Human: Part III

If you separate yourself from your accomplishments, titles, and possessions, then who are you really? At work, I am Ms. Naima, the math instructor. At school, I am an unfamiliar passerby on the campus of George Mason University. And on Instagram, I am Naima, the yogi, contemporary artist, and blogger. But if we tap into our subconscious mind and explore our inner selves– strengths, vulnerabilities, aspirations, fear– then we discover the aspects that truly define us. Apart from being an employee, a classmate, a community member, or otherwise, who are you? We make myriad assumptions about other people every day, an automatic process conducted by the subconscious mind.

As I stood in front of a college class for a presentation today, I couldn’t help but wonder about the gaps that my audience may have filled in their minds regarding who I am. I shouldn’t be concerned with directly influencing others’ perception of me; doing so is just as ineffective as beating a dead horse. But observing the nature of perception (of humans and the world around us) is intriguing because our thoughts are presumably flexible, and thus, subject to external influence. It is often that I spend the nights in quiet introspection, as I lay my thoughts on the floor of my mind and pretend to be an outsider. These thoughts are organized based on category: art, religion, culture, politics, academia, and more.

I challenge myself to consider the counter-view of my beliefs so that I may gain an awareness of diverse perspectives. Some may call this practice “walking in other people’s shoes.” My history professor and I call it “mental flexibility.” During this process, I observe the contours of my face and employ the imaginative part of my mind. I imagine myself as a single individual among billions of humans. These people do not have unique countenances– no unique race, religion, background, or character. We are truly a unified human race in this scenario (which only exists in the boundaries of my skull). We do not compare each other on the basis of financial status or ridicule unique gender identities (many of which were recently introduced by the millennial generation). We are mind, body, and spirit . We are one collective whole on this planet. We are not a dollar amount, a simulation of photoshopped magazine covers, or titles upon titles of resume-perfect accomplishments.

We are thoughts expressing themselves through character and action.

We are vulnerability– embraced by the self or not.

We are human.


The Persistent Academic

May 2016

I struggled to engage the mind, as a substantial workload presented itself. Lengthy rubrics and deadlines fueled a forest fire of doubt, and anxiety woke from its restless slumber. The word “can’t” flooded my mind, duplicating itself like countless pages being ejected from a printer… falling onto the expanse of a room void of confidence. I attempted to hush the subconscious mind, which was active in protest. The conscious mind was a fool to believe that its peaceful demonstration could repress such intimidation.

February 2017

I graduated from high school and have successfully completed my first semester of college. I am taking a course similar to the one of which I spoke several months ago. But there is one significant difference between the former and the latter course. I no longer encounter the mental roadblocks that once hindered my academic performance. Anxiety is a feeble enemy, particularly to the persistent academic.

Allow me to digress. I would like to mention that I earned an ‘F’ on my final exam in the class I discussed in May (and yes, I do mean, “earned”). But when I received my report card in the summer, I was not disappointed… because my ‘F’ was more than a letter grade. It was the purest symbol of trying and failing, and trying and failing, and trying again. It was a representation of my long-term fight against anxiety, and the many lessons I learned. I learned that my mental well-being is a greater priority than grades. I learned never to ignore my intuition, even if I can’t muster the words to explain the problem. I would rather receive an unsatisfactory letter grade and have grown intellectually than to earn an ‘A’ but not have achieved personal growth. Quite frankly, the aim of acquiring information is not to achieve an ideal result but to learn from the process.

On another note, it would bother me for others to perceive my academic success as a paved route. I am so thankful to have earned a spot on my school’s Dean’s list. But it is vital to note that high-achieving students often possess effective problem-solving abilities because they have had substantial experience tackling personal and academic challenges.

Why Eliminating Creativity in Public Schools is Dangerous

Staring at the clock, I acknowledged that I was required to be in the classroom for the full 90-minute period. Work in silence. Don’t take breaks; you’ll lose precious minutes. My body was firmly planted like a tree trunk in my own seat. “Don’t get up without raising your hand.” “Make sure to sign your planner before leaving class.” These regulations stole opportunities for me to develop independence. Mandating that a teenager carry a hallway pass when traveling from the classroom to a bathroom implies that the student cannot be trusted to conduct themselves appropriately and responsibly. Although these regulations enable teachers to hold students accountable for their actions, they deprive us of feeling that we are responsible for our own minds and bodies.  These rules do not serve to better prepare students to exemplify independence and self-accountability in their college years and beyond.

