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  • armaanajoomal

The Freedom of Suffering

3 hours ago, I was heaving and panting, sweating and shaking, smiling and philosophizing in a 200 Fahrenheit sauna with 4 strangers.

We talked about identity. And the fact that isolation is a gift.

I was talking with two Indian grad students about their conflict of identity. It started when they began school at Northeastern.

They spoke Hindi.

They cooked Dal Makhani.

They prayed to Hindu gods.

Yet they didn’t feel Indian.

They went back home and said that they felt like strangers in their childhood city.

The air was different.

The conversation was alien.

And their family barely connected with them, barely understood them.

Yet, this was the price.

The price of going to school in a different country.

The price of leaving their family.

The price of becoming themselves.

Despite the trials and tribulations and trouble they have endured here in the US, they were proud.

Proud that they finally felt independent.

Proud that they finally felt comfortable with themselves.

Proud that they finally had an identity of their own creation.

You see, there’s beauty in leaving home.

You learn who you are.

And this my friends, is a fact of life.

By leaning into discomfort and leaving “home”, we become who we are.

Nietzsche said the same thing centuries ago.

By burdening ourselves with challenges, we grow.

There’s no need to be afraid.

No need to be afraid of leaving home.

Of leaving behind old friends.

Of leaving behind old beliefs and behaviors.

Of leaving behind our past selves.

Because as we leave behind the past and throw off the chains of history, we unshackle ourselves.

We become free.

Free to create who we can be.

Free yourself from the past.

Become who you were meant to be.

Thank you.

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