It all started when, in some state of fantasy, I thought I could do a lot because I was strong. It started the day when I convinced myself that, to achieve success, it is enough to have the strength to fight for it. Since strength can cloud your consciousness, I thought you should fight for what you wanted. I set out on a quest for winning my own better future so confidently, not knowing then that in battles the stupid were hit by arrows first and those from the infantry the fastest.
And I was all of that. Both stupid and fast. Instead of patience, I was armed with expectations, instead of carrying my heart in the palm of my hand, I wore a bulletproof vest, was ready to advance, but not to be at a standstill. I was ready for a journey, but not detours, for people instead of beasts, for bad weather but not evil times. And when I, strong, young and bold, set foot on a battlefield, I realised that bullets were not used in warfare but weaknesses, that you did not conquer bare-chested but armed with lies, that the strong did not emerge victorious but the important.
No, I am not going to join the likes of them. I am not going to feast with those toasting from other people’s skulls. I am not going to wallow in the mud of other people’s broken dreams, which they use as if it had some healing properties. I am not going to rejoice while their words translated into my language rhyme with insults. I do not retaliate. I do not strike back. Because those who speak evil and do evil, life strikes back at them, otherwise they would be more soft-spoken and more generous. Even though it may not seem so, even though it may seem that amidst all of that wealth life has been easy for them, evil words can only come out of mouths that do not know how to kiss, from a soul that does not know how to love, from a life that knows no happiness.
I am not going to fight against the system with my fists. I am going to show that it is possible to be happy even in this poisoned world, that there are other ways of living with dignity for a modest man. To show that it is not necessary to kill in order to survive, that it is not necessary to trade your faith in exchange for a meal so that you can fill your stomach. That it is not necessary to compete. That you have dreams because they can come true. I am going to show that those who risk being who they are can change this world. That this universe can grow when we become deeper persons, when we love stronger and forgive faster. I am going to show that being good is a lucrative business, all it takes is courage. That life is a journey and that the most beautiful destination on that journey is where we are right now, and that flying is possible only if we throw away the baggage we do not need. I am going to show that utopias are feasible realities that the scared shun, that the only lunacy in this world is to make an effort to be normal and problems are nothing but possibility factories. I am going to show that the only antidote to this system is us.
Be brave, but not in order to fight any battles, but to make peace. Only Doubting Thomases say it is a wild goose chase, only those whose hearts are blind can tell you to forget about it because it is a fool’s errand, and only those mired in misery of their holding grudges can tell you it is a utopia. Be brave – not to be able to fight, but to hug with open hands even when the other’s hands are clenched. Brave – not to be able to yell, but to talk continually about all the things that you love in this world, even though the majority of people only talk about the things they hate. Be brave to say ‘Thank you’ even when it may be superfluous, to apologise when your ego says there is no need for that, and love even when your rational mind tells you there is not a single reason for that.
Be brave to build your own peace with your own inner strength and not ruin others’. If it is cold outside, if there is a storm outside, if it is dark – you should know it gets freezing cold before dawn. Hug the ones you love even closer, breathe into your palms even stronger, close your eyes tighter and hold on a little bit longer. Just a little bit longer. And the sun will come out.
Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović
This post is also available in: Serbian