All I can remember from my childhood is that I was a quiet child. So quiet that my parents thought my siblings were wiser than I was and, therefore, would favor them at my expense. However, what was their wisdom when they were always fighting with the neighbors, upholding the tit for tat principle. I was different and I knew that. I did not have many arguments with either my siblings or friends. I always thought twice before I did anything. I knew how to manage anger when I was very young and I knew the power of isolation when I was at this tender age.
Nevertheless, when I was advanced in years, the surrounding people recognized my power of thinking and capacities. During my education, no child in school could beat my grades. I seemed the best to everyone and they said that my book intellect was something inborn. What they did not understand is that my solitary self had a deeper world and made much more actions than the talkative me. I would visit the galaxies in my mind. Furthermore, I would construct a car, bring peace to our world, and build relationships in my introverted self. What I mean is that I used to think more than my parents could have ever considered. To them, I was a stupid child who could not fight others when wronged like the rest of my siblings.
It is at this young age that I developed the real meaning of life. Some of the virtues that I hold today were constructed when I was very young. Everything my inspirers came to do in my life was to strengthen what had been built in me when I was youth. When I was alone, I could think about the ills and the misgivings of life. I would think about the situations from different angles, analyze them, and come up with a certain conclusion. Finally, as it seems today, most of my life choices were correct.
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The fact that I was not brought up in a religious family nor did I attend any religious gatherings when I was young surprised many. Nevertheless, the beautiful side of life came to be placed in my heart by whoever did so. Most of all, I cherished love though I did not get much of it from my parents given that they admired my siblings more than they loved me. Perhaps the deprivation of love is what came to bring a strong love in my heart.
I came to realize that love conquered all evil brought even the fiercest monster into submission. My uncle, whom everyone in the extended family perceived as the black sheep of their family, can serve a perfect example. No one wanted to know the reason he was a drunkard. Everyone, including my siblings, was avoiding him like a plague, except for me. My loving self always showed him that he was a meaningful being. A part of me did this because I pretty much identified myself with my uncle. I was the black sheep of my family because, as seen earlier, most family members thought that my quiet self was because of foolishness. Therefore, there came to be a very strong bond between my uncle and me. The funniest thing is that none of us showed another verbal appreciation, but the deeds spoke volumes.
I always listened to his version of his life, to which no one was ready to listen. I came to understand that his wife who took away his children hurt him to an extent that life meant nothing to him. Since then, he became an alcoholic and opted never to marry again because she was the person he loved most in his life. His family, with their imaginations and judgments, thought that he was the one stupid enough to have let his wife and children out of his life. They did not understand the extent of his pain, which made him choose a life of destruction. From my uncles’ experience, I came to understand that love cannot only build, but can also destroy. It was love that destroyed my uncle and I vowed never to allow myself to follow the destructive path. However, it was just a saying. I do not understand the love that my uncle was talking about, but I feel that later, I will become a victim of such a deep feeling.
Another example of love and the situation following I could not understand was the situation of relations in our neighborhood. I developed hatred because of the way my family members treated my neighbors. It was expected that when one of us fell for one of our neighbors, we were also supposed to loathe this neighbor and it was the trend in the whole neighborhood. One of my neighbors happened to fall for my eldest sister. This situation turned out very serious because they exchanged words and the two families had to sit down in order to come up with a solution. Unknowingly, long time hatred was born between the whole families, as they developed some strong hatred against each other up to this day. However, I did not understand why the two of them and I chose not to hate anyone of them because of mistakes I knew nothing about.
My personal investigations of love helped me in understanding what was inside me. One of the greatest philosophers, Plato, explained different types of love in his dialogs. Therefore, I have always tried to classify what it was that I felt for others, whether it was Eros, Philia or agape love. The latter, as I came to understand, is mostly present among higher deities and influenced by the Divine in our lives. By this time, I was not a believer so any religion or any being did not influence me. Eros is that passionate feeling, which mostly involves sexual desire (Moseley). I guess my uncle and auntie had this type of love since it is the love between lovers. I was not in love with any of the persons in my life and only loved them for who they were and that they were human beings like me. Therefore, I came to conclude that Plato classifies the love I had as Philia. This feeling involves the fondness and the appreciation of others, which I greatly practice up to this day. The only difference between the ways I felt for others is that I never held grudges against anyone, never engaged in quarrels, and never gossiped. I have always questioned myself when I was young and have always thought that there must have been a hidden force that worked in that child I was many years ago. In fact, I still miss that child since life has changed me into a more intolerable person.
However, up to this day, a philosophy that I started long ago when I was young still holds. Severally, my neighbors have saved my life and have directed me towards the right path. For example, once when I had an accident, my neighbor eagerly helped me as my parents were far away from me. Moreover, my neighbors advised me on the best career path to follow given that they had been in college and high school prior to me. When I was joining college, they helped me in understanding the nature of life in school and the behavior to which I was required to stick as a freshman.
Therefore, this life philosophy has assisted me in surviving danger and escaping death. Furthermore, it has helped me in gaining friends across borders and having people in my life who would easily risk their lives for me. In turn, I can also commit the same action, as I am quick to note the humble hearts that are only full of love and nothing but affection.
My earlier self that chose to be humble and quiet has also shaped me intellectually. Without realizing it, I found myself reading difficult and challenging books of higher level targeted at high school students. Furthermore, I also engaged in reading books that inspired and encouraged wisdom in all areas.
I came to realize that there was some part of wisdom not gained naturally, but from extensive learning and interaction with other people’s deep thoughts. For example, many individuals do not embrace the idea of letting go. However, people who have practiced and written about it present a good way of encouraging others who think that letting go is a weakness.
