This is a story of a boy and his best friend—one of whom is me. A story that was only one sided until now.
I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you.
—For Good, by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, written by Stephen Schwartz.
This song had been playing in his head for the past few months, but only on that day—a Tuesday—did he talk to me about this song. He asked me, “You know why I like this song?” I expected an answer like “the singers and the musical”, but he told me it was because this song reminded him to appreciate the people he has met.
I was not sure what he meant, so I asked him and he countered by asking if I know the quote “Always see the bright side of life”. He, then, went on to share his experience in his childhood.
He was one of the brightest in his class. Once the brightest, according to him, but he felt that the implicit expectation, and the unspoken recognition, from his closest ones and his teachers had, somehow, created a person that was not capable of sharing his personal opinions. He added, “You know, the kind that make you think twice, that maybe you are wrong and that you shouldn’t be careless! That you do not deserve recognition. Not before you come out on top of the world.”
I know about impostor syndrome now, but I didn’t back then. So, I didn’t really give a useful response to him.
“…But the reason I asked if you know the quote ‘Always see the bright side of life’ is that life won’t always seem sunny, but even if it’s cloudy or raining like it’s gonna drown you, you are actually living through it all. That only when you know pain that you appreciate the joy, and that only when you know what it feels to be alive can you appreciate the death.”
He added that he didn’t hate the people he had come across in his life. Those people were the ones that helped him being who he was. And that the people he would meet would be the ones help shaping him as a person.
I wished that I had told him that it was ok for him to sit in the dark when he couldn’t see the bright side of his life, and that I would—still will—sit with him, even if the whole world would say otherwise.