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12 Oct 2016
For those who haven’t had the pleasure, my name is Sarine and I am the Performing Arts Prefect at Wenona. I represent that small, isolated population of the school, known as ‘the drama kids’. I debuted on the stage in 2011, playing an emotionally controversial character of a fork in Beauty and the Beast, with my follow up performance in 2014 in our production of High School Musical as the pivotal role of the letter C in Drama Club.
Because of my love for performance, people typically think of me as being outgoing and self-confident. But I cannot even begin to tell you how painfully awkward I am to be around and how withdrawn I am when it comes to socially uncomfortable situations... which I seem to put myself in a lot! So with that in mind, I’m about to tell you a special story.
Picture this: 14-year-old Sarine gets invited to this co-ed leadership day. Things were great. We could wear mufti, they provided food for lunch, there was even an opportunity to showcase our talents at the end of the day! Of course, being a person who enjoys embarrassing herself in front of large sums of people, I decided it would be fantastic to sign up as a solo act for… dare I say it … stand-up comedy! Once on stage, I proceeded to talk aimlessly until the group leader clapped me off. But I had decided I enjoyed seeing myself suffer and said “I’m not finished, I have more to say”. I didn’t.
Think about all those times you wallow in your own self-pity for the choices you have made. Think about how those moments (much like my own) can shape your approach to situations that can be painful and daunting. Once you process your thoughts, and gain more of an understanding of everything around you, you can change your own game – and ultimately change the game of those around you. It’s hard to lead others, when you can barely lead yourself.
That experience helped me realise that as much as I had grown comfortable within our Wenona community, out in the world, people didn’t necessarily know who I was or understand my humour or personality. It made me reconsider my role in the society outside of the one I knew, and scared me because the quirky person I am was always accepted. But it also helped me see I need to grow into the person I know I want to be. Though that fateful day scarred me, I figured out I needed to change my own game.
My story and my family’s stories all create an opportunity for me to react in a way that can demonstrate my true sense of self. And as my year group enters Year 12, I reflect on moments that have influenced me, and prompted me to change the game, not only for myself, but those around me. A lot of these stories come from my family and heritage.
After the relocation of many Armenians after 1918, my great great grandparents on my father’s side fled to Aleppo, Syria, where they lived peacefully for another 70 years. My father came to Australia as a child and has never returned to where he was born. I am left wondering what his home looked like, wondering about the streets he lived on and the people he loved.
After four years of war in Syria, Aleppo lies in ruins. I will never be able to appease my curiosity about how my father grew up and how he was able to create memories to forge his own path. My cousin emigrated to Australia two years ago from Syria, escaping scenes that I personally can’t even imagine. Today she studies Law at Macquarie University. She took the situation she was in, the memories that she had and changed her game. She developed herself, kept control of the score, and ultimately won.
Everyone is different. Every individual creates their own purpose. Thinking about these stories helps me realise I am not alone in the struggle for self-discovery and self-actualisation. Your experiences help you understand the life you are meant to live.
And before you can be a game changer for something bigger than yourself, you need to take off the shackles that confine you, and at least partially understand what it means for the game to be changed. I am an introverted drama kid. My personal experiences have helped me understand who I want to be – but I’m not quite there. This isn’t my whole story, because I haven’t quite found it yet.