Unicorn Diaries Part 2: The C Word
Way before Migos, shout out Migos, I senior quoted Versace:
“In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do.”
In the 10 years since, I’ve packed on some pounds, grown out my hair and picked up some skills, but not much else has changed fundamentally. I’m still default silly and believe in capitalism + meritocracy. The way I am now is actually rooted in a lot of struggle. I haven’t always been this action-oriented and butterflies & rainbows…
While I was at NCSSM, my mom went full cycle through Breast Cancer. It broke me. I watched the symbol of health and resilience in my life go through chemotherapy and unravel. I’ve never felt as powerless as I did then.
I was & I am a pretty chipper, positive guy, but given this uninvited guest in the concoction of usual teenage woes, I reached peak overwhelmed and went through a turbulent academic year. I teetered on the edge of expulsion and back several times before powering through to graduation. So what about her? What was she thinking of in the face of death?
She was thinking about me. In 2007, she said something to my resident advisor that came to light a couple of weeks ago. To the effect of:
“I don’t care about his grades or how successful he becomes, I care about his mental health.”
This was one of those unsaid truths that I have known forever, that my mother lives for others, but it was moving to hear it articulated. I almost cried like baby on the call when you told me, Brian, but I’m not an amateur. (I waited till later.)
If had to point to one of the many drivers of my adult aspirations 👉 my mom has lived the life of a saint and I have to validate her sacrifices. The majority of her existence has been in the trenches of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and I have to build her a ladder to climb to the top. I’m privileged in that I’ve never had to question my external motivation or magnitude of goals. I don’t give a fuck about a carrot on a stick, there is a fire in my belly and a hungry bear behind me.
Not tryna be fourth and inches, I’m tryna go the distance
― Drake – Lose You
Hardship, hand in hand with innate drive has had a rubber band effect on adult Aynul. I spent many years wandering in a fog stretching it back and aiming… and I’m only beginning to see the effects of picking the right direction. As the opportunity ripples accelerate into waves, I plan to continue investing in my north star: to create everlasting peace of my mind, security and happiness for my family and those closest to me.
If you are to new to me, as you get to know me you’ll learn that I goof around a lot and love to party, but I take my work very seriously because I’ve learned to channel my purpose. I remember to turn my pain into productivity every single day that I wake up. If you’re on the other end of this spectrum, without purpose, continue seeking it. It took me until age 24 to find exactly what I wanted to do, but I’m making up for lost time in spades. Try everything, exhaust your options and if you need any assistance, let me know. Don’t try to go it alone.
I can tell you endless tales of how I’ve turned strife in to self-discovery and competitive advantage. Intense periods of my life have helped me get to know myself. For instance, I can’t focus in the long-term on a project without being emotionally charged about the subjects, so I’m better at disqualifying basic and blah these days.
Speaking of people I love, I cannot thank those that were there for me at NCSSM enough or in one speech. I haven’t forgotten a single detail and I intend to return the favor quite soon. You guys recognized that humans are multidimensional. You saw through my exterior and pierced through my defenses when I needed you to. Thank you.
If you take away anything from this, I encourage you to never assume you know where someone is coming from or where they are going or why. If you take things from an angle of extreme empathy and zero assumption, you’ll have only incredible stories to hear.
Aynul Habib ‘07