THE JOURNEY out of innocence usually leaves an invisible scar that makes one wince once in a while. But the scar can sometimes become a sad reminder, or symbol, of our faults, stupidity, imprudence, or recklessness, especially if we can’t escape its consequences.

Wherever life’s lessons may take (or misplace) us—I prefer to call it a detachment that doesn’t sever us from our past—it helps us shatter a “pattern,” or a rule, law, tradition, culture, or belief. And in our darkest hours, we sometimes realize that we were imprisoned in a matrix of sorts where the truth—whether good or bad—has been hidden from us all the while.

Truth may be relative, however, even subjective. And it is inevitable that all who have suffered enough should be able to break free of the “pattern” and realize their own truths about life.

For those who have seen or felt tremendous pain, misery, famine, death, rage, lust, and other equally unraveling emotions, the truth about life, for them, may be darker than how most people would see it.

In the wake of our suffering, some may go astray. Some would even invoke their experiences as an excuse to live a miserable life.

But the truth about life should not always be gloomy, or not enough to make us all weak. Somewhere in the dark are bright outlines of good things. Reality has an equal dosage of positive things. You win some, and lose some, they say.

And isn’t it precisely because of the existence of pain that man can better appreciate the feeling of comfort? Bliss as something better than sadness? Losing and achieving?

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Although there is no absolution, the belief in binary truths can sometimes provide us the calm after the storm. But for some, their misdealing with life leaves them too scarred to find peace—some may call them traumatized or downright insane.

Maybe all these are not easy to swallow. But when the time comes that comfort is beyond our grasp—this sounds cheesy—we should search ahead and let our painful past become just that: our past. From that past we should deliver our future.

Getting yourself dirty playing with charcoal doesn’t exactly mean you can’t clean yourself up.

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For Ghis: May the hardships you meet along your life’s journey, be the very thing that drives you to your goal.

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