I was born sickly and weak. I could barely run and asthma was a constant invader of my peace. So, when I saw my friends play football and took a keen interest in it, everyone discouraged me. My friends laughed at me, my family ignored me and I thought I lost all hope. At that time, all I could do was watch. I watched my friends play without me, I watched as football players did things I never could, and I watched as my dreams were slipping away out of my reach. It was as if there was an invisible wall I couldn’t get past.

I couldn’t keep up with how fast they were slipping away. My head was full with imagination and my legs were itching to kick the ball, but my lungs prevented me from doing anything; and for a moment I felt like I should give up.

But I’ve had enough of rejection. My family had, in a way, rejected me. My friends, too, have pushed me away; and I wasn’t going to allow my dreams to get away too. Because if I did, I’d be left with absolutely nothing to hang on to.

So, I did what nobody expected, I persevered. I jogged even when my lungs were burning and legs were cramping. I threw away my asthma medications because I didn’t want to be dependent on it. I’ve had enough of being sick and weak; my friends called me names, but I wasn’t going to let these things define me. When others train for an hour or two, I trained harder and twice as long. Pain became a friend and fatigue was a constant plague. When I was in no condition to be anything, and when my surrounding kicked me further down, I pushed myself through it and endured.

Before I knew it, asthma lost its grasp on me and no one called me names ever since. I captained my school team and even made it to the top-30-list of best players in my state at fifteen, the youngest at that time. I was one of the best midfielders my school has ever seen, I led my team to a second-place win in South East Asia, and broke through the semi-professional team at the age of 17. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m closer than I was 10 years ago, and there’s more fighting to be done.

I started off with a defect, rendered defeat by this invisible wall that stood between me and my dreams. But I broke through that and came out on top. I’ve found passion and love through pain and hard work. The true evidence of passion is perseverance. You might fall, countless of times, but it doesn’t matter as long as you get up again every time.

People might look down on you, they might push you down and you might feel discouraged or hopeless, but the only one who’s able to define you is yourself. You could either let yourself give up, or you could talk yourself into succeeding.

You’re all you need. You’re all it takes, really.