"Have a little more faith in yourself!" is the word I was given repeatedly by one of my best mates / mentors.
He probably has no memory of what he said because it always happened when he was extremely drunk. It was alway just before he lost his conscious due to the massive amount of alcohol, he looked into my eyes and said his line. He said that so many times that this line was engraved onto my mind and grows every single day even now. This memory comes back to me so vividly because of the party I had last night with bunch of lovely people.
After finishing to revise my paper on self-esteem, I cooked some food for the little christmas party. It was also a debut gig for Momo (my daughter). She was so reluctant to go with me, telling me how tired she felt and how boring it could be. But somehow my heart told me not to get her away from this opportunity to meet and mingle with unique, creative and inspiring individuals. So, I gave her the smile that said, "I won't take no for an answer". By now, she knows the awful consequences if she objects to the smile. So, she came along, dragging the heavy guitar and the heart.
She was in a devastating state of mind due to the terrible test score she got at school in spite of her tremendous effort. The worst news for her was that it was the English test. She got 58 in 60 in speaking test and full mark in listening but when it came to translation from Japanese to English, she got into one of the worst three in the 8th graders. She just couldn't memorize all the meaningless lines no matter how much she tried. It was heartbreaking time to see her struggle so much and lost all her self-esteem for such a tiny little matter like an English test at a Japanese school. But don't you remember the school life and test scores meant the whole world for you when you were 14? Perhaps it meant more in Japan for more students become more obedient to social rules in general. Momo is not an exception. She takes a measure, the school grades way too seriously and thinks she is a total loser. The school grades are one of the most influential measures for "success" but it is NOT a tool to measure your value as a human. I can't repeat this enough and I want her English teacher repeat this as well instead of killing all her enthusiasm towards learning and discovering unknown. The fatal line, the bullet in her heart from the teacher was, "You may not be able to go to the high school unless you try harder." This is a spit on your face. This is a kick in your already bruised butt. This is a bucket of cold water on your head on the freezing winter night. Such words humiliate you. Such words pierce your heart and numb it. Little by little, I can see her heart stop taking things in due to the pain, humiliation, disappointment, despair that come along with heartless words like that. It is not even truthful. It is just a harsh and mean words reflecting the teacher's irritation towards his lack of ability to inspire and motivate his students. I've heard so many lines like that back in school days and I know that none of them are true now. But how do you know when you are just 14 and the school life occupies 80% of your conscious life?
I truly wished she had a friend like my best mate telling her repeatedly that how wonderful and special she is because who she is. I wish I could be her best friend but as you know for a teenager, a mum is a mum not a friend. She needed a person who has a faith in her. Someone who is not a member of her family and looks at her objectively and genuinely appreciates her presence in her/ his life. Someone like my best mate.
At the party, a big help from my partner and the amazing audience, Momo managed to play some tunes and got applause, telling her how wonderful performer she was. Except a few people in the crowd, no one really knew what mental state Momo was in and what she really needed. For me, those encouraging sweet words from them were the best Christmas gift I can ever think of for Momo. The words from the cool grown-ups who enjoy their lives and successful in their own way. They had no idea the impact of their words on her. But those words she heard last night were like the line I carry every single day, " Have a little more faith in yourself." By the time we got home after joining the second party at a bar, the little twinkles came back to her eyes. This morning she said, " It was fun.."
Her frozen heart has melted a little. Of course, it takes time to build more faith in herself. But at least, she experienced that there were the whole wider world with all jolly and lovely awesome grown-ups.
And those people appreciate her presence and talent.
Thanks to the jolly mates and their Christmas spirit. I truly wish you a very merry Christmas!!!