As I explained earlier, religiousness was a distinctive feature of neither my parents nor me. I came to be religious later in life when I sought to understand evil and good. In the midst, I came to know about these two forces. Since I loved reading, I found myself reading the Bible when I grew older. I was not reading it in order to practice what was written, but to know the motives behind the writings and to understand whether the content was applicable. Unknowingly, I started practicing what was written in the book and it started working for me. I was good from the very beginning; thus, it was not hard for me to practice religion and to understand more about the nature of evil. Therefore, I came not only to believe in the existence of God, but also realized that the evil certainly existed. I understood that humans have a role in deciding whom to follow. As I learned, the two beings, good and evil have the capability of influencing a person’s life. However, it can happen only if people fully allow any of the powers to impact them.
Unlike others who believe in organized religion, I think that it comes from within. Therefore, people only meet to strengthen what they believe and to distort the beliefs of others. Thus, people ought to choose carefully whom to follow if they want to preserve their original beliefs.
I also believe that people are born with different destinies and unless one changes that destiny it is possible to die the way one was born. Some are born with sinful hearts while others are born with good ones. However, all these can change into their opposites as a good person can become a bad person and vice versa.
In my case, several things almost changed me from who I used to be. I came across some friends whom I loved, cherished and treated like my brothers and sisters. However, some of them ended up betraying my trust.
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Life and practice also force someone to shift from the old to the newly acquired self. In my case, real changes came later. As seen earlier, I was more of an introvert but never shy and afraid of speaking in public or in front of a huge audience. My character has changed in high school. Due to the school requirements and assignments, I educated to provide presentations on certain learned things. It meant that I had to upscale my speaking abilities and to change my quiet nature. One day, I was required to speak to a big audience with parents involved instead of the usual class speech, with which I just do away. Moreover, the audience was unusual for me because later only my classmates had served as my listeners and viewers. Therefore, I could not refuse to accept this offer, no matter what, though I knew that I did not like the whole idea. I was informed earlier than usual and for a whole week, I struggled with the idea of me having to speak to a large audience. I was given a large writing, which was meant to guide me through and I was required to read it a hundred times in order to understand what was required of me and how I should perform in front of all the parents. I read it many times in order to avoid stammering and going out of topic. Now, I remember the topic I talked about was students’ active involvement in school work and enhancing their creativity.
It was not hard for me to understand the topic given because I was a bright and diligent student and had read many books. On this particular day, the school principal introduced me to the large audience. I had never seen so many eyes assembled together waiting for whatever came out of me. At first, it was a shocking site since all the eyes were gazing at me. I felt as if I would pass out, but continued to give myself some motivations that I would make it. I began mumbling some words and I almost lost track of the entire topic. However, my encouraging class teacher was with me and one look at her helped motivate me and also helped gather my insignificant strength. From then onward, I talked with much power and passion that I could hear the audience clapping more than one time. I also learned that interceding with moments of humor was an effective way to keep the crowd engaged. During the entire speech giving experience, I forgot that I had a written speech and talked about whatever came to my mind.
Unknowingly, that was the beginning of my public speeches to which I am always ready today when given the chance. It was also a beginning of a long chance that allowed me to speak out my philosophies of life. The lack of confidence I suffered from in the beginning turned into a big opportunity, which made me bury my introvert self. By the time I finished the speech, everyone was on their feet, including my parents, who did not know that I possessed such a talent.
As seen earlier, I had struggled with my parents since they thought that I was unintelligent simply because I chose to keep quiet in relation to many things that happened in my life. My parents and my siblings expected that I would perform lower in such an activity and the worst or probably the best thing for them was that I did not turn into what they expected. Whatever I had learned from myself and my books came into full force and helped provide me with a subsequent topic during my speeches. Our school principal was very excited to an extent that he rewarded me for the excellent speech given. Since that day, I was the one to give out some notable speeches owing to my diverse audience.
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On the other hand, my friends and those I cared for demotivated my virtuous nature. For instance, one of my high school friends chose to use me and abuse my good self since she thought that I was good and that I could not deny her anything. I could help her with homework, run her errand, and even help her with some other things. At first, the thought that this time was the last time helped me. However, such a process did not stop. I was forced to take a strong stance against my friends and become an activist for my rights. I learned that not loving but allowing others to use my good nature was a weakness. I realized that this was the reason my parents and siblings always thought I was weak. Up to this day, my transformation still amazes my parents, brothers, and sisters. They also understand that inside me there is a very intelligent person who was hard to ignore and who should be respected by everybody.
One of the questions that people constantly ask me is who have inspired me to become who I am; however, I consider the answer is clear. Life experiences have shaped me into my present self. However, I have had several people who have stimulated my thinking, one of them being my uncle. My family, though in the hard way, also contributed to my success in life. Furthermore, my teachers also assisted me because they were quite supportive and helped straighten my paths while others acted as barriers that needed to be overcome in order to learn and survive. My class teacher in the primary school, however, had a large influence on me since she always persisted that I should work hard on my education. She continued following me even when she was not my class teacher and she made sure that I excelled in all ways. She also connected me with the right people in my learning life in order to impact who I was and to strengthen my hidden capabilities. Up to this date, she still insists on knowing about my performance and encouraging me to work better than I have been doing given that I can achieve higher results.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that my intellectual path has been a long and bumpy one. It started when I was young and is still going on. I have faced the challenges that have helped shape my destiny. I have also experienced some barriers that I have had to overcome in order to be who I am. One thing I know for certain is that the journey is not yet finished since no one stops learning until they are in the grave. Therefore, I still have a long journey ahead of me. The only difference is that I am more knowledgeable than I was in the past.