Mmmm... There was something surreal about taking my last exam paper yesterday. That Ling Hui and I were the last two students out of the whole entire school to end our A level exams suddenly felt like a rather memorable status instead of something to sarcastically groan about. The quietness was gladly welcomed, but along with it lingered a strange strange sentiment of utter resignation. Do whatever you want. Let it be, let it be, let it be. Let it go. Live and let live.
I found myself glancing at certain places as I left school. The library, the benches near LT4, the art room, the lit room... Faces were floating inside my head, faces of strangers and faces of friends. I find it miraculously lovely how places mean nothing to you until something special happens there, something like skipping lecture to hide in the Lit room, lights switched off, doors tightly shut, bean bags and sleeping bodies strewn idly, Shu Wen pretending to row a boat from one end of the room to the other, sweeping right across the floor, Candice forever upgrading her lesbian/flirt status by yakking about the arguments of love while freely molesting her poor poor friends like Siti who shivers with such effect it becomes so very comical... ... Stuff. :)
I also find it amusing that it is the illegal, the banned, the wrong, that bonds people together and unites them. Everybody knows that its wrong to skip school. Everybody knows that its wrong to skip lessons. Everybody knows that its wrong to leave school before 12.15. But we do it anyway. I know you will understand when I tell you of the thrill and excitement of doing something you're clearly not supposed to do, of that rush of adrenaline as we realize that we're free and we're safe and we're together and woooo hooooo we can go watch a movie!! No one will forget the careless laughter and easy camaraderie of 05A1, where everybody was perfectly okay with everybody else for just a moment, and as a class we wore red shirts to defiantly defend ourselves from our GP teacher's tactless (even if its harmless) comment about Literature students being "bloody" this and "bloody" that. And the great indignation we felt when our poor poor Sylvia cried because she felt hurt by his words. And how affectionate we became towards this eccentric and funny guy, who was so clueless when he asked, "Why everybody wearing red shirts? National day arh? Haha."
Truth be told, I was never one to be openly sentimental and nostalgic about people and places. In fact, I thought I would die in NY. I couldn't fit in. I tried but I couldn't maintain that smile on my face, that smile that says, "Hi. I'm nice. I'm friendly. I'm normal. I'm okay." I felt miserable in the first year of JC. Had my first big crush. BIG. The kind that leaves you breathless and speechless and you end up saying all the wrong things at the wrong time so that the only signal you end up giving him is: Hello. I am a freak! I am a brainless oaf! Oh oh and I giggle and blush too much and I think you're really funny all the time even when you're being super serious and I ramble on and on and on so you can only hear the annoying squeak of my voice.
Had my first stalker- some bastard who had a girlfriend, who took immense pleasure in stroking my ear (and I was so stunned that I froze and was stupid enough to let him!), who sent me countless romantic smses, and horror of horrors, who called me in the middle of the night to tell me that he was outside my house right this moment, at the door in fact, and would I like to meet him just to chat? Gawd I was so so stupid. So terrified and helpless and defenceless.
Had my first fiance. First person in NY to talk openly to, to bitch to, to share ridiculous jokes with, ranging from masturbation, threesome, orgasm to bondage sex. Tehe. Life saver, she.
Had my first boyfriend. Painfully embarrassing relationship. Didn't even like him. Didn't even want him. Seriously don't know what I was thinking. It got to the point where I felt so tired and I was just waiting, just pushing him to break up with me because I didn't have the nerve to do it. And even though I felt so free when the relationship was over, I also felt extremely ashamed of myself and thoroughly disgusted with myself because I had been reckless and impulsive. I had felt touched by his actions and I thought that it would work out. I was foolishly pleased and secretly intrigued by the amount of attention he lavished on me and I felt curious as to what it truly was that he saw in me. He was a very normal boy and I was tempted to be a very normal girl. It was in no way 'normal' at all. Stupid stupid stupid. Shallow. Stupid.
I was also shockingly fragile, something I was never aware of. I had seen myself as cold and smart and tough (urgh tell me about it). But I really wasn't. I was terrified. Terrified of people. I felt incredibly self-conscious and awkward with my own body, the way I moved, the way I spoke, the things I said... I was acutely hypersensitive to every word, every gesture, of the people around me and exactly how they responded to me. I was afraid of rejection. I was deliberately ingratiating. I was temperamental and erratic. There were rumours of me being weird (too true!), and ang moh (??!!), of trying to pretend that I was some sweet little thing with a sweet little smile and a sweet little voice and big big eyes that made me look blur half the time, when pleeeeaaassee, they could all tell that I was just some scrawny white rat with a fake American accent. I know this because back then, they were so very kind enough to tell me. The most fascinating rumour I ever heard about myself was how highly sought after I was by guys and they had no idea why guys were so goddamn blind because I wasn't cute and I wasn't pretty so what the hell was their problem?? I felt ostracized and depressed. And I would come home crying every single day, moaning to my sister about how much 'they' hate me and how much I don't belong.
Silly, silly, me.
I have learned to love life, to realize its preciousness and pricelessness. I have learned to open up. I have learned not to think so much (sort of). I have learned to be less judgmental, more optimistic, more sociable (even though it still kills me to make small-talk). I have learned to deal with the opposite sex! Ahaha. :P I have learned to openly declare my love for people. I have learned to let go of people. I have learned to love myself even though there are days when I hate what I see in the mirror. I have learned to trust God. It doesn't matter what people think. It doesn't matter if people think I'm too religious, too spiritual, too emotionally entwined with the intangible. I only know this- that in my deepest darkest times, when everyone tried, and failed, to reach me, His light penetrated my heart. I believe in Him in no way I can ever fully and completely believe another human being. His grace alone, is sufficient for me. His strength is made perfect, when I am weak (and dear dear God, I am almost always weak). My life, is in his hands.
I don't know where to go from here. Without my identity as a student of NYJC, I feel kinda light and weird. With so much free time ahead of me, I'm considering either going back to my secondary school to do some relief teaching or giving free tutoring at an orphanage I used to help out at.
But more importantly, I need to go back to my roots and mend them in order to make myself whole again. I have many regrets about the way I handled my secondary school days. Looking back, I feel that I was too bitter, self-piteous and self-righteous. With a quiet desperation and determination, I hastily erased anything and everything that could possibly link me to the life and to the unhappiness that I felt back in school. But what I didn't realize was that it was the excruciating misery, the experiences and troubles, that defined my character and made me who I am today. And by denying all of that pain, I deny a part of me. I couldn't see that there were people who cared for me. I nursed a morbid fascination with mortality that I don't think will ever truly go away, even though currently it is a very intellectual sort of exploration.
I need to forgive the people who have hurt me, intentionally or unintentionally, and I need to seek forgiveness from the people I have hurt as well. The former is very, very hard. This is very hard because I have kept many things to myself and among them, I have swallowed down each and every single afflictive word and action that has ever been done to me and have turned them into unspeakable burdens. But worse than that, I realize how much of a wreck I let myself become when I was with you. I know that people make mistakes. I know, I know. I don't proclaim to be perfect myself. And maybe that is an excuse that I give- I am not perfect. I do not have it in me, to forgive, as of yet. It is my fault as much as it is yours.
"Lord 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."
-Saint Francis of Assisi.