As a current freshman at George Mason University, I am fully responsible for my schedule, the quality of my education, and most important, my overall success and well-being. However, I often remind myself that no individual nor institution requires me to be in a school or workplace. It is difficult to feel truly independent after several years of biannual lessons on school rules and reminders to follow trivial regulations.

How do we develop independence within younger students without overwhelming them with responsibilities? Assigning self-conducted projects that require creative-thinking could catalyze the development of student independence. During my junior year of high school, my Creative Writing teacher gave his students full control over their progress as writers. In his class, I was encouraged to create my blog. This site began as a way for me to share running tips but evolved into a medium of creative story-telling. During the beginning of the school year, I chose to stay in my comfort zone by writing short narratives. However, over the course of several months, I had written poems, plays, persuasive articles, and more. Creativity was a clearing in which ideas and opportunities were limitless, as there was no “right” or “wrong” way to think.

Creativity should become a key component of school curriculums, as it helps students develop responsibility for their own learning and encourages them to venture beyond their academic comfort level. Creative-thinking is crucial in implementing effective problem-solving skills in and out of the classroom. Eliminating creativity in school leaves students to believe that there is only one correct way to complete a task or assignment. But through the years that I battled an anxiety disorder, I had to brainstorm multiple solutions to escape a classroom in which my health and safety was put at risk. Despite an awareness of my growing discomfort and declining health, I remained seated in that unsafe classroom. My mind flooded with thoughts of rules and regulations. I have to stay here until the bell rings. I have to complete my assignment so I don’t get a poor grade. But if we change the narrative from “have to” to “having the freedom to,” we can build students who know how to solve various conflicts that aren’t mentioned in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

We have taught students how to walk in straight lines and speak quietly in hallways. But do we discuss more critical issues, such as using creative-thinking skills to maintain our health and safety? Can we encourage them to “think outside the box” in situations when strict rules and regulations do not address exceptional conflicts? Can we eliminate “right” and “wrong” to encourage a trial-and-error approach to solving personal challenges?

As I am now halfway through my first college semester, I am deeply thankful for my success thus far. But when I mention “success,” what comes to mind? Is it my grades, or my grade point average? Although I am content with my academic marks, my success is accredited to mediums of creative expression. Through the art of writing, dance, and yoga, I have overcome mental health issues and personal challenges. Without creativity, I would have no choice but to walk the fine line of red tape, unaware that self-discovery and growth awaits beyond its boundaries.

Overwhelming Gratitude

Exhausted from my early Communications class, I recline on my bed. I roll onto my stomach, enjoying the feeling of clean sheets against my skin. Two hours slowly pass, and I open my eyes at 6:00p.m. My mind craves stimulation. I pull on my athletic tights and Under Armour shirt and drive to the gym. As I poise myself on the elliptical, I encourage a peaceful self-awareness. Chin up, chest open, arms swinging back and forth. I breathe deeply, guiding my mind toward positive thinking. I walk my thoughts into the golden gate of past and present occurrences. Cross-country races. I can hear the voice of a female spectator cheering, “Come on, Hayfield!” Thoughts of being content at George Mason University. The encouragement of fellow Patriots echoes in my mind, as they told me, “You’re doing great for your first week!” And of course, those little moments when tears of joy collected along my eyelid. Every time I try to explain why I am so overjoyed to be at Mason, I struggle to find words. But I can summarize it into the following quote: “Verily, after every hardship, there is ease.” (Qur’an 94:5).

