Born Unlimited and Limitless
What’s a lesson you choose to unlearn?
That I am limited.
As a four year old kid, my life knew no bounds. If wings for humans existed and we all get to have our own, mine would have had been flapping tirelessly due to my endless eagerness to fly higher, higher, and then even higher. This was my constant state as a child, for the sky that my eyes were capable of setting eyes on were only the beginning of where my goals began and not the end. I could be anything, wanted to be everything, and no one around me told me the the stars are not for me to reach.
I started recognizing the limitations placed on me by centuries of colonization and patriarchy a little while after I entered the wilderness that is society. This was when I was around eight, I suppose. I can’t remember when it all sank in, but I have a clear memory of a male high school teacher undermining my wish to earn a PhD degree.
“I don’t think it’s important, you’re probably going to end up in the kitchen anyway.”
At the tender age of sixteen, seventeen, I have heard of such phrases quite a bit in my life. They never really rattle me or halt me my in march forward, but hearing that from an educator struck me differently, and I remember responding harshly, loudly, in disbelief.
Another limitation has less to do with the stereotype that society has placed upon my gender and more to do with my pre-determined nationality, status, that bounds me to an environment entrenched with the mindset that is constructed by centuries of slavery and colonialism.
Despite what I wrote in my high school senior book about being ‘too busy climbing to the top’, the top I imagined was of a small hill that would not take much effort to climb. The path was clear, the gear was ready in my arsenal, all I needed was to walk ahead, no hurdles. There was no self-doubt attached to me throughout it all, for I knew what I was doing was very much within my capabilities.
The top I imagined was very much within my comfort zone, and when I looked up to the sky from that very spot, I imagined being four again and soaring endlessly, fearlessly, to the vast sky, for the stars were mine to reach but I never once held them, never once made the attempt because I slowly learned that I don’t have wings. People don’t. That’s why we invented airships and spacecrafts, and even then, they’re made to land again, back to where we first started.
In this state of constant craving, something changed.
Perhaps it was the envy that I had for those standing on top of the hills I never imagined to climb, perhaps it is the realization that if I never saw anyone like me making the attempt, then I should be the first and be an example so many more could set out to climb, should they wish to.
I remember thinking it, remember saying it to my best friend after contemplating it for a long time.
“I want to do it,” I told her over the screen. We were an ocean away because it was spring break, and I was on my mother’s campaign trail when I made the decision to break free from all that was binding my feet to the ground.
Her response was this, “Then I will support you.”
There was no sliver of doubt, not in her voice, nor in her eyes. She genuinely believed that I was going to be able to do it even before my conviction was set in stone, and that was all I needed to trigger the unfurling of my long-folded imaginary wings.
At once, the invisible limitations hanging over my head shattered and I was four again, ready to run, jump, fly, and beat my wings hard because I want to go higher and I can.
I choose to unlearn that I am limited. God created me and gave me the potentials that I have for a reason, and he set me on this destiny for a reason too. There was never an end to the duty I bear, for He never placed one in my path. I was born into this world unlimited with limitless opportunities, and I will continue to live as such.