At age 5, death scared me. I was scared of roosters, I was scared of my mother’s “Iron hands”, I was scared of uncles. Who am I kidding, I was scared of males in general. Still, Death topped the list. I did not want to ever die.

At age 17, death appealed to me. Death seeemed to me like tapping out during a wrestling match. I had simply had enough in the wrestling match called life and I wanted out. I had my reservations on the way death chose its victims, could it not see that life was suffocating me? Why couldn’t a simple shoulder flexion and extension movement of tapping out will it to come.

I will tell you what changed from age 5 to age 17. I wanted to die. The reasons I wanted to die are laughable now when I think about them but at age 17, those reasons were valid. To me, dying meant one less ugly, one less dumb and one less useless person in the world. At age 17, I was short and gangly. I was convinced I had never felt love. I felt like a wallflower and felt a wallflower looked like me.

At age 21, I want to live. I am still scared of roosters, my mother and I have a healthier relationship, I still feel a little weary of men but that’s just it. I am grateful for love and life. I am grateful for the length of my hair. I am grateful for my smile. The sway of my hips may not be there yet but I am grateful for the principle of overload which affords me the opportunity to build my glutes if laziness lets me.

I am grateful for the mighty fine brain convolutions I am convinced I have. I can talk about Beowulf and tell a Lucian Freud joke. I am grateful that I am smart enough to know that “beauty and brains” is not a compliment and grateful also for the facts that I have to support my argument. I am grateful for feminism and that I too can be a part of the advocacy for women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes.

I am grateful for family and friends. I am grateful for opportunities I have to take walks with friends and travel with family. I am grateful for the many smiles people bring to my face and most of all I am convinced that I know love now. I am grateful that I can tune out noise with music. I am grateful that my voice is just the right tempo and volume to pick fights with my roommate.

I wake up to a myriad of reasons that substantiate that I am an unfinished work of art and life appeals to me more than ever before. I can give you one reason to be grateful about life which is that you can eat, dress and rise from bed without the sole aim being for some confused looking physiotherapy students to assess your functional independence. You should also be grateful that you can read this piece as I am grateful that I can write it.

I have learnt to live without the fear of death in my conscious. I have learnt that I am infact very pleasing to look at. The wallflower holds a special place in my heart and I now know that it is okay to be a little introverted. I have learnt to count my blessings everyday and so should you.

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