Every students’ high school career has its fair share of highs and lows, but I underwent some particularly difficult circumstances that sometimes hindered my ability to learn. I am thankful to have developed problem-solving skills and to apply critical thinking to everyday conflicts. Being at Mason is the sunshine that breaks through gray skies after the storm is over. The storm is over. And I knew it was when I found I could finally feel comfortable in a classroom again and to express myself freely. The storm is over. And I knew it was as I noted that I am encouraged and supported by the Patriot community. So I wake up early on Monday mornings and go on runs around campus. I let oxygen fill my lungs as I stride up and down the beautiful hills of Fairfax city. This run, this honest self-expression is not only a celebration of my time at Mason. It is a celebration of life, a statement of gratitude for becoming stronger despite adversity. Today, I hold my head higher than before, as I observe the gradual changes in heartrate as I work out. The repetitive motion of swinging my arms back and forth calms me, and I increase the resistance of the machine. I let lyrics flow into my mind, filling my head with positive thoughts. The musician sings, “You can still be what you want to. You’ve got a warm heart. You’ve got a beautiful brain.” The sun illuminated the healthy green trees, as I sat at a table in front of the Johnson Center yesterday. Poised and confident, I observed passersby who rushed to their destinations. A woman walked past me, briefly making eye contact and sharing a warm smile. After she faded into the distance, my eyes welled up with tears of joy because once again, I was reminded that I am part of a healthy community. I am free. Free to express myself, seek support if needed, and to become successful without any destructive obstacles in the way.

Increasing the incline of the elliptical, I continue to listen to my body. The voice of a soulful singer flows into my mind. “You’ve got a warm heart. You’ve got a beautiful brain.” At the end of my day, I share this blogpost and wipe away tears of joy as I write. I am so thankful to be a Patriot, for my ability to thrive on the beautiful campus, for the chance to become the best version of myself. The tears fall unapologetically. The music still echoes in my head. And the visualization of sunlight breaking through trees in front of the Johnson Center comes to mind once more. I can sit on a bench outside the Performing Arts Building, or in a lecture room in Innovation Hall, or in a classroom in East Building. No matter where I am, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Dismounting the elliptical, my beating heart eventually fades to a resting calm.

Stronger than Mental Illness


The heart speaks louder than the shaking voices of victims who didn’t know how to handle mental illness.

But even as your heart hammers against your chest,

Don’t be afraid to speak.

Surround yourself with supportive people.

Paint the town in wise words you’ve learned from your situation.

Sing the song of your triumph after the storm has passed.

Let the liberation of self-expression run through the flesh,

The very blood stream that connects to a healthy heart.

A beat that was once an unsettled qualm,

Is now a beautiful, steady rhythm

That feeds an honest self-awareness.

I repeat

Your health is a priority.


Your health is a priority

Even before grades and schoolwork,

Nagging tasks and unfinished papers.

You are free to prioritize yourself,

Polish the best version of your personality.

You are not your disorder,

You are a living triumph,

A beautiful song that continues to play

Even after the drumbeat of your heart has grown weary.

You will wake up to another day

When you will expand your lungs to fill them with oxygen.

Tell me,

How amazing is this freedom?

The space

Between this inhale

And the next exhale

Is the greatest liberation I know.

The mind

And the heart

Are no longer weighed down by shackles.

Rather, they have grown stronger from having carried them for so long.

So parade in this wonderful freedom.

Beautiful green and blue veins ignite euphoria,

A liveliness once unknown.

Red blood traveling through the temples,

And eventually to the mind.

Tears of joy collect along your eyelid,

Tipping over the edge slowly.

You are free.

A living triumph,

A walking warrior,

Liberation personified.




The Drive to Personal Freedom

I started this blog in 2014 to share my experiences related to running. Thoughts of the sport occupied my mind most of the time; I always had ideas for original content. Running liberated my heart, mind, and body in ways that no other sport could. But as my blog unravels, I realize that I can achieve personal freedom through activities besides cross-country and track.


My blogposts are like a stereo. I hit the pause button on cross-country and hit ‘play’ on the music that echoed off the walls of my yoga studio. I awoke a wave of liberation as I struck countless asanas. The peace and contentment of meditation cannot be found on any cross-country course. So I stretched my calves in downward dog, pointed my toes as I sat in a split, and encouraged myself to breathe deeply. I wasn’t able to achieve this improvement in wellbeing by running. But I was blessed that my mental health climbed to new heights.

My yoga track now intertwines with the sound of poolside waves, as I learned how to swim today. I floated above water and performed graceful breaststrokes, wishing my oxygen capacity were unlimited so I could stay underwater. The smell of chlorine still lingers on my skin, the image of cool blue water is the wallpaper of my mind. As I swam, I turned my freedom’s volume to ‘max.’ Although I’ve stopped writing about running, I combined every one of my freedoms today as I floated in four feet of cool water.  My body absorbs the impact of strides on merciless pavement. My lungs breathe into mindful asanas. And my legs kick through powerful breaststrokes. I was a swimmer, runner, and yogi all at once. I swam through clear blue water, ran from waterslide to pool, and struck a dancer’s pose underwater. As I write these stories, I gently play the notes on this keyboard. My blogposts record my every song of freedom.


