I close my eyes once more, and I find myself falling into the darkness. I keep my eyes shut for as long as I can because I worry about what awaits me this time. I can feel the cold caressing my bare skin, as my heart beats like a wildfire inside my chest. I want to yell, but my lips are sewn shut. I want to cry, but my eyes won’t let me. My lungs are running out of air. I’m suffocating. I hear nothing but the screams in my head.
I can breathe normally again, and the screams fade into the background. I slowly open my eyes. I see a white light above me. It’s happening again. I attempt to move my body, but it’s frozen in fear. This time, the tears come out. I plead with it to not let me go through this again. I shout at it to let me go.
Instead, it laughed and slowly went away, taking my only source of light with it.
A screen flashes to my right. It’s a movie. More like, a documentary.
There’s a girl.
She could not be older than 7. She’s looking outdoors at the other kids playing, while she’s inside her room working on her multiplication table. She asks her mom if she can play, but the mom denies her of such luxury as she was not able to get straight A’s in her last report card, like her friend did.
Fast forward several years, and the girl is in her room again. This time, she’s studying for her Senior AP English Exam as it would help her get into an elite college where she would major as a business woman, or doctor, or teacher. She’d have a successful and steady future, and she would make her parents so proud of her.
Somehow all of this did not make the girl happy. She didn’t want steady. She didn’t want routine.
She wanted adventure and excitement.
As she found herself venturing on to a completely new path, she began wondering if this path was for her.
She started craving for that voice that she can call hers because she’s been drowning in a sea of voices that she didn’t connect with.
She started wanting out. She wanted to go back to where she was comfortable. She has been thrown and shoved in multiple directions by various, and sometimes destructive, forces that it felt too much for her. She didn’t know where to go or what to do. It seemed like as she takes a step forward, she takes 10 steps back.
She was lost.
The screen disappears and it’s dark once more.
But what felt numb before is now a surge of energy, motivation, and determination.
I feel for the girl.
I feel her pain, her sorrows, her confusion.
And I can also feel the passion burning inside her, ticking like an atomic bomb that’s waiting to explode.
It has been holding her back this whole time. It made her fearful about what others think. It made her view life as a competition, and if she’s not already good at something, she’ll never be good at it.
It didn’t make her understand that a flower does not blossom overnight. It didn’t tell her that J.K. Rowling had the first Harry Potter book rejected 12 times before it became a phenomenal hit.
I see the light slowly coming back in.
It’s coming back, and this time, I’m ready to face it.
As its face start to appear, I look at it with determination.
I am no longer afraid of it.
Or should I say, her.
As I look into the eyes of the girl I left behind, I started to wonder how and why I had ever let her control me.
She doesn’t seem to be angry or jealous.
I soften my gaze and relax my posture to let her know that I understand because I’m scared too.
All this time, we were the puppets, and fear was the puppet master.
But, what’s life if there’s no fear that we need to overcome?
What’s life if we constantly live in our own shadows, afraid that we’ll end up failing in the long run?
That is not life.
And that certainly will not be my life.
I feel the weight on my wrists and ankles loosening, and as one wrist breaks free, I tear off the rest of the strings that were holding me like a puppet.
I look towards her one last time, and assure her that everything is going to be okay.
From now on, I create my own future as I am no longer being controlled by the puppet master.
I wrote 'Puppet Master' during a time when I was slowly coming to terms with why my life had been a rollercoaster of emotions.
For a long time, I allowed these emotions to hide who I truly am, who I’m truly meant to become.
I was in a dark place.
I was afraid of the unknown.
And when design came into my life, I started to wonder why I was allowing myself to be this way, to feel this way. I no longer wanted to be controlled by my emotions and thoughts.
I wanted to change.
So, I did.
And now, I’m in my final semesters of design school, and moving forward stronger than ever. I’m creating projects I never thought I’d ever design, and gaining more confidence in myself and abilities.
I’m now in control of the reality I want to have.