It was my 15th birthday. I was in third year high school. Everything was happening the way it’s not supposed to be. I hit my lowest low in class ranking, from being rank 2 to rank 16. I was devastated
My grandfather gave me a gift on my 15th birthday. It was a headband with a circle design and a smiley printed on it. It was a different and sort of funny headband. It was a happy headband.
That time, headbands were on trend. Though, most of my classmates would wear a headband with a ribbon on it. Sparkly headbands were cool that time. Still, I wore my happy headband with a weird and funny design with much pride.
Fast forward I was in fourth year high school. I still got my happy headband. Its meaning to me changed since then. I was a student leader slash academic person (ew!) in high school, I would often compete in writing contests, science and math quiz bee, and whatever quiz bees were there. One time, I decided to wear my happy headband as a fashion statement. For me, it looks so good with my uniform, and I hate it when my hair falls off when I am on concentration mode in contests.
When I decided to wear the happy headband, it was at a moment when I was losing my confidence in myself because it seemed like everything was falling apart, my sister got sick, my parents separated, and so I was falling off the winning wagon. In short, I often lost and got depressed.
So, I started wearing the happy headband. And, for some reason that I didn’t understand, I was on a winning streak again. Every time I wore it, I’d win. So I established a superstitious belief that if I wear my happy headband on days that I will be needing a lot of luck, I’ll win.
My happy headband made me feel like myself again. I was passionate with everything and I was, happy again. I took care of that headband.
But one day, I accidentally broke it.
I was frantic. What on earth will I do? Without it, I’m doomed. I won’t win. For the next competition, I still wore my broken, happy headband, but this time, I lost. I blamed myself for not taking care of my lucky charm. Why was I so stupid? The luck was gone, and I will lose forever.
At that time, studying was my life and competing made me forget about all the problems at home. I basked in the feeling of winning. At least, I have this one area in my life that doesn’t suck. When I lost, it felt as if I won’t be happy again. Maybe, that was it. Maybe I had my happy moments and that was it for me.
I used to believe in luck.
If I put coins in my shoe on a very important day, I know that amazing things will happen. If I wear my lucky blouse, it’s gonna be a good day. If I wear black, I’ll be gloomy. If I wear my happy headband, I’ll be happy and I’ll win.
As I grew up, I didn’t have my happy headband anymore. I stopped believing that certain objects can give me the luck that I need. I stopped believing that my happiness, or my dreams coming true would rely on any external object or the circumstances I’m in. I stopped escaping the bad days, instead, I faced them. I stopped getting angry at my alarm clock for ringing at 5 AM and forcing me to go to work. I stopped blaming God, or other people for the misfortune I’m experiencing. I stopped asking God, why me?
I used to run. I thought that everything was a competition, that money will solve all problems, and that success relies on how famous, or rich you are.
I used to run. When situations get out of control, I run away. I would escape, and run as far as I can. I thought that if I run, the monsters would disappear.
But I was wrong. Life taught me that I don’t have to run away. I don’t need a happy headband to make me feel good and conquer the world. All I needed was to be my own best friend. I needed to be my own cheerleader so that I can be brave when I start being afraid. I needed to be my own healthy critic, to make me realize, when I am being wrong. I needed to learn how to cry on my own shoulder when everything seemed too much. To see other people in the best light, to learn to forgive, to learn to be okay. To know when enough is enough and not take bullshit from other people. To be free. To be loving. To be inspired. And of course, to be there for other people.
No more lucky headband, just me, my head, and a big heart.
That was all I needed after all.