I am the devil. I am from hell. Here is the story of my life.
Since I was born into this world, I was taught to compete and win. My father wanted me to follow the mainstream and acquire the safest successful life. Fortunately, I know how to compete, and I know how to win. People called me smart and genius because of my performance in competitions. When they gave me such compliments, I felt like the world accepted me. However, I also became afraid that if I stopped being smart and genius and didn't have all the achievements I got, I would not be accepted. I became afraid to be vulnerable and share the deepest thoughts of my personal life with others. There were always some great people who loved me and cared about me, but even to them, I wasn't brave enough to open myself fully. I was afraid that when they found out my devil identity, they would leave me.
Therefore, whenever I was in pain and upset, instead of asking for help, I'd find a place with nature and immerse myself in its smells and sounds, talking to animals and plants as if they were listening to me. I dealt with my struggles on my own most of the time, which gradually made me learn how to communicate with my emotions and make peace with them. It also made me very independent. I never really allowed me to rely on people because they are the opposite of eternity. People change. People separate. People die. That's what I saw all the time. That's how this chaotic world works, and nothing can stop that. My fear of being vulnerable and open to people continued growing.
As an independent person, I can read for hours and not get bored even if there are no people around me, which allows me to gain knowledge very fast. Because of this, I became egocentric, feeling invincible. I thought I was strong because I didn't need to rely on anyone, and I could do whatever I want to do without being bound by other people's feelings.
I was wrong. I was naive, immature, ignorant, and I wasn't self-aware enough to realize that.
During the past few years, I was continuously tortured by one major event after another, which made me spend a lot of time reflecting on who I was and how I wanted to move forward with my life. I realized that I am not special, that every human has a unique story, and no one's life is easy to live. I realized how many mistakes I had made in my life and how much I regretted them. I realized how many wonderful people I had had in my life, and that I had lost my opportunities to express my gratitude to many of them. I promised myself that I would not make these mistakes again.
I started a war against my devil identity, which had been ingrained in me all my life. I wanted to be more respectful and grateful for every single person in my life. I wanted to be able to express my gratitude and open myself to people I love.
I've made a lot of progress in this war. There were still times when I found myself the same devil, but there were also times when I felt like I had made a difference. I have a lot of selfish thoughts, but I convinced me that if I try very hard, I can be a good person. I know that I am my worst enemy, and only by beating myself can I evolve from a devil into a human.
Then I came to Minerva, and I tried as hard as I could to understand the people around me. And I continue to try. I don't give advice or show what I know unless people want me to, and I don't judge people even when I disagree with their opinions and behaviors. I initiated a lot of one-on-one conversations with my classmates, in which we usually walked to the Ferry Building or Alamo Square Playground and talked for hours. I found this kind of conversation meaningful to me. It always taught me a lot. Gradually, I noticed that these people had become my closest friends, and I not only listened to their stories but also started sharing mine.
I shared the painful experience of my past. I shared my struggle and frustration. I shared my deepest hidden thoughts about life. I shared my relationship with my father. These were all topics that I never shared with anyone in the past, but I gradually overcame my fear of being vulnerable and shared them with these friends. They walked into my world, accepted my flaws, motivated me to become a better person, and taught me that it's ok to be vulnerable to them.
However, the war with my devil identity hasn't ended yet. He is still there. When the COVID19 pandemic outbreak hit the world, many of my close friends in Minerva suddenly had to leave San Francisco and go back to their countries. A wave of sadness came out from the bottom of my heart during those weeks of saying goodbye to them. "Look at how weak you are right now," he said, "You are relying too much of yourself on people." He's right, and I can't deny that. People will still change. People will still separate. People will still die. The world is still that same old chaotic world I've known. "So tell me Alan, what should you do? WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?"
I should escape. I've already escaped my family, college, company, church, military, boxing gym, and country. I should escape Minerva before I got too deep, just like I always did. I shouldn't let the feelings of others bound my actions.
"Alan, are you crying?" Hovik asked me. I was in his room. He is my best friend. I can't escape him. I CAN'T.
"I've become weak," I said. I didn't know if I was talking to him, or to myself. Maybe both. Tears trickled from the corners of my eyes.
Everyone has their desire. Some desire to win. Some desire to be loved. For me, I desire to find peace. I want to find peace between being strong and being vulnerable, find peace between my selfishness and my principles, find peace between searching for eternity and appreciating the finiteness.
I've spent my whole life learning all kinds of knowledge, and I still can't find such peace. I've used all knowledge I have to build an entire arsenal to help me battle with this chaotic world, but the toughest opponent is always myself. I know how to win, but victories didn't bring me peace. I have wonderful people in my life who love me, but love didn't bring me peace. I am extremely confused. If victories and love can't bring me peace, where can I find it?
When I first started writing in 2013, I gave my blog the name "Sheracaolity," which is the combination of "Chaos" and "Reality." It's my attempt to build my peaceful reality out of this chaotic world. Seven years have passed, maybe it's time to admit that there's no need for doing so. Maybe it's time to accept the chaotic world as it is, to accept me as I am. I can't be strong if I'm afraid of being vulnerable. I can't establish principles if I'm not selfish. I can't appreciate the finiteness if I don't desire eternity. The war with myself will never end, just like a coin can not have only one side without the other.
The journey of finding peace has been the story of my life, and I think now it's time to stop. There's no need to find peace. I am selfish. I am greedy. I am the devil who came from the depths of hell, pretending to be a human, trying to be good, and longing for the peace I shall not have. See what this chaotic world has done to me? It brought these beautiful people into my life. It treated me way better than I deserved and gave me the illusion that I could be a good man.
People will change. People will separate. People will die. The world is still that same chaotic world. One day, the illusion will disappear, and I will turn back into the devil and go back to hell. Before that day comes, the war will continue until my last breath.