new experiences and new friends
"We're all packed, son." My father said to me as I looked around our home. The first-ever home I had. The home that now smelled of cardboard. Yes, we were moving and I had to change schools too.
"I'll be done in a minute," I told him.
I was busy packing my camera and souvenirs from various milestones in my life in a box. Along with that, I was also packing away my emotions, the resentment, and the sense of loss I felt. My friends from over fifteen years, my old school, the nook in my house where I often sipped a cup of coffee peacefully - all of this was about to change. The box didn't just carry the other paraphernalia, it also held my suppressed emotions.
"Well, you have a bigger room now," my dad said but that didn't matter. The new house felt eerily unfamiliar. The pungent smell of the paint, the new couch, and my room, everything was weirdly unsettling. It didn't feel like home. I couldn't deal with the fact that I had to start all over again. I refused to face my emotions and started unpacking all the boxes, except for the one.
Before I realised, the first day at my new school had arrived and it was everything I dreaded. I was surrounded by new faces in a seemingly unfriendly atmosphere. The narrow corridors, the cold rooms, everything was stiflingly unwelcoming. Days turned into weeks and months but that one box remained unpacked and the weight of the baggage was getting worse. I became socially distant and didn't even try to interact with anyone. I was turning into a person that I had never known. I was always eager to go to school, but now I dreaded the thought of sitting in the classroom for eight hours. Eventually, it was time for our summer break, something I wasn't looking forward to at all.
Over the break, I happened to glance at that one box that I hadn't yet unpacked, even after 3 months. It simply sat there, gathering dust by the window and I realised that my camera was in it. It hit me with a pang that photography - something I genuinely enjoyed - had been relegated as a forgotten activity in my anger and inability to deal with my emotions. I was so caught up in protesting this change in my life that I hadn't engaged in the one thing I enjoyed the most. And as I took out the camera to upload the pictures onto my social media, the box felt slightly lighter. I felt slightly lighter, almost as if a weight had been lifted off my heart.
The first day after the break, a few of my classmates approached me and started asking me questions about some of the pictures I'd shared online. This new spotlight made me nervous initially but then I just went along with it. What started with photography evolved into bonding over our mutual love for video games and computers and this how a genuine friendship was forged. In just a few months, all of us became a tight-knit unit and it seemed like we'd been friends for years. My new home was filled with love and laughter once again as it became a regular spot for all of us to hang out.
Gradually, all these 'new' experiences and my friends not only helped me reconnect with myself and the emotions I'd boxed up but also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. Whether it was leading the logistics team at my school's annual drama festival or volunteering to speak on various topics in class, the new and evolved me had finally unravelled himself. As for that box? It's long been discarded and I've found a new place to enjoy my evening coffee.