31,557,600 Seconds & Counting

Kayla Sherald - India


May 20, 2017

            On this very day last year. I never truly understood why people would say such
things. Sure, it was
this day last year but in its spontaneity; it
wasn’t. 365 (366(?)) days ago a baby could have been born, a disaster could
have occurred, a person may have been lost. And sure, though the same exact
events (births, disasters, etc.) are most likely occurring as I type this; they
aren’t exactly how they were last year. Last year, if I’d gotten amnesia and
woke up today, would I know that it was this day last year that I’d forgotten?
Probably not. As I would probably will not remember my current attempts to
justify my confusion in remembering what has passed next year on May 20, 2018.
But I digress.

            On this very day last year, I discovered a package on my
doorstep addressed to me from Global Citizen Year. Being that for the previous
months of the beginning 2016, all I’d received (and expected) were small
mysterious (though not) envelopes from about 7 universities and colleges; this
one was the most shocking and unsettling of all.

Why was this program mailing me?

Did they spend minutes of their time to send what they
thought were reassuring pledges of empty pities after they so blatantly and
thoroughly rejected me too?

Was it a default brochure?

Taking the package and
placing it on the counters in my kitchen, I immediately opened it.

Well, here goes, another one to batter my already
faint ego into absolute nothingness.

Wasn’t expecting much to come out of this any way.

 

“I’M GOING TO INDIA!”

Oh, how nice. Send me a postca-

 

Wait. What?

 

I started at the
red-orange card in my hands. I’ve seen these before.

Days before while getting
my hopes up
looking through the Global Citizen Year Instagram page, I’d
seen the last year’s Fellows in photos, smiling with these cards in their
hands. Accepted.

 

Why did I have one?

Of course, though my eyes
had registered that I’d been accepted, my mind had already revolved around the
Sun thrice, been to the Bermuda Triangle (returned), and waited in line at the
Indian Consulate.

It would never accept
this with the most illogical logical reasoning.
Accepted?

Okay. Maybe it’s just a very misleading brochure. Maybe
I overlooked another step to then apply further for acceptance (in a previous
program to which I applied, there were 3 rounds to be accepted, like some
Olympic triathlon). Maybe…this program cannot be legit if it’d accepted me this
quickly let alone at all. I mean, I felt sane and unperturbed while applying,
that cannot be right.

And though I’d loved to
say that it was a joke; that I truly wasn’t reasoning seriously; I cannot.

Having been told things like,
“no”, “no, sorry”, “no…maybe”, “you tried”, “wait, we’ll look at this one first
then come back to you”, “uhm, maybe you’d like to look somewhere else”, etc.,
my psyche began adopting it without my realizing it; I wasn’t first and
therefore had no worth.

And having an inkling
that it began when I transferred after freshman year to a competitive high
school where I wasn’t first vis-à-vis the normality of being so in my first
school, I sank deep in to the
competition
and when I began to open my eyes from the sedative that was meant to last
for three years while still in this dark, gaping hole that was meant to lead me
to “success and happiness”, I stopped trying, that is,
trying to be what was expected.

I’d rather be last and learn than be further ahead and
mechanic.

And my AP Biology teacher
had a thing or two to say about it to my guidance counselor who
knew.

Returning to May 20,
2016, that day, I feel as though my eyes finally opened. I no longer thought my
life was over because I couldn’t juggle laptops through invisible lasers of
fire and get into a namebrand. I no longer feared what 4 more years would
finish off of the already wheezing remains that was my well-being. I started
the journey to stop questioning what was wrong with me.

And all of that was initiated
(or at least recharged) by Global Citizen Year one year ago.

Today, I wouldn’t say I’m
cured. I do not feel I’ve been saved. I cannot tell the future, either.

But what I can say with
full confidence is that I am not who received that card. I mean, I am (was(?))
but I didn’t love her. I do love her. But I didn’t less 31,557,600 ( Google (;
) seconds ago. And I thank the Global Citizen Year for granting me an
opportunity to pursue that wish.

In fact, for all of the
wishes I had and was told to write down during a session at Pre-Departure
Training and realized I’d achieved all of them technically; I thank myself for
it too; for all of the journeys taken, all the falls had, all the friends met,
and all the epiphanies realized. Thank you.

Kayla.

 

May 20, 2017

B3 – 31,557,600 Seconds
& Counting

Kayla Sherald