choosing a war battle, and sacrificing everything you have, but rather building peace within yourself and learning humility and tolerance, which can help in any profession in the world. For too many people the unknown is insane and dangerous. If only sane people live inside the box, I’m happy not to be its resident.
Construction area – Do not enter
Now, I shall finally mention building castles. Each of these dirty looks, terrified faces and disapproving words was a brick pointed at my confidence and faith in my right to choose. Whether it was deliberate, or not, I must admit it hurt me. I started reconsidering my decision, but then I took a step back, and realised one thing: I still wanted to explore the unknown, the uncommon, and the undiscovered. Why would I back down, then? It wasn’t an option. I started picking up each of these bricks, and building myself up. Each word lost its poisonous taste and became a glue, protecting my faith from fading away. Instead of ruins, I let my soul transform into a castle.
All you have to do is stay
Forget picturing a marvellous castle, which makes living perfect. My castle is full of holes, and it is cold there sometimes, too. Today I have had a tough lesson, which made me both frustrated and confused. I was thinking of quitting for a moment or two, when my helplessness was at its peak. I wanted to go home, cry for hours, and quit Arabic forever. Then, it hit me hard – I still loved it, I was still interested in it, and clearly I also enjoyed my new life very much. What was the problem? I expected the castle to be as glamorous and dry, as the box was. That was my first mistake. The castle is imperfect and cold at times, but it’s okay, because so am I. Leaving a comfort zone is never easy, and if it was, it means that we haven’t left our comfort zone yet, but its vestibule at best. Highs and lows make life, but all you have to do is stay true to your choice. Excellence is a habit. What would you see, who would you meet and where would you go, if you always stay in the same place? Probably we could include it in one paragraph. Let’s not be one-sentence stars, when we can be a bestseller. Now, Arabic is giving me a second chance. Give all these bricks thrown at you a second chance, too. مَع السَلامة!
Jessie is a 19 year-old passionate reader and learner, a world lover, and an aspiring writer and polyglot. English, Arabic and Spanish learner. Either in love or aversion with the world, depending on the day.