Tuesday, 14 January 2014

If you are in a shell...

In English class today we were shown this video of Harry Shum Jr. This video of him performing a dance with paints and coloured powder made me think a lot, about "shells".


What is a shell? A shell to me is an escape route, a hideout from reality. A little corner that I can have to myself, keep to myself - a place where nobody can hurt me. Shells are fragile, yet strong. It might seem like nothing can hurt you while you're locked inside.

Shells are strong enough to last you for a little while, but not forever. Eventually one sentence, one particularly well-timed insult, one word, can bring it all down - and your world collapses onto you. Everything you've built in your shell breaks. Crumbles. Shatters.

Shells are like cages, and also like clingy friends. They're useful for keeping others out, but also good at keeping you in. Time and time again you can try and get out of your shell - take a risk, try something new, make more friends - but you can't. You've built your reputation on that shell and now you can't get away from it. It's keeping you in, and telling you to stay in there. You're nothing without your shell.

Spending a long time in your shell can make you passive and emotionless. In your shell, you don't need emotions. You don't need to feel sad when people make fun of you. You don't need to feel happy when you achieve something , because somebody's going to come and push you down. You don't need to feel excitement, because why bother?

In the video, the narrator says that it can take a lot of hard work to break out of your shell. Instead of working hard on reinforcing your shell, you'll need to pour your heart and soul into something new. Something that puts you out there, something that cracks your shell open. Something that makes you feel whole again. Something that can make you cry when you fail, something that can make you smile when you get back up and brush off the dust.

No matter how cool, secure or confident we seem we all have shells. We all have that one little place to retreat into when the going gets tough. Shells may be safe for the time being but they're dangerous in the long run. Long periods of isolation can leave scars. Though the scar gets smaller in proportion as you grow, it's still going to be there. The scar will be a part of you, but that's okay. Only when you have a scar, can you remember clearly how you got up and kept on going.

This video made me realise that even though you may feel like you are in your darkest hour, there's always light at the end of the tunnel. Everything gets better - you were given this life because you were strong enough to live it. There's refuge in knowing that you're not alone. Everyone has a shell, everyone has their own problems.

Nobody's perfect, but you don't have to be perfect to be happy.

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