Ruku Shares Her #WarriorWednesday Story

This week for #WarriorWednesday, we’re sharing a written piece from Ruku Pal, a second-year Miami University student. Check out her story below!

“My story is powerful.”
Four years ago, I first saw this phrase.
“My story is powerful.”
It didn’t feel right. It wasn’t that it was wrong per se, it just didn’t quite fit.
Firstly, I didn’t feel I had a story. I had a lot of thoughts, feelings and events, but no definitive start or end. What kind of story doesn’t have a beginning or an ending?
Secondly, even if it was a story, it wasn’t powerful. It didn’t feel powerful. It felt all-consuming, neverending, and dark. At some points, I didn’t care if my story ended- and in those moments I truly saw no way in which my experiences were anything other than horrifically painful.
“My story is powerful.”
Four years later, I see myself in the mirror, wearing a vibrant, purple sweatshirt with a clear message.
“My story is powerful.”
I think I’ve worn this sweatshirt all week, like a comfort blanket going with me wherever [in the house] I choose to travel. In these uncertain times, it feels good to feel comfortable, even when the world seems to be something out of a dystopian young adult novel.
“My story is powerful.”
I wear it with pride. I feel comfortable and empowered, knowing it is true. So what changed? A very short answer would be ‘a lot’. I had different friends, went to a different school, had different favorite books, and was, in many ways, a different person. But how was I different? The current lock-down has given me plenty of time to think and try to answer this question. I have become more independent, more empowered, and more supported. My circle of support from friends and family has grown immensely. I’ve also learned how to be a better friend, a better sister, and a better daughter as my own mental well-being has improved.
None of this is to say I am not struggling. I am. Everyday. But there is one key difference from four years ago—I see power in my story.
My experiences teach me how much I want to be there for others, to help them find power in their own story and become comfortable in embracing how it has shaped who they have become. Even the horrifically painful parts are important. They instill a fire to make sure no one feels alone, that each person is supported and knows their mental health matters. 1N5 does just this. Through their platform, students learn they are not alone, and that these struggles are shared on many levels.
Through 1N5, I learned that I could find power in my story, in starting a difficult and often uncomfortable conversation. It was the first place I felt understood and less alone, and it is an organization whose values I try to embody every day. 1N5 has had a profound effect on my life, guiding me to embrace my story and be stronger because of it, rather than try to hide it. 1N5 keeps me open to the conversation, and pushes me to start the conversation, over and over again. 1N5 has been so much more than just a platform, a host of an innovation challenge, or a sticker on my laptop- it has been a driving force to finding power in my story.
During these uncertain times, it is important to take a step back and recognize who we are, how we’ve grown, and how we continue to develop. 1N5 has been a key part of my development, whether in the forefront or the background of my life at the time.
“My story is powerful.”
My story is powerful. It may not have a definitive start or end, and it may be quite long, but it is still my story. It is just unfinished, and in need of a good edit. The power in my story lies in me- a person who is strong, courageous, and hopeful; a person who wants to keep writing their story. And with every anxiety attack, every difficult day, every setback in my progress, I find more comfort and more strength in knowing there is power in my story, there is power in me. Because my story is powerful. And it’s not over yet.