Movement frees the body and heart, but what’s missing? The mind. I may have stumbled upon liberation as I cartwheeled throughout the yoga studio. But in order to free the mind, I open the gates of my thoughts. I carefully type drafts onto a Word Document, often covering the pages in controversial thoughts. It’s easy to write a personal narrative, but arguing takes serious work. The current Presidential race fuels fire between our two candidates, as the United States of America become a little less… united. Minorities are under attack on a daily basis, as the LBTQ  community fights for their right to love and to feel safe in our (supposedly post-modern) society. The Black Lives Matter Movement strives to eradicate the harsh shortcomings of systematic racism. And the list goes on.

Writing Header

We associate the American flag with “freedom”, but the actions we take to achieve personal liberation can lead us to live meaningfully. Write, whether your ideas are popular or not. Exercise, whether you are “fit” or not. Dance, tumble, run, swim, or do anything that frees you.  I’m thankful to say that, today, as I finished my last breaststroke before leaving the waterpark, I truly lived up to my meaning of “freedom.”


Keep beating

Inside my chest.

A steady rhythm when I’m running,

A gentle beat when I’m meditating.

Stay healthy

As you pump blood to green and blue veins.

That remind me

I am awake,



Whatever you do,

Protect yourself

From fear.

Just be the same soft, gentle beat

I feel during meditation.

Let this serenity forever be with me.

Can I perpetuate this calm,

This honest self-awareness?



During the months that I was learning how to drive, I craved the opportunity to sit in the front seat and steer myself in any direction I chose. The yellow paper that reads ‘180-day Temporary License’ is a reminiscence of my drive toward personal freedom. But the first time I nervously shrunk into the driver seat, I accepted that making mistakes was an inherent part of learning. As I performed myriad reckless turns, I wondered if the steering wheel was secretly working against me. I let myself err before I could correct.  Overcoming a personal health issue I have faced required a similar approach.

I spent months pondering what the root-cause of the issue could be, as I often returned home with a flat tire. Without an understanding of the problem, there was no chance of reaching a solution. So I ran a trial-and-error experiment, using my mind as both a battleground and laboratory. My resources ran short, lacking in fuel and knowledge of how to successfully steer myself through the process of self-understanding. I panicked when my tires hit a pothole. I fought to ignore the issue, the occasional disruptions in physical and personal comfort I experienced as I sat in the driver’s seat. It was a pain that demanded to be felt, an uncertainty I often met as I doubted my ability to perform careful turns. I wished I could let other drivers know that I was inexperienced—that my errors could cause damage to other vehicles. But I continued to drive, confidently tapping the accelerator as I perfected turns and lane-changes. Today, I pride myself on being a safe and responsible driver, but I’ve travelled through countless unpaved roads to reach this destination.

The drivers that whiz by me before I embark on daily outings share a commonality. Our driver’s licenses are representative of the learning process—its smooth roads and unpaved paths, its epiphanies and its downfalls. We must allow ourselves to mess up, make uncontrolled turns and hasty accelerations. We must stop hitting the brakes and begin to accelerate toward a better version of ourselves. We need to take hold of the steering wheel and leave doubt behind.

A few days ago, I told my mother, “I don’t know how to park. My driving instructor never taught me how.” But ruthless potholes, impatient drivers who honk at their own leisure, and speed limits that exceed my level of comfort have opened my mind. Learning is most effective when we actively apply ourselves to a given situation. When I told my mother, “I don’t know how,” I meant, “I just need time to figure it out.” Let me mess up, and then try again. And again. Until the clean parallel lines nicely run along the tires of my car.

Dear Reader, through the journeys I’ve travelled—in a classroom desk, behind the wheel, and in front of a keyboard where I write my stories—I have made leaps toward personal growth. You, too, can steer yourself in any direction that delivers freedom and happiness into your heart. You are no longer the passenger. You sit confidently in the driver’s seat, as your mind floods with an eagerness to learn and expand. Get up and seek any opportunity you wish to pursue. Don’t wait, don’t say, “what if.” There is no better time than now. Just let go of the brake.



