The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Phoenix

Maybe what I need now is time. Maybe I need luck. Maybe I just need to keep calm and carry on. Maybe I need to pray more, do more, sleep more, eat more, get out of the house more, talk less, watch TV less, go on the computer less, think less, be less. The problem here, I think, with all of us, is that we don't know what we need to do. I mean, if we did, none of us would be scared. If there was a schedule that details meticulously every single thing you should do to gain those A's, down to the very minute, very second- if such a schedule were in existence, I, for one, certainly wouldn't be walking around with a face of perpetual sadness and torture.

So once again, it's the fear of the unknown. Not fear of knowledge, but fear of a lack of knowledge, which is kind of ass backwards if you ask me. But no one ever does. What surprises me the most though is that I'm totally okay with this fear. I go to sleep every night crying, and I feel like stabbing people sometimes because, well, some of my schoolmates really do grind my gears. But it's come to a point where I... accept it? Embrace it? Am not afraid at how utterly terrified I am? I used to wonder what my Boggart would be. Or what I'd hear when there are Dementors nearby. And I used to think it was like Harry, you know, fear of fear itself. But that's not it, really, now is it? This week, and the week prior, has proved that. I'm strangely okay.

I'll never be zen like Qian Rui, whose intelligence attracted people's respect and kindness dispelled people's hatred. I'll never be Violet, who tries and makes the effort. I'll never be Afiqah, who kind of looks above-it-all (although I'm not at liberty to comment, not really, since I'm not that close to her). I'll never be Fatihah, who tries a little bit too hard. I'll never be Alisya, who just tries to try period. I'll never be Divyia who... um. Well. I'll never be any of these people because I will always just be me. And at the end of it all, wasn't it enough? Didn't 'being me' got me top of the class, beating out fierce competition like Heer Raj last time around?

Wrote that on my personal (but added in the Divyia bit because that was during March tests, and Divyia had yet to beat me to first place by a mere one subject twice). I guess I went into this year wanting to be the best, thinking that the floor's wide open for me to dance on when Qian Rui transferred. Sure I was sad that that happened, she was an acquaintance, a classmate, but to be honest? I was ashamed at how relieved I was. The floor was wide open. And I had ample chances. There are people who take those chances, who save it all up, who work and work and never give up. There are people who use the time that they have to achieve the ends that they're aching for. I'm just me. And I know that I work hard, I know that I don't slack off and that I do try a lot but at the end of the day... I use more time to just sit back and think.

And that makes all the difference. I think.

Second to Heer Raj, to Qian Rui, to Divyia and Aly. Always second. And you know what? You don't get anything standing secondplace. You don't get the name, the recognition, the glory, the boasting rights. You don't because secondplace is just another word for commonplace. It's good. But it's not good enough. 

And you don't know what this feels like. Because all my life I've been told how selfish I am, how I only put myself first, first and foremost, before anyone else. Because even though that may be the case, it's changed slightly. Because for you, I'd do it. Anything. In a heartbeat. And that's not reciprocated. To you, I'd give the world. But not. So excuse me if I want to feel like I come first once in a while. I don't care what they say. That was power. Knowing that you're first.

So I'm the fourth child, but technically since my other siblings are away most of the time, I'm considered the one and only. And some people just don't get it. It's all right if you don't want me to talk about how I find a borderline A appalling. It's all right if you don't want me to talk about how six hours of studying is just not enough. But you know what? I work hard to get where I am. I always have, always will, and while everyone's happy with it, content, no one really cares because me saying that I got straight A's for an exam? That's like... 'I had rice for dinner'. And you don't know what that's like because people encourage you. All of you, you're encouraged, given motivation, had optimism and incentives thrown at you from all directions. I had to encourage myself. I gave myself motivation. I had to be optimistic even when I'm crying my eyes out and I made a list of my own incentives. Do you think I'll get something if I get 8A's? Sure. But it's not a 'you did well' present. It's a 'you got what you're expected to get so what the hey, here's a present' present. Only a handful of people asked me what my UPSR results were. It's not that they don't care. It's just that, well, what else do they expect? And all of that?

All of that and I'm still second? It sucks. You might be pressured to be outstanding because you have never been before. I'm pressured to maintain a record I'm not all that proud of because the alternative is unthinkable. If you're a terrible singer and you sing in front of a live audience and you sing well, they will applaud you. Standing ovations. The best reviews splashed across mass media. If you're the best singer (or second best) and you sing in front of a live audience and you miss a note, and you're flat, and you forget your lyrics, do you honestly think that's forgivable? Like the teachers said regarding our essays: when everything seems good, they'll start forensically investigating you to find a fault. If the paper's snow white, they'll look for even a hint of dirt.

Because when you're already that high, there's no where to go but down.

That's how some people feel some days, walking around and seeing everyone else around them just being better. But that's what they keep telling you, the books, the television shows, the talk shows. That who is society to judge you? Who is everyone else to tell you that you're not perfect? Who are they to say anything against who you are? Why do people, he says, why do people have to measure everything against everything else? Why are everyone's accomplishments an accomplishment only insofar as they are the best, the most accomplished, the smartest, the prettiest, the skinniest, the most talented, the most popular?

I was arrogant. In Standard 6 and all of the years below that. I badmouthed people for achieving higher grades than I did. I was an asshole and I'm never, ever going to be proud to reread all of those things that I wrote. I motivated myself in the worst way possible. By saying that I was perfect. By saying that, no way, there's no way I wasn't going to get straight A's. I was basically throwing back what everyone else has been saying to my face for the entirety of my life up until that point. And that's the biggest change I've went through. 

Because now I don't just listen. I think. And I don't just take what people say at face value, I evaluate. I would never have survived with that personality, leading the life that I lead now, being friends with the people that I'm friends with now. They would all hate me. And some days, you know, some days I just feel like I don't want to hold a grudge against Nisa for saying all the things she says about me because I knew that it was true. But that's the point. I'm better for everything now. I'm better. And since I've taken this new outlook, since I've decided that 'I don't want to feel a twinge of "I'm better than you" or "I'm worse", I want to feel honored, and enthused and most of all blessed, because God has given me more intelligence, common sense and moxy than I deserve,' I guess that makes me, in my eyes, at least, the best.

The best of luck to not only my friends, but everyone as well. And every single one of my friends and acquaintances from other schools. Heck, good luck to those ex-KTians. I don't want to be a cliche. I'm still mean, still blunt, still me. But I guess it doesn't hurt to say that I'm hoping against all hope that we'll all be able to enjoy the blessing of getting straight A's together. As a group. All of us.

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