By Tim Camelio (‘22)

When I entered this world, I may have felt seeing myself, but I saw my parents as soon as I opened my eyes. I was way too young to understand the world, but in my own tiny mind, I was confused. Confused, yet hopeful. I wanted to learn about the world, and somewhere beyond that was a tinge of optimism and hope. A rainbow was forming in my heart.

I grew up curious and passionate. I had the heart of a lion, and the tenderness of a lamb. Though I was too young to understand the real world, and I had no idea how to process my emotions. My lion side was a little too passionate, and at times, I did not know how to control it. I tried to steer away from everyone else by hiding from the big crowds. It was noticeable to my teachers. Whenever I would lose control, my teachers would give me two kinds of help; one that helps, and one that hurts.

They would give me puzzles, the ones that make it hard for me to solve. I would get upset, and the teachers I thought would try to help me would give me puzzles to solve on my own. What am I supposed to do with a puzzle on my own, when all of the pieces are hard to find? Is it too much to ask them that sometimes I need a little help and guidance instead of a punishment? How do these kinds of puzzles help me? They don’t. They make it even worse. They make me grow a side of pessimism and embarrassment that looks over my heart and creates nasty scars. They would label me as the ‘difficult problem kid’ whenever I would try to make a call for help, and they would let me sit through and solve heated puzzles on my own. And for what? So that they can ignore my pleas some more and do it all over again when the next ‘difficult problem kid’ comes in, and cries for help. All the pieces in the puzzle are nothing but trouble, and it’s something that I never wanted. I hated them for giving me those hard puzzles, and I still look back in disgust.

Scars were visible in my heart; a growing vein of pessimism disguising itself to smile through the pain. As time grew on, and I tried my best to bend, out of fear of being given another puzzle to solve, I started to find new people who were with me. They gave me all sorts of gifts, but they were more common and prevalent than in my elementary years. They weren’t puzzles anymore. Instead, they were unlimited kinds of encouragement and reassurance that I barely had from elementary. They were pieces of inspiration here and there, motivation that would fuel a lightbulb. There were ideas and creativity that I would never be called out on and forced to shelve away. There were hearts that overflowed and gave their undying support towards me. I have felt these gifts rub off on me, much more than when I was younger, curious, and scared of the world.

I never knew how it felt to feel optimistic, creative, and carefree without any kind of repression. The rainbow that beamed down on me the day I was born shines brightly into the sky, and I have no sign of letting it go. There aren’t any puzzles that I have to follow and solve anymore. My gifts don’t come in empty puzzles, but they come all connected in one symbol: infinity.