Why Did I Speak out against the Wellness Week Photos?

Writer’s Note: This blogpost is an addendum to “Beyond the Surface Level“, the article I wrote in response to the Wellness Week photos. It is vital for me to give a thank-you to everyone who read the post, as your support helped me achieve an improved sense of wellbeing and confidence.- Naima

Why Did You Write about the Wellness Week Photos?

To every parent, student, teacher, and member of the Hayfield community. Thank you so much for your support. I need to express my overwhelming gratitude to those who supported me for publishing “Beyond the Surface Level.” I love coming in to school and receiving uplifting comments, such as, “Great blogpost,” and, “I love the way you advocate for your beliefs.” But I am not writing this post to emphasize the divided arguments that the Wellness Week photos resulted in. I wrote “Beyond the Surface Level” as a representation of the entire Hayfield community. In this post, I will explain why it was absolutely crucial for me to write about the photos. And the emphasis on this matter will place more weight on the gratitude I have for my supporters.

As a freshman, I struggled with social anxiety because I feared being criticized for the way I expressed myself through words, dress, and emotion. I am so thankful to have overcome this difficulty, as I often felt restricted by my fears. Despite this accomplishment, I have been struggling with anxiety lately, but I have been able to understand this emotion better than I did when I was 14-years-old. Currently, I am enrolled in two of Mr. Finneman’s classes, Advanced Information Systems and Web Page Development. And I have only just learned the trigger of my anxiety, hindrances on my freedom of expression.

After the Wellness Week photos were removed, Mr. Finneman argued against the administrative decision and expressed disagreement toward Alexis Beard’s article (which condemned the promotion of the photos). Whether you agree with the removal of the pictures or not, teachers should ensure that their students do not feel alienated because of controversial discussion. Because this issue sharpened a divide in the student body, I often felt afraid to defend my ideas. I wasn’t comfortable arguing against sexual objectification with those who will never have to fear being objectified themselves. This level of discomfort to simply express my thoughts led to unprecedented levels of anxiety, as I often spent more classes reminding myself to breathe than doing classwork. But in the school where Mr. Tremaine strived to make everyone feel safe and comfortable, we need to ensure that our actions don’t hinder others from expressing themselves. Teachers and other adults don’t discuss politics or religion in the classroom because it would only create divides in the school community. In the same way, the Wellness Week photos led to such a great level of controversy that those who argued against them were afraid of being ridiculed for their beliefs.

There is a stark irony in this issue. An approach that a staff member took to promote wellness only led to the decline of my mental health, so much so that I had to leave class several times to cry until I couldn’t anymore. Simply put, any hindrances on my freedom of expression led to an oppressive level of discomfort.

Ever since I published “Beyond the Surface Level”, my anxiety diminished because the doors to free expression were reopened. Countless members of our community reminded me that it is vital to have a voice, regardless of whether our opinions are popular or not. I want to let you know that I will be happy to befriend anyone who does not agree with my beliefs on any issue. And I will respect your point-of-view because I notice how detrimental it is to fear being the subject of backlash. Hayfield Secondary has taught us not to criticize each other if our beliefs don’t align. Rather, we honor diverse perspectives and reevaluate our own if needed. We are a melting pot of countless cultural identities, religious faiths, and intellectual thoughts. We must promote free speech, whether our ideas are popular or not.

Regardless of whether you agree with the posting of the Wellness Week photos, we can all say that we should never place unreasonable restraints on self-expression. We can all agree that no student should ever feel isolated. No student should ever have to spend a school day crying in a classroom because she does not feel comfortable to simply express herself. No student should ever have to end the week thankful that she does not have to return to school the next day.

I genuinely respect your beliefs because free expression is at the core of a healthy society. And we must do all that we can to ingrain this value as a part of our school community. By doing so, we will feel comfortable to discuss a plethora of subjects, controversial or not.

To every friend, teacher, and member of the Hayfield community. Because of your support, I felt comfortable returning to Room 1349. Because of your support, I found the strength to advocate for my beliefs. Because of your uplifting words, I learned what it took to alleviate the emotional pain that my anxiety often produced. I am a healthier young adult today because of all of your kinds words. “Hey, Naima, great blogpost.” “Thank you for voicing your opinion.” “You’re a brilliant writer.” “I was really impressed with your blog.” Every one of these compliments helped me realize how crucial it is that we never repress our ideas in a free society. And I wish that you will make a conscious effort to promote this American value. Thank you so much for reading, and I look forward to better personal health.


