Facing the pain and finding my ‘why’

By Gurjeet Kaur | May | June 2020
My whole life I have been told that I have no purpose, that I am a waste of space, or that I am a nobody. I was convinced that because I had struggles, I wouldn’t get anywhere in life. Because I have been surrounded by toxic people my whole life, I forgot what happiness felt like and fell into a deep depression. I had to grow up at a very young age, which I am disgusted by. I am disgusted because society’s expectations made me realize too many things as a little girl. I never want a child at the age of 5 convinced that they weren’t worthy of the world because they’re different. I never want a 12-year-old feeling that they don’t have a purpose. I hate the fact that many kids in my generation don’t even have a support system to rely on. Growing up, my main escape from reality was Disney Princesses. I know it seems off-topic, like what does this have to do with her why? Well, there was a reason that I admired them so much. Regardless of what obstacles were thrown in their faces, they always have found a way to get through them. Those situations were out of their control, yet somehow, they still got to take control of their own story. They were able to help others while fighting their darkness. These were qualities I longed to have. To this day they are still my escape because when I think I don’t believe in myself, their stories remind me of the motivation I have deep inside me. As I grew up, it became more difficult to believe in these fairytales. When I was 15, I was referred to the Youth Alliance program. This program gives students the support system they need to improve their emotional health and gain life skills while attending school. If I hadn’t been in this program, I probably would have never tried to challenge myself like I do today. I wouldn’t be as considerate and caring as I am today because I was too focused on the negative things that went on in my life. I would have gotten in a lot of trouble rather than a slap on the wrist I get for making mistakes.
By now you’re wondering why I am bringing this up. You’re probably wondering how all of these relate to my “why.” I mentioned before my love for Disney Princesses and my participation in the Youth Alliance. These are the factors that have led me to figure out my “why.” Without these, I would still be lost in the deep hole I had gotten stuck in when I was a little girl. If you asked me what my “why,” is last year, I wouldn’t be able to answer because I thought I didn’t belong to the world. I am proud to say that, with the help of many people throughout my journey, I now know my “why.” Why am I trying to go to college? Why am I trying to learn from other perspectives? Why am I confronting the fact that I didn’t have the ideal childhood? Well, I have been through a lot of pain. I have felt so much emptiness inside me that I didn’t even want to take care of myself. I have spent days staying up late, with only being able to sleep if I had cried for hours. I never want anyone else to go through that, and if they do I want them to have a support system. I am doing the things I do because I want to make other people’s lives better. I am going to college so I can study in sociology. With that, I will be making efforts into becoming a counselor for the youth. To do that, I have to learn from other perspectives, even if they don’t meet with mine. I have to confront that I lost my childhood to depression because if I don’t, I cannot be content with my existence. I made that mistake throughout high school due to my stubbornness. Losing my childhood to depression has had a heavy impact on me. I got help at an age where it was too late to save my innocence, but not too late to save myself. I hope that one day I can help others the way my counselor has helped me for the past four years. Counseling is a dream job for me. Making other people feel better, even in the slightest way makes me happy. I am glad that to some people, I am a shoulder they can cry on. Even today I apply some of my skills into fixing issues between family members. Ever since I figured out my purpose in the world, I can’t stop using my strengths and recognizing my weaknesses to make my skills stronger. Although pain is part of growing up, I don’t want it to take away from other people’s youth. Therefore, my “why” is to help other people with their life. From my experience, counseling allows a deeper one on one connection with others. I feel like future generations won’t recognize the benefits of therapy at a young age, so they won’t take it as seriously. I hope my desire to help others will be recognized by those I try to help every day, and by those who I will help every day in the future.
Gurjeet Kaur is a student at San Benito High School in the San Benito Joint Union High School District

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Association of California School Administrators