stress

We’ve just begun a new year, and yet school is as dreadful as ever (if not more so). Many of my friends have been feeling overwhelmed with the workload of the IB course, and in my case, juggling CAS (extra-curricular activities that are a passing requirement of IB) with leadership roles and homework. 

I remember an old saying that goes along the lines of “everybody is fighting their own battle”, and I’m beginning to understand the wisdom behind it. I’d like to share a little anecdote from the other day in English. My friend was voicing her unhappiness with her height. Being half European, she wished she was shorter to fit in better with the majority of our year group, most of whom are Asian and generally a head shorter. In fact, she complimented me on being thin and ‘just the right size’. I was surprised as I thought that being taller would mean equate to the ability to wear whatever you like and pull it off. Hearing somebody else’s perspective made me realize how we can sometimes be acutely self-aware, to the point of punishing ourselves for attributes that other people admire about us. 

Many of us fall into this trap of self-hate, something that can be perpetrated by simple acts like procrastination – the bane of every student – or even the action of looking in the mirror and contemplating why we don’t look more like Kit Harington or Margot Robbie. The consolation here is that you will never look like them, and accept that. It’s like wishing I’m white instead of Asian whenever I’m on vacation, just so I don’t stand out. It’s so blatantly pointless that rather than pulling yourself down for being who you are, come up with a way to accentuate your weird uniqueness. 

In retrospect, I needn’t be stressed about my jiggly thighs, my petite size and my square face. I might as well devote what’s left of my energy to what I’ve gotten myself into: 

– sewing for 2 fashion shows

– Being a decent Senior Prefect

– Being an organised music captain

– Revising for my maths studies test

– Auditioning for a variety of school shows

That leads to a whole other level of self-hate, but I’ve resolved to mentally picture the final outcome and work towards it. And express my frustrations with eye makeup. It’s far easier said than done, and at times very difficult to stay positive because it seems like the world is against you. But I’d rather get it over with and feel that euphoria no matter how much I despise it, the kind of satisfaction that you get after a session at the gym, or finally finishing an essay. There’s a book called “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami that encapsulates this idea perfectly. It’s easy to identify with Murakami’s thinking – once I’ve started a project, I need to see it through. If I only put in half the effort, or give up, it feels like I’ve lost or been dishonest with myself – you could say that I’m a perfectionist. Aside from when it comes to mathematics.

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