There are many moments throughout life that affect you, be it a small or big event. These events that occur and decisions you make, shape who you turn out to be, this can be positive or negative depending on what perspective you have of yourself. About 12 years ago, I decided to take a step in my life, that little did I know would influence the way I think to this day. This decision has impacted my life in quite a few ways, in my eyes it has made my life better and bearable in a way.
The most exciting thing that usually happens to most kids at the age of six is transitioning from grade one to two. However, in my case it was different. By the time I turned six, I had not only started grade two, I had moved to an entirely new continent. Throughout my entire life, I have had to make innumerable adjustments to adapt to the constant changes brought about by moving. Moving from Pakistan to Canada was not the only move my family has made either. Prior to coming to Canada, I lived in Turkey. I have had the opportunity to meet so many people along the way and see so much more of the world than I would have if my family had stayed in Pakistan. However, moving around has its disadvantages such as developing long-lasting relationships. I have had to leave many good friends behind and have also made some very bad friends in the process. Constantly having to establish new relationships leaves a child vulnerable to the risks of being bullied and manipulated. Learning to recognize the difference between a real friend and an abusive one was one of the more difficult lessons I had to learn. Not only because of what I endured but also because it forced me to confront the fact the people are not always as kind as you would like to think they are.
My first ever memory of Canada was disembarking at the airport in Mississauga, Ontario and as I stepped out of the airport I was hit with the coldest winter breeze I had ever felt. When we were walking towards the car I slipped on a patch of ice, landing gracefully on my rear end. Welcome to Canada. I had to start school the same week we arrived. It was the only thing I could think about for the entire week, adding to the stress I was already feeling from the move. I am not an outgoing person by nature. In fact, I am what most people would call shy. It takes time for me to open up to people and so when I finally made a couple of friends I was thrilled. However, that moment was short-lived, since we had to move again. Fortunately, this move was just to another part of Mississauga but it still meant having to meet another group of new people. This time, it took over a month before I made any friends.
A month had passed, and I was nowhere close to making any friends, so being the straightforward person I am, I walked straight up to a girl one day and asked her point-blank to be my friend. It sounds awkward, but I was only in grade two at the time. We instantly hit it off and became best of friends. However, I learned to not judge people quickly, as I soon came to regret my decision. My new friend turned out to be a bully. She insulted me, embarrassed me, and even went so far as to physically hit me and throw things at me. I allowed her to abuse me because I was too afraid of losing my only “friend” to tell anyone. I hoped she would stop as we got to know each other better, but she only got worse. Eventually, I had enough and stood up. I told her that this is not what friends do, that what she’s doing to me is bullying. However, all that backfired right in my face as she laughed at me, so I decided to walk away. I will never forget that little girl though; she made me realize that people put up with some terrible things for the sake of being socially accepted.
In hindsight, I do wish I had confronted the girl about her behavior but I cannot fault my younger self for wanting to feel accepted. Realizing that there are people out there who can and will bully you for no reason was a harsh lesson to learn as a child but I definitely feel stronger because of it. At that point in life, although I was quite young, it made me realize that during a phase of hardship you shouldn’t rely on others. Therefore, you have to be there for yourself meaning you have to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Furthermore, this lesson in life has always stuck to me, whenever I’m in a difficult situation that is testing my morals and rights, I always think to myself “if six year old me could do that, then I can do this.”