Today, I was discussing with a friend of mine the concept of influence. How much of our lives are influenced by others? And how much of that influence goes unnoticed and unacknowledged? When thinking of even the simplest things such as drinking water or even waking up early in the morning, there is so many aspects of our lives that are influenced by others. For example, drinking water. We drink water because our parents tell us it is healthy and good for us. Our parents tell us that water is healthy because scientists proved and urged people that we as humans cannot live without water and that it is essential to our survival. I never thought about that process in that manner, but my friend brought it to light.
But where did this discussion even spark from? You are probably wondering why it even matters to us at all. Well, it all started with the hijab. If you don’t know what a hijab is, it is a veil that covers the head and chest of women and is generally worn by Muslim women. We were talking about whether it is really an individual Muslim woman’s choice to wear or not to wear the hijab. Using the water example as a foundation, wouldn’t the choice be influenced from the woman’s parents (more specifically the mother)? And wouldn’t the parents be influenced by the culture? So in the end, who really made the choice? Why wear the hijab? Is it because of culture or your parent’s persistence? Or is it really the woman’s choice solely?
Of course, I am not a Muslim woman, so I don’t know about all the aspects behind wearing the hijab, but the point I’m trying to make is the idea of choice. Do we really have a choice in all the decisions we make everyday? Just thinking of the water example above, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of influences that float around and exist in our lives, and unknowingly, we come to be vulnerable to them and follow them. Of course, this idea of influence is usually applied to much bigger issues such as cults or even politics. But I think we easily forget how even the little decisions in our life involve influences that we may not know the roots of and more importantly, how much of our choices may not actually be solely our own.
March 7th, 2014
You were only 20 years old. You were only 20 years old. You were only 20 years old. That is what I keep repeating to myself. I’m beyond the denial stage, I’m just angry now. You were way to young and you were taken way to quickly. This isn’t just about you being a good person that went to soon, that is something I am very well aware of. This is about all the dreams, potential, liveliness, and good karma that you were full of. This is about them taking the wrong person. This is about so many things that I just can’t put down in words right now.
You were supposed to have more time. You were supposed to live out all your aspirations. You spent the life you had being there for everyone else and helping everyone else every day at any hour. This isn’t fair. You were supposed to do everything you wanted. And when you had done everything you wanted and when I had done everything I wanted, we were supposed to grow old together and reminisce about a life well spent and a friendship well grown.
You spent every day of your life being there for other people and putting all your faith and energy into God. Was this his plan all along? Was he allowing you to have all these hopes and aspirations and have your life planned out just to take it out from underneath you? How if this supposed to be fair? How am I supposed to move on? How am I supposed to move on reminding myself that death is just a part of life? This isn’t right. It shouldn’t have been you. I’m not wishing that someone else would have taken your place in death, but it shouldn’t have been you. They had to have taken the wrong person.
Sarah, I’ve known you for most of my life. Knowing that you died at age 20 because of a freak car accident just isn’t right. I wish I could have talked to you more. I wish I could have seen you more. I wish that I had more time with you and not just for your last words on your death bed. You were my mentor, you were my sister, and you were my best friend. Nothing will ever change that for the amount of time I have left to live. Sarah, I’m happy to know that you aren’t in pain anymore but all the same, it was just too soon. It could have happened to anybody, and it had to be you.
It has been a hard time grieving and trying to keep my life together at Rutgers. I find myself grieving in unhealthy ways without even realizing it. I miss you insanely. It has become so difficult to tell others and confide in them, but I don’t know how much more deaths in my life I can take right now. I miss you so much that it hurts each day I wake up and remember that I won’t be getting a good morning text from you or getting a motivational quote for the week from you. It was because of you that I started writing quotes at the bottom of my calendar in my dorm room so that my roommate can be inspired to. I love you so much, please don’t ever forget.
“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”
– The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy