i’ve got to stay alive for dinner

S o in short, the afternoon today wasn’t the greatest. It was parents evening, which firstly meant that our parents all came in to talk about our progress at school, and secondly there was stress all around because of the harried schedule – it’s impossible to fit a decent conversation within five minutes in real life as opposed to the ideal format of 5 minute talk and then 5 minute changeover. I ended up being almost half an hour late for my last appointment. It didn’t mean much in practice since people usually go whenever the teacher has a vacancy and we’ll settle whoever’s going first based on our previously arranged appointment times, nevertheless I abhor being late, but there really wasn’t anything I could do. 
Aside from this, after talking to my third teacher I started getting teary-eyed. This escalated to full-bawling outside of the hall immediately after my last appointment with my English teacher. It didn’t have anything to do with her, though. My mom and my teachers had been talking about my reluctance to raise my concerns about assignments, and how I always say “I’m fine” even though I’m not. It always seemed as though I could handle it. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t a whining student, I guess, and maybe underneath it there was this urge to find some kind of reason to all this madness. All of a sudden I just felt like it had all come to a head, as if I’d been exposed or had the lid lifted off my eyes. My throat still feels tight when I think about it and my eyes feel perpetually leaky; in fact, this emotional reaction still seems so overblown to me. Maybe the pent-up frustration was always there simmering underneath. 

It feels as though someone’s smacked in the face with an electrically-charged palm and the realisation that perhaps I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did. I know I’m a definite over thinker and perfectionist when I have the determination, but now it feels even worse. Am I really so incapable of identifying my flaws? I never realized how obsessed I was with acting like everything is okay – although that was more with my French teacher because she scares the wits out of me and I’m constantly afraid of communication for fear of feeling stupid for bringing issues up. The fear of being shot down or to have someone say “no big deal!” to my biggest worries is one of my greatest fears (and I hope that for once I’ve identified this trait correctly). My teachers say that I lack confidence although I have the ability, which I guess is true. Inherently I can self-identify as a narcissist with an undeniably large ego (particularly with things that spark my interest) and subconsciously it’s probably why I try not to project myself as a know-it-all. Because firstly, I’m neither a genius nor a human calculator and secondly, I don’t want to be that insufferable/cocky person that believes that they’ve learnt everything to know. I know it’s crawling out of me though; frequently resisting the articles that my mom sends me is a telling sign that I can be too fucking big-headed for my own good. 

Mostly, it’s disappointment with myself coupled with a disillusionment in my future. This last couple of weeks has all been about applying for universities and looking ahead to our future careers, and frankly it sounds so distant and irrelevant to the person I am now and thus I haven’t been taking these things as seriously as I should be. But there’s just so much that could happen in the span of a year – I could die, for one thing. Nobody is guaranteed anything. It’s all about living for the future, GCSEs and IB and everything that you and I are doing in this moment. The breaths we take now are to sustain our cells for the next breath that we take, and so on. It’s the school’s responsibility to prepare us for the future, I get it mom, but fuck, maybe I won’t be around for our next loop around the sun. It just feels so incomprehensible to me. I think I half-expect that once I go to university and settle somewhere, my life will be all set. The last time I checked that shit only happens in the movies, so I don’t understand why I still have that mentality. 
I got so emotional just now that I full-on cried for about fifteen fucking minutes, and even though my stomach felt like a shrunken water skein, I still ate dinner because it was one of my favourite places to eat. I think I was a right mess, bawling my eyes out in public – Hong Kongers, I’ve noticed, are not keen on showing public affectations. To be honest, I could have gone without eating anything because I felt so numb. I just ate because I knew if I didn’t eat I’d be hungry later, and it was also an exercise in trying to distract myself from this distressing reality. So now, here I am at the gym doing actual exercise, typing this with an uncomfortably full belly, trying to simultaneously throw out my emotional garbage and guiltily remove the calories that my body didn’t need. 

Most recently and alarmingly, sometimes I find myself thinking in the morning “well okay, mom bought this awesome salmon for ME! And all I have to do is to try and not get killed until tonight because I want to eat that for dinner.” It’s a little worrying because now whenever I eat and feel too full, I start feeling so guilty and having to do exercise for the sake of making up for the food I’ve consumed. I think maybe I need help. Whatever this may be, I need to focus less on the expiry dates of the food in our refrigerator (as my mom likes to say) and spend more time focusing on work. Which is bad either way you look at it. 

Whoever is reading this, I sincerely thank you for taking the time and patience to read this post. It’s darker and grimmer than I’d have expected the foulness of my soul to be, but if you’re going through stress or problems with work, school or with family, don’t feel alone wherever you are in the world. If there is one thing that we all have in common, it’s human suffering in whatever shape or form. 


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