Little Impacts

Like a footprint on an unattended zen garden.


Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet through time, I have come to discover that words leave the strongest impressions. Time after time, I find myself contemplating things that someone said. The intonation that they said it, the situation in which they said it, the gestures that they said it with, the state of mind in which they said it, the circumstances that caused them to say it. It’s always the little things that impact me the most. It’s the little things which people deem unimportant that affects my state of mind the most. Like a footprint on an unattended zen garden. This means that little compliments and criticisms cause lasting influences on me. The words and content might fly right past my mind like a comet across the obsidian sky, yet I can’t help but be extremely affected by it. It causes my mood to fluctuate like a young little girl’s fluttery heart. It means that I get happy really easily, and get sad equally as quick.

However, the censure that I received in my life easily outweighs the praises. Countless sleepless nights reliving endless quarrels. Quiet walks in silent parks recollecting deafening squabbles. Though I might seem cheerful in one second, a memory of a hurtful comment plunges me into the abyss.

“I now understand why your father deserted you in the first place.”

Yet, the most recent phrase that impacted me the most was neither a compliment nor a criticism, but merely a single comment. It happened when I was walking through a marketplace with her and I stumbled across a Japanese decor stall. I was captivated by two paperweights, one was in the shape of a sperm whale, the other a dolphin. I was having a hard time choosing between the two, so I asked for a second opinion.

She said, “how does the two make you feel?”

So I responded, “the sperm whale gives more gravity, while the dolphin gives off a playful and happy vibe,” calmly analyzing the two.

Then she said, “I want you to be happy.”

I was caught completely off guard. It was such a simple phrase, yet it was something that I haven’t heard from her since kindergarten. There was no hidden meaning behind it, yet I kept trying to defuse it. It triggered my defense mechanism for days after the incident. I was so on edge and uneasy. It was an absurd comment.

Little did she know that I gave up on pursuing happiness a long time ago. I gave up on chasing my dream. I no longer look forward to the future. I lost hope in finding love. I ceased to hold onto my life.

Yet, I chose the dolphin. Maybe I held onto more hope than I would like to admit. Maybe I pitied the dolphin and thought that it deserved a loving environment more than me. Maybe I wanted something to remind myself to hold onto hope. Nobody knows. But on that day, she said that she wanted me to be happy, and that was enough impact for me to last a lifetime.

Well, a lifetime’s a bit too exaggerated. She commented about how she wanted me to change the way I talk and have a little more gravity to my character. I guess she wanted me to get the sperm whale instead of the dolphin afterall.

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