I Have A Dream, A Song To Sing
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always danced with merry and happy optimism.
The sight of watching my childhood self at 18 was both silly and amusing. While broadcasted at my party, it was by no surprise or reservation, embarassing. A little me in white sleeveless undershirt and underwear gaily following the beat and clap of the music.
From 16 onwards, I use to study dance in a nearby school at home. The genre was hip hop and the beats were sick, fresh from the soundtrack of Step Up 2. In 2008, wearing makeup and hoodies, tied hair and the loose dance getup, we had routines and moves to handstands, pumping our bodies as we threw fists in the air.
Looking back, I was a happy inner child religious in prayers and never once questioning authority, always smiling and sleeping by 10 pm, doing homeworks and researches in gratuitous loyalty.
Things took a turn in college as I entered the university, clueless as to where I was to be, which profession to take or be involved a direction with.
I remember the first time I entered the school grounds, filled with freedom and promise as I left our home for the first time. Exposed to new culture and experience, I had a wave of excitement and worry as to what was in store for me.
As our university was filled with trees, it was a good feeling and sense of consciousness to be surrounded by such great environment.
Looking back, I did as was told just like I was in high school. I helped my group mates, finished my studies, did my homework and tests. Took turns cleaning the lab equipment. Studied specimens over the microscope. Hung out with new people. Talk.
As I newly entered our dorm rooms and saw our empty brown bunk beds, I had a slight thought of curiosity as to whom will be the other occupants of this room.
Our first dorm was old, many say there used to be ghosts roaming at night in the floors of the building.
Lo and behold, my first stay at my freshman year in college felt fine. We had orientations, costume festivals, song presentations, mud crawls, signing events and other exhilarating games.
It was a blur since time has passed so quickly, as I finish being Miss Red Riding Hood on the brick road, to falling to my knees with a bone-scattering red wound, to taking my English classes with glee, as the only one who got an A in our class argumentative paper (something I kept to myself). To climbing the storms and rough roads off the back of our mountain top dorm house as we readily go to PE, and yes, that was Dancesports. Totally unrelated to sports. Or so it seemed.
Freshman year was old and new, confusing and depressing, fun and youthful. Being 17 was entertaining. Beyond my wildest expectations, I found myself shifting to a new course.
This marked the birth of a new “me” as I turned 18 and yes, have a debut party I never asked for. In my personal life, 18 was the best as it can be. It gave me newfound confidence and hopes, energy and vision. It was undescribingly cool.
My dress was designed by a famous designer from our country, it was blue and beautiful.
As it was the start of school, we formed new routines like going to the university gym, moving to a new dorm, meeting new roommates, to having new classes.
My sophomore major was in Management, something I chose for myself out of practicality.
The first course I had was my mother’s pick. I had to go with it since I stuck by my serendipitous “signs” and “symbols” feeling, or “this had to be it” karmic choosing. Yeah, superstitious and wild. I know.
Moving forward, I knew I had doubts in math and science since high school, so I found myself failing accounting in the next semester.
While I passed one difficult and hardcore math class, one accounting class by tutoring and yes, weeping, I swooped in to move to a new course (the second time). I know this is unpredictable, who knew shifting could be so fun.
As classes were already long, I found ones longer when I had to have even major classes by my junior year.
As other core subjects were thrown, I had to be vigilant since random numbers were the fashion to our school enlistment system. I had a terror professor by chance, it was unavoidable at first. I had the other terror removed as I got the last slot in manual enlistment. Hooray!
Next in line was my mother’s sudden decision for me not to dorm anymore. It was quite sad not to spend anymore long nights outside, playing video games, or cramming lessons while waking up to go to classes on time. It felt disappointing as hell, since not dorming meant taking the public train. Everyone knows how terrible the subway is in our country.
Going by, junior year was pretty and grippingly tense and calm. I had my Senheiser headphones with me as my daily buddy, I sleep in class, I cram my paperworks by the minute and hour, it felt like a wave of clocks ticking and movements aligning. Nights were hazy and school was hurried and busy and long. Of course, I found myself having a lot of fun regarding the stress, and sometimes, loneliness.
19 was the best year in my life. It was where I found myself the most and lived my life to the fullest. I turned a year that time in Disneyland, was greeted as a princess on my birthday, and despite the melancholiness, I was happily riding roller coasters alone or screaming in joy at Tower of Terror rides.
In my power, and through prayers, I managed to get an A in my terror prof’s subject. Amazing and unbelievable, I know. But to me it was the best. It proved those hard work and sleepless evenings were worth the drift.
As I continue my story, there were countless times I almost gave up in my course, or got criticized as a bad writer, or questioned my student work in college. Thanks to my professors, who perhaps tried to tell me in a critical honest manner. Nevertheless, I finished all my subjects that year. It was brutal but very exhilarating.
