Congratulations on getting the lead part in the school choir! I'm also super proud of you for getting 9/10 on that General Knowledge quiz. You've clearly got everything figured out for you. I wish I could say the same for myself.
Now I don't even know if I should be writing to you because apparently if you get in touch with your past self you create a paradox which destroys the universe (yes, I still love science fiction). But I couldn't help warning you about what's about to happen to you. Sure, call me selfish if you want to. Unlike you, I've stopped caring about what people think anymore.
It all went wrong in the 6th grade. I got 63/80 in the 6th grade maths final and came home only to get yelled at. That was the first time my confidence in myself deteriorated. Mom was angry, but Baba felt something worse, Disappointment. Now it may not seem like a big deal but trust me, it was. It was the first time I felt hopeless; trapped. Like I couldn't do anything right. It sucked, believe me. After that I always dreaded maths exams. I still do. I break down every night before an exam because the thought of seeing the disappointment on my dad's face again haunts me. From that day onwards I worked relentlessly at whatever I did because I believed that failing wasn’t an option for me anymore. I can't let anybody else down more than I already do.
In 7th grade I experienced bullying for the first time. I was annoyed on purpose and I would've probably been attacked had I not known how to stand up for myself. I was picked on for practically everything. From the fact that I always topped the class to how I looked. I started getting self conscious. Suddenly everything I did seemed dangerous. I forgot about all I was good at and only focused on the bad. This was the year I first met the pessimistic part of my personality. I still am a major pessimist by the way. But I learnt to always fight for what I believe and to stand up for other people who can't for themselves.
8th grade was tolerable. But I still lost a lot of friends because of some rumours other people started. People thought I was a liar and somebody who stabbed other people in the back. Someone who when confided to, leaked information like gossip. I was called spiteful. I lost some people who I considered friends. They left me over something someone else had said about me. Years of friendship down the drain over a few petty lies. That's when I learnt that people can't be trusted. But I also learnt to never lie or betray the people I care about.
9th Grade. 2020. What can one say about 2020? The hellish year; year of the pandemic. Okay so long story short, a huge pandemic takes place and kills a lot of people and we're all stuck indoors to rot. But this year has strengthened me in ways I had never thought of. I learnt about sacrifice and staying strong even when everything around you is falling apart. I'm not saying I'm perfect. Nobody is. I still have trouble talking to people if something bothers me. I can never admit when I'm upset. I make impulsive, rash decisions I always regret. I learnt that the world doesn't always work the way we want it to. Life is never perfect. But it's those tiny imperfections it has that make it worth living. And I promise you, next year will be different. It's one I will seize and live to the fullest. I've been through a lot but this is a fresh start. My new beginning. And I'm going to use it to the fullest.
Author: Nandini Patil Editor: Achala