Naima Sikandar

Graduating Senior and GMU Class of 2020

Postscript: If you wish to contact me for further discussion or questions regarding this issue, you may DM me on Twitter or Instagram @Neemzandchomps.


Writer’s note: Several months ago, I wrote a blogpost titled “Storm”, which is an extended metaphor for anxiety. Last night, I wrote an extended metaphor for the peace and relief that has finally found me. This post is written in honor of the personal obstacles I’ve overcome throughout the 2015-2016 school year. I encourage you to draw parallels between these two posts, as they enforce the idea of personal growth and strength. Thank you for reading, and please click here to view “Storm”.- Naima


My body is pleasantly curled in a ball, muscles resting against the mattress beneath my small body. I am in a state of unconscious solace, a peaceful darkness that envelops my weary mind. My soft, gentle breaths allow peace to crawl in through my lungs and stay. A note to those soft inhalations: find your place within me. Look for me when anxiety manages to find me before you do. Let the muscles in my face relax enough so I can at least muster a small smile even on the roughest days. Surround me, bring my pulse to a healthy, resting rate. Let peace fill the void where uneasiness left a scar. Encourage me to remember you, for the body senses chaos when we forget to breathe.

I am as still as I can possibly be, a beautiful embodiment of letting go of trivial matters that beg to weigh on me. Today, my sleep has no awareness of time. I let the hours pass, as inhalations invite peace to run through my veins. I don’t have to worry about confrontation, vulnerability, or being in the confines of that one place where freedom of expression is repressed. But as my body curls into the arms of solace, I know that my soul has become wiser. This growth was not an easy process to catalyze, however. Can I regret the lessons I’ve learned that tore me to pieces before I could rebuild myself over, and over, and over again? Dear Life, I know you are so desperate to ingrain wisdom within my 17-year-old mind. I understand that I had to endure countless storms whose winds rattled my lungs until they couldn’t anymore. I know that I’ve earned the privilege to expect sunny days from this point forward. My heart can heal itself, rebuild my wellbeing a thousand times if it had to. And I will be stronger. And I will be stronger. And I will be stronger.

Forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made. Let me thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me, for I have often said, “We battle the demons of today so we don’t have to face them tomorrow.” I have earned a better tomorrow, an opportunity to let sunlight permeate even the darkest corners of my soul. I have grown. I have learned. And I do not regret that this self-transformation was painstaking. If my heart can deteriorate into a million broken fragments and then repair itself over time, I am grateful.

I have learned how to tame the storm, let my soul absorb the UV-rays that illuminate my skin. I have learned how to forgive myself and forgive others even if the word, “sorry,” was never uttered. I have learned never to be afraid to express myself through words or emotion. If you wish to laugh, let your happiness fill the walls of this room. If you need to cry, give in to your body’s natural desire to relieve stress. And don’t be ashamed to let the tears fall like raindrops on a tumultuous day. It may have thundered and poured, but the sun is coming out so soon. Strength will emerge; it will find a permanent place within you. Don’t ever be afraid to let your supporters weather through the good days and even the rough ones. No one is happy all the time. And that is just fine. We must express ourselves, our infinite range of emotions. And we must do so without self-restraint. Express freely. Confide in those you trust. Don’ be afraid of vulnerability.

You have successfully developed problem-solving skills even when thunder threatened to overpower the voice of reason. You are a beautiful balance between logic and emotion, confidence and humility, strength and grace. A coexistence of powerful traits that emerged after lighting broke through gray skies.

As your body rests against the soft blue blanket, just know that you don’t have to be afraid to wake up. Your breath will naturally find you, and forever, inhalations will invite peace to run through your veins. You don’t have to run anymore, you don’t have to hide or be ashamed to simply express yourself. Lay on your back with your arms outstretched and acknowledge that true liberation has found you once and for all.

Like Andreana said, “You have a character that emits a light brighter than any voice screaming at the night sky,” We will look toward the future, for the storm is now a thing of the past. But the power to emerge stronger after the darkest days will forever be with you. Strength has found you. And it is here to stay.