It came to the point how my terror professor told me I could be a “poster child for an angst/loneliness movie.” To my amusement, he even recognized my basic acting skills.
That summer I had to go to Germany with my friend. Who turns a year older this January. That was 2012, the year I finish being a junior. Coming home abroad, enjoying my space and unexpected freedom, I had to face senior year with wit and asskicking salvation.
My supposed last year in college was pretty chill. I managed my scheds in a way I can write my papers well without rushing or problematizing how to get to school. Unlike my junior year, which was real hard work, my senior year felt calm and reassuring.
I didn’t have to worry how to get to school, maybe only ocassionally.
I was fond of my assignments, to which despite having to write a thesis. My papers were okay. To cap it off, time was in a slow, resourceful pace. Before I knew it, regardless of heavy stress and workload, I finish my thesis in my second year as a Literature major.
As predicted, I would take another year to finish the rest of my subjects. Thanks to Germany, I have to stay in school and not graduate along my peers.
I did not regret any part of it, as the extra year, or fifth year, was needed to make me appreciate and understand my course further.
I enjoyed all my classes and freed myself from the pressures of the real world while my peers attempt on job interviews and go into the world of employment. No doubt, I loved school in a way I have never loved before that year. It was a steady slew of routines. And grace under pressure. Despite this, I admit having been depressed a little since there was not much people around like last time. And I felt like people my age were not around, or they seem younger than me.
I learned how I was wrong in this perception. It was normal to be 21 and still a senior in college.
Having turned 20 in Berlin, I expected a lot out of myself at 21, pushing limits and achieving more.
That year turned out the finest in terms of academic excellence.
I happily graduated and expected many cool new things after I leave the university. Sad to say, I have never found my class of group in school. Most people do not understand me on this, but I use to be really talkative and friendly. Cheery, even.
So, when I turned 22 in April, I was in misery again for my birthday having no one greet me, or my friends forget my day usually, or people greeting me sparsely. That was the year, right after graduation, where it went the worst for me.
Since my incident the previous year, I was skinny. I lost 20 pounds through the year and take Muay Thai classes to relieve stress and maintance. To go back, being 22 was the most evil of them all.
As I was, and always will be, a deep expressive high standards form of lady, my ideals to get a job quickly was unmet. Thus, I had to undergo series of dark days where nobody would speak with me. And, even my most trusted friend who watched me grow in college and helped me through rough times told me she wished I could “find myself” in whatever situtation I would be going to.
As my parents suggested, I took a huge leap and detour to a foreign country I have never lived to before. I tried for interviews and did teaching demos thrice. I do admit it was fun as the kids were honest and funny, despite their noisy enthusiasm and questions, comments.
It was interesting to note how the people in that country found it peculiar that an Asian looking girl like me could not speak their language very well.
As I struggle to find jobs, I finally did found one in a small school after I quit the other job. It was in a remote town where two managers maintain it, a charming rustic Western schoolhouse with a playground inside.
These people who hired me were friendly and courteous, they were the types of bosses who would motivate you to work everyday, as their character is as unflawed and impeccable.
However, their job description was off the beaten path.
Nobody knew “Teaching Assistant” meant cleaning tables and wiping children’s bums. Or doing all around work. Something not defined in the job label.
To cut it short, turning 23 in that country filled me with despairing hope and a sense of peace.
It unlocked and released the amount of pain I had having not reached certain ideals since graduating. Namely, meeting new friends, moving abroad to work and study, going to parties and clubs, being young and upbeat.
After living 5 months abroad and getting my first job there, I never once knew I could survive on my own or even take care of myself.
See, I have always been a loner. Yet somehow I have this feeling I can never do take care of me and live by myself. Even a friend of my mom’s told me she seemed fascinated how I could move to a new country without knowing anyone.
To sum things up, in my adulthood, early years were traumatic and painful.
Suddenly I found myself gripping in tears, or still, crying as I was in college. With nobody to guide my direction, help me find my way or set a clear track.
To end this memory rant, I just came to say how each people have several stories. Some untold, some defined by others.
As it is never easy to tell mine, the matter of which I specifically want to forget, here are some remaining ones I choose to share and live by.
PS, I came to say goodbye.
22 / 23, you were still as youthful and as amazing as the clouds go sleep. I might forget you as I want all needless feelings removed, but swear to God I will never quite let go of how much it took for me to wallow up my ego and take the leap.
This is to the real world,
To the strength and beauty left in me. To the opportunities that have passed.
To forgotten, long-ago memories. To the unswerving faith and tears I have that everything will be okay.