On September 5, 2015, my sister died. Her name was Nikki. There have been many ups and downs since then, but I always fall back on a line from the movie, Mulan: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” My sister led a life that reflected the influence of this in her life. I want to do the same. However, it took me quite a bit of time to implement positivity in my life.
At first, my entire existence was numb and apathetic. I became robotic. I distinctly remember the numerous occasions on which the parents I nanny for would look at me with eyes of pity and tell me that I just didn’t seem like myself. It was almost as if I wasn’t there at all.
Everyone avoided using Nikki’s name as if it was on a list of curse words. It made me feel like people were trying to pretend that she never existed. She did. I wanted to talk about her and searched for any opportunity to bring her up. Half of the time, I was trying to convince myself that I was fine by bringing her up in a humorous fashion which generally made people uncomfortable because they didn’t know what to say and the other half of the time, I was trying to convince everyone else I was fine.
Eventually, I regained emotions, but they were heavily overcome with anxiety. My sister died in her sleep without any known cause. For months, I was convinced I, too, was destined for a similar fate. I refused to sleep. This only made the anxiety worse. After six hospital trips in a matter of months for what I believed to be heart attacks and strokes, but were merely crippling panic attacks, I knew I had to find a better way of life—a life of quality.
I slowly began to seek ways to find happiness, even in the smallest doses. I decided I wanted to stare down the adversity in my life and make something positive of it. The idea of it seemed so simple, but it was much harder than I thought. I constantly questioned myself and my existence, constantly asked myself if I were truly facing adversity instead of being controlled by it. I slowly began to seek solace through art and exploration. I’ve always been very artistic, so I started my life change with painting. The first few paintings were riddled with unadulterated, messy emotion. After months, my paintings would become beautiful. Painting became my therapy. Not only was I creating beautiful things in my sister’s name, but I was becoming a beautiful and well-rounded human.
Naturally, I find myself saddened when I remember I cannot tell my sister about the exciting things I’ve been doing, but that sadness becomes my drive. Her death led me to the quote that would change my path. I have blossomed into a person similar to the sister I admire. Nikki left behind a beautiful legacy of life, love, and beauty. Every day, I stare at the now distant eyes of adversity and continue becoming beautiful.