I Used to Be Different

Hey. Remember me?

I can’t quite remember myself who I am. Or rather, who I used to be.

I can’t remember the last time I really truly felt alive without any of the guilt or worry churning my stomach. I can’t remember the last time I had the absolute confidence in myself. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up until three in the morning because I was engrossed in doing the work I loved.

I can, however, remember quite vividly the last time I felt hollowed out, the last time I looked at the tasks heaped at my desk and felt the despair and panic crashing over me, the last time I thought of my family and the guilt that immediately followed, the last time I cried out of frustration, helplessness and loneliness. I remember the last time I had to strain my ears to hear the barely audible thumping of my heart. I remember… all too well. It’s difficult to forget when all this has happened today. When all this has been repeating itself for the past few days, weeks, months, years.

I wish I could point my finger at one culprit, one incident, one ill judgment, and say “That’s what changed me”. But I can’t.

College is supposed to be the time we grow up to be the person we want to be, right? So why do I feel like all I’ve done is growing backwards these past two years? I have lost every ounce of self-confidence and self-respect. I have become a coward who’d rather procrastinate and close her eyes and pretend nothing’s wrong. I cower in fears and worries while my corner of the world becomes smaller and smaller. Voices echo, telling me what to do, what to think, what to be. I constantly question, and doubt, my abilities and feelings. I have started thinking about my own death again.

I used to draw, then write down all these stories I made up in my head. Lots of action, pretentious dialogues, quite a bit of blood. I used to read lots and lots of books and imagine myself as a character in one of those books. I used to talk to teachers as if they were my friends instead of authority figures. I used to be a dramatic, angry, rebellious teenager. I used to be a person who couldn’t say no to friends. I used to enjoy writing.

I was rough-edged, self-centered (still am), hypocritical, loving and hating, angry and peaceful, friendly and shy. I hurt people, I helped people. But underneath all those insignificant everyday actions, I was still me, you know? I was sassy and impertinent, but I was still me.

Now I don’t even know who this person is. The fact that I am writing this must mean that the real me is still lurking somewhere but I can’t find her. I am lost in the sea of should-bes and why-don’t-yous.

Is it selfish to want to be who I want to be, to do what I really want to do, if it means I’m being “unrealistic”, “unreasonable” and “unreliable”? So many people pretend they’ve got the shit that is life figured out. And they try to steer the “poor, lost ones” in the “right” direction. They are speaking from their experiences, of course, and the experiences of others’. Is it so wrong to not want to be pigeonholed? Or rather, who has the right to criticize me and to correct me once I’ve declared I am breaking free of these restraints made of “universially acknowledged truths”? Oh, you know these “truths”. “It doesn’t matter what you think you like to do or what you think your desires or passions are.” “You’ve got to be practical (i.e. find well-paying jobs).” “You’ve got to start thinking of your future spouse and family.” “You have responsibilities owed to your family, meaning you have to be “practical” so that they won’t worry about you.” “Life isn’t about enjoyment, it’s about slaving away decades of your life so you can have your retirement. Oh, wait, maybe you can’t have your retirement cuz the world is too unstable!” “There isn’t enough to go around for everyone.”

Who comes up with these stuffs? Why are we not taught to question the way the local/national/global society works? Why are we expected to fall in line docily?

My brain is too fuzzy due to my whacky inner-ear balance thing and the mild nausea & headache that come with it. I haven’t been able to leave the bed since Thursday, and yeah, it has made me cranky. But I feel better after this rant. I can almost hear the cynical, sassy old-me whisper “hello”. I can almost see the light for the brighter future, embracing me and telling me that I am absolutely worth it.

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