My mom’s most common response to any compliment sent my way is knocking on wood, and saying cheshmet nazaran. This term, used endearingly with a side of concern, means indirectly, “to prevent the evil eye,” also known as nazar. Being told how tall I’ve gotten, or how good my skin looks today, or especially recently, the college question, has lead to a lot of room for cheshm. Avoiding nazar has always been a weirdly important routine: I’m so used to knocking on wood to dispel any jinx that I knock on any surface in any situation, often to the amusement of my peers.
The nazar’s prevalence in my life is noticeable. It’s the subject of a tattoo I’ve promised myself to one day get, what I walk under to get in to my house, what I reach for when my thoughts cloud my judgement.
More recently though, I’ve been touching my cheshme nazar necklace more often — a bright blue eye inlaid on a heart of silver — to remind myself to be humble. In the wake of acceptance season, my eye has been a push towards humility.
I don’t exactly know where I’m going to college yet. By the time this is published, though, I probably will, and so maybe you’ll see me walking around with a ____ sweatshirt on campus. I’ll be smiling, because I like smiling, and that won’t be affected by what acronym is stamped in felt letters across my chest. I’ll be smiling because I’ve figured out the next four years of my life. I’m not going to grit my teeth and sulk about the fact that I got rejected from my dream school, because the fact that I have something to look forward to these coming years is the subject for humility. The pendant on my neck gently reminds me that for all of the acceptances, rejections, and everywhere in between, ultimately I’m grateful.
And this isn’t me on the “holier-than-thou” train trying to belittle you for feeling human emotions. My final realization, fittingly at the conclusion of my high school education, is to use these lessons I’ve been taught to enjoy these last few months I have here. Los Altos is my home, my classmates have been with me since I first started school. And now, this is coming to an end. So, let’s be grateful for these days. Let’s enjoy this Pacific wind and soak in the northern sun. Let the blue eye of our California sky illuminate our last days here, and our golden futures.