The inability to work. The inability to feel rested. The inability to think in Spanish. I’m tired, I want to sleep and truly rest, but I can’t. I want some ice cream that won’t give me diarrhoea but there’s not even lactose-free milk. I just want to pause and do my own stuff.
Am I not doing that though? I’m writing when I could focus on my Paper 1. But it doesn’t feel like it. What could I do then? Stop the inability to concentrate? How do you even do that? When I cannot concentrate it’s not like I think about something else, it’s just that I can’t think. I can’t think in Spanish. I can’t concentrate in English. I can’t understand in French.
I’m melting. But why? What is there to heat me up? What is there stealing the cool away from me? What is there pushing me against the floor? Things may restrain me, but that has always been part of reality, so then what’s different now? I don’t know.
I thought I was doing well with the frustration. I thought I was doing well with the disappointment. Apparently, I’m not. Apparently, I got tired of seeing such annoying people every day. Why are they annoying though? Because they are different from you? Well, not really, I guess. I think it’s because they’ll immediately think it’s because they’re different from me. And politicize this.
Why does everything seem to be so annoying? Why does everything seem to have been reduced to school? Why do people not understand that whenever I refer to school I just want to say ‘Normal’? I haven’t made the effort to explain these points, but it should be a given that we all understand them, shouldn’t it?
I find it hard to tolerate confusion. I find it hard to accept the fact that my glasses broke and I carry now a broken piece of plastic in my face. I don’t mind wearing old shirts, in fact, they’re the best ones. I do mind, however, feeling like something is leaning towards my right eye. The imbalance annoys me. I cannot deal with it.
But I also cannot take the glasses off. Everything will be blurry again. Everything will stop making sense. And I’ll return to an even smaller reality. Or instead, to one that does not allow me to appreciate all the details. I don’t want to go back there, even though this reality is completely entrapped in two frames. As if something is telling me what to see.
Isn’t that the source of my anger? I don’t think so. It feels wrong. It feels like it’s the wrong answer. What is behind the glasses? Tics? Uncontrollable anxiety that tells me to squeeze my eyes? That tells me to twitch my nose? I don’t think so. It felt fine for most of my life, what’s so annoying about it now?
I think it may be when others comment on it. Because they make me feel self-conscious? Feels wrong. I’m always self-conscious. I’m always hyperaware. I’m always alert. What is it then? Is it the shame? Is it the guilt? Guilt of what? Shame of what? Is it when people laugh at my hand movements? Is it that people don’t understand I remember with my hands? I don’t think so, still feels incomplete.
What is it then? Is it that I cannot calm my face with my forearm like before I started using glasses? Is it that my teachers don’t appreciate my noises during exams? Why do those things happen in the first place though? Why do people react to things? Why is everybody else alive? Why is everybody else reacting? I don’t get it.
What are you afraid of then? What’s making you tick? I don’t believe you when you say it’s school. We both know you’re lying; like you usually do. I also don’t think it’s your secrets and your lies; for those, we’ve got a plan. I think it’s the pain. That feeling of uselessness that lingers through your day. I think that’s why you scratch yourself day in and day out. Why are feeling useless though? What has changed?
I don’t believe you when you say it’s uncertainty. You like uncertainty. You really do. You throw yourself on a train en route to Amsterdam without even knowing if there’s a train back. You make educated guesses but you don’t really know. And there are surprises out there. So what is it that pains you most? What is it?
Well, I guess it is the incompetence, the inadequacy. But especially fraud. You worry about your grades. Everything was lower than expected, wasn’t it? But why care? Why care if back home nobody even knows the IB exists? Well, I guess it is because that’s the only thing you’ve done. I guess you have come to understand that you have not changed the world. You have not changed a single person. You have not gained a new skill. You have not realized you’re good enough. And then, as before, back home, the only thing that’s left is school. To excel at school then becomes a sport. One you think you’re good at, but you’re not.
Why are you like this though? Haven’t you realized you can sing overtone? Haven’t you realized you can understand French most of the times? Haven’t you realized you have decentralized your musical taste and acquired a global repertoire? What is the problem then? That you haven’t outsmarted yourself? Because I thought you had done so. You escaped from the gentleman in Yogyakarta when you thought you could be in danger. You managed to not get kicked out of English class. So, what?
I guess it is that you have not written a single page in two weeks. I guess it is that you have decided not to sing in every single event when you could have because you felt your act was ‘too different’. I guess it is the sense of not belonging, of not fitting in. Wasn’t that a good thing though? Didn’t that mean that even for your UWC standards you were a little bit too much? I thought you said so seriously. I thought you were really protesting every day.
But what is the point of protesting every day if that is never made public, you say? Well, you don’t need to make it public: you exist, you haven’t entered their social circles, you haven’t given up the idea of one single individual’s opinion being correct, unlike the public opinion. It’s already public. It has always been public. You have developed, that’s why your previous answers embarrass you. But pay attention: They embarrass yourself, they don’t embarrass others because you have given yourself the time to reflect and grow. They haven’t.
You are not to blame here. They are not to blame here. According to your reasoning, everybody does so at some point sooner or later. Why are you so impatient then? Because you haven’t changed the world? You knew before coming here that it wouldn’t happen. You knew you were going towards becoming a second-class citizen. What’s the problem then? You knew what you were getting into. Now you’re not satisfied? But you don’t want to leave this place because you find yourself challenging yourself each and every day? So what’s the problem then?
I don’t think it is that other people see challenging themselves as simply getting 45. I don’t think you’re truly serious when you pretend to be superior in one way or another. I think it is precisely that you wish you were those people. The ones that have decided that they won’t change the world getting their hands dirty. I guess it is just because you envy them. You envy their light-heartedness. I believe so if you say so.
What is left to say then? Are you going to mindlessly work? Are you going to think that this is all useless work that your teachers give you to kill your neurons? Or are you going to try to empathise? Try to bring the tenderness back that you left in Indonesia several months ago? That you didn’t leave it back there? I believe you and I agree with you.
I want you to take the anger, and take it out of here. I want you to stop calling yourself a liar. Because even if you are one, the truth will eventually come out to the light. Instead, prepare for that. Stop calling yourself useless. Instead, call you last-summer version and ask him for his passion. I need you to stop thinking about all the things that you haven’t done and recognize that nobody actually thought you would do them.
Lastly, I need you to finish one of my, now ended, tasks: acknowledge that things need time and you have, in fact, complied with all the contracts, and if not you will do so. Accept that you have done what could be done in the present. And accept that you cannot save anybody, not even yourself, you can only help them. Then, maybe, you’ll regain your energy back. But until you do so, you’ll remain in a sleepwalking state. Insomniac and fatigued.