My World

The WordAwesome Moments

I have always found “my world” too small.

Living in a crowded city in Bangladesh, I am surrounded by one class of people. I am rooted in a conservative society in which, from a very young age, a path is set for every child. Being different is met with disapproval; it means you have gone astray. People around me believe in one source of success: the financial staircase.

It means one should not waste a moment on anything else. There is no time to dream, no time for poetry or painting. The social barriers that confine me are too close; they always seem to be caving in. I have sought larger boundaries and strive to push the walls further back, but have failed dismally. The small world around me seems to fit into the palm of my hand. So small, so frustrating! Wasting my days within these confines, I feel like a prisoner dying to escape, or escaping to die. The air I am allowed to breathe is not sufficient. I am suffocating.

Doesn’t success have a wider meaning? Doesn’t it mean more than status? What about exploring the rest of the world? But one voice is never strong enough to change the tide.

My imagination never knew any bounds, but my world did. Every step I try to take out of line, I feel a tug at the invisible cord around my neck. The shackles at my wrist and ankle refuse loudly as I try to break down the doors. I feel like Rapunzel — trapped in a castle, guarded by a dragon, waiting for a savior — a savior, oh, if only there were one!

From a very young age, I grew up hearing this particular story. It seems my predicament matched a locked-up girl, where the wicked witch of insecurity and immorality threatens every step of her life. Sometimes I feel we are the same, living in two different dimensions within different confinements. But at last, I have found my savior.

I imagine open sky and sprawling green fields. The song of freedom sounds in my ear. I close my eyes and am transported to the land beyond the high walls, the land called my savior, my freedom.

And that is writing.

I realized this a few years ago. It was just another day when I had been ridiculed for painting instead of studying for the Olympiad competition. My parents told me to stop wasting my time and do something productive that would appeal to foreign universities. As tears rolled down my eyes, my sister came up to me. She smiled, passing me a paper and pen.

“A gift,” she said.

The best gift of my life. That very moment, when I began to write my first piece, I realized the peace that came along with it. As emotions flowed on the perched paper, I felt something lift off my chest. For once I was happy, forgetful of the daily barometers, ready to fight against the tide. That one day has proved to be the pillar of my new life. I can fight. With this strength, I shall fight.

I have finally found that answer. Truthfully, I was scared to share it with everyone. But right now I feel light as a feather. I am no longer afraid. I was looking for a nonexistent heaven. Hardships will never end; they are just a part of your life. There is no way above or below. They were wrong. That precious place is around me. I see it every day. I breathe it in with every heartbeat.


Every time I write, I am there.

My world, where I get to live with the things I love, is where I belong. Beyond the harsh reality, writing gives me a place where I don’t have to succeed to gain meaning. Stories allow me to sit in front of my piano the whole day without receiving scorching glares from others. They are the place where time stands still as I try to capture the evening with the red wine color at the tip of my pen.

And then I realize that this place is in my heart. I do not have to look far. Every night I dream of it, breathe it in. As long as society isn’t giving me what I want, I shall fight like this: with my pen, in my world, hidden from the rest of the universe.

Nusrat Jahin Angela is 16 and in the 11th grade in Bangladesh. One of her hobbies is writing; she believes it is the best form of self-expression. Aside from writing, she enjoys learning languages and doing community service work to meet and learn about people from different areas.

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