Que Sera, Sera

Ashley Simmons
March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016 12:55pm


"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference."

- The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr 


The Serenity Prayer, that I quoted above, is a prayer much about the abnegation of control.

It's the other tattoo I want, and the same tattoo my little brother has on his left arm (Happy Birthday, Jaaffff).  The reason we both want this tattoo is entirely my mother's fault -- though she abhors tattoos -- because she planted the prayer all around us throughout our childhood. (Which reminds me that my little brother is almost a young adult. Whew time flies.) 

My mother put this prayer on the refrigerator, in the hallways in our house, hung it up in our bedrooms, put it in her car on the dashboard...basically it was everywhere.  Por eso, the message really resonates deeply within me. 

The Serenity Prayer and its ideology completely contradicts my other ideology of "Invictus" and being, "the master of my fate" and "the captain of my soul" but in many ways both of my ideologies complement one another.  Serenity is about peace and tranquility and letting go of the idea that everything can be controlled, because in reality most things are completely out of our control.  It's not so much the things that happen to us as it is the way we deal with them. It may seem contradictory to be peaceful and persistent, but the two go hand-in-hand. Persistency, willpower, and drive each force a person to a place of unfamiliarity and discomfort.  A new place and version of themselves demands conquering.  Through conquering this version of themselves they are able to reach and attain the level of peace which they momentarily lost before.

Another saying my mom tossed around -- and sung sooo horribly off key (Sorry, Ma, still love you) -- was "Que Sera, Sera" and even typing those words I hear the chorus of the song playing in my head. Whatever will be, will be. (Sly & The Family Stone version, guys.)

This, I think, is yet another key component to where I am in my life right now. I think it'll follow me throughout the rest of my life, and I hope to apply it accordingly with wisdom then, but alas now I'm in Granada and so I must be here, in Granada. 

Some of my struggles here have been getting accustomed to the time differences as far as when to eat, sleep, and do homework.  The day seems to escape me and I'm often very doubtful that Granada really runs on a 24 hour cycle like the rest of the world. One minute it's 8am and I'm off to my daily Spanish class and then somehow it's lunchtime and then time to shower and sleep??? The hours literally seem to slip through my fingers like water and I find myself chasing after them sometimes, and other times just sitting back and understanding that I can't control every moment of everything. 

So no, I can't control everything. (This blog seems to be a lot of me admitting my faults...no es super guay but I'm learning and that's all that matters.) But, the best part of it all is that I don't want to control everything, and realize that I don't have to bear the weight of the world just because I can sometimes seem strong enough to do so.  However, in my very first post I did put that I would be documenting my failures as well as my successes. In many ways failure can serve as success. It teaches us what not to do and how not to be. Failure builds resilience.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, the way we work as people often entitles that we don't fully learn lessons until we experience the multitude of mistakes they may be composed of.  Yet it's important to remember, it's never too late to learn anything and though it may not seem like it, life places us exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there. Oftentimes, we can feel like we're failing when we're in fact doing just fine.  Pero que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. 

So here's to failing a little bit (or a lot, it varies) but getting back up every time. 

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Ashley Simmons

Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A Junior at Brandeis University, Ashley studies English, Creative Writing, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, as well as Creativity, The Arts and Social Transformation. On campus Ashley is an English Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Originally from Washington D.C., she enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, playing video games, and being with her family and friends.

2016 Spring
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