First day of high school. How bad could it be? It’s just tall people towering over you in groups like gangs that are going through puberty so their voice is either high pitched or low like a bass. And over there you have the overachievers, their outfits look good, they have good-looking friends, they’re the people who you would turn your head back to get a good look at them. How am I supposed to survive high school? I felt encapsulated, like a loose mouse inside the house. I want to return to middle school, where everyone was the same, did the same routine, and never disturbed the status quo. If you make a mistake in middle school it won’t stick because it’s not the star years of your life so no one will bring it up. In high school, this is where you make a foundation for yourself, one mistake and it is all over for you. Intimidating isn’t it? It’s like a video game where you have to survive one day and go on to the next and you can’t save anything so you have to continuously try to make the best choices until the end of your senior year. And in the end, when you feel like you finally accomplished high school, you would still need to repeat the simulation for the rest of your life.
They all stare when I go up to the front. The big screen in front of the vast number of people. My work showed on screen. I had to present. I opened my mouth. No words came out. Was I sick? Did I lose my voice right before my presentation? No. No I didn’t. I feared saying something wrong. But saying nothing won’t help my situation. I read my lines quickly. Not looking up to see the eyeballs glued to the screen. It was over. It was all over. My life was all over. I sit in my seat thinking numerous things. The things I could’ve corrected. The tone of my voice. The accuracy of the presentation. But none of that matters. I had my one chance. And I used it.
I stare at the ceiling. Pondering what I could’ve changed. My style. My attitude. My decisions. That’s impossible. Once you make a decision it is finalized. These big decisions keep me up at night. I ponder about the past, present, and future. Should I finish this assignment or leave it for later’s problem? You’re going to be even busier the next day. Should I raise my hand in front of everyone? They are going to stare. What high school should I go to? Hey, go to this one everyone is going there. Why aren’t you going there, there is nothing stopping you right? My indecisiveness started to grow. My answers became “I don’t know” to every question. Because I couldn’t just choose a side. Why couldn’t there be a neutral option? This doesn’t only affect me. This affects everyone around me. Group projects were the worst. There were always two sides to them. Either you are the leader and boss everyone around. Or you listen to what you’re supposed to do and stay quiet and cold. Experiencing both situations before creates this awkward space. People should appreciate me versus being invisible to everyone. I wanted both. But I can’t get both in this double-sided society.
Why does this icky feeling make us do things? Makes us say the unthinkable? I wish I couldn’t feel it. I wish I could be numb to this insatiable feeling. I was so confident before. I could talk to past guys easily without feeling discomfort. Now my friends shove and push me. I stand there awkwardly looking at them.
“I’ll take a picture for the both of you.”
Why must I be humiliated? In front of him. I barely even know him. He barely knows me. Yet this situation makes my heart race. Why? You’ve gotten over him already, but now they are getting the wrong idea about it. I shouldn’t have told them I thought he was cute in the past. I thought they would take it as a light joke. Wrong. I should’ve kept it to myself. Maybe it was my own fault. For finding him attractive. For telling everyone about my thoughts. I should’ve been more considerate with myself, thinking of the possible problems that would’ve occurred. And now here I am writing about it. Was this a good idea to write about this? It’s a good reliever ranting to yourself. I don’t know if this is a good way of coping. I should do this more often.
I look at the walls covered in stuff. No space left uncovered. It is filled with words and pictures that I could not decipher fully. I heard a loud voice across the room. She was the only adult in the room. We all moved simultaneously to her directions like her minions. If we did something wrong we would be an outcast, different. No one likes different. We had to learn how to count from 1 to 100. She gave us everything. Every day she would go over the numbers slowly. I have no remembrance of having to study outside of those walls. That must mean I got it easy right? The day came when she tested us, I recited the sounds she would make us repeat. I did it without any errors but would this be the same as I get older? Fifth grade came and we had to recite our multiplication with this honeycomb paper in under one minute. This wasn’t a friendly assignment, this was a race. And if you weren’t on there, you would be considered insufficient. It was like a test for graduating from elementary school. To get your name at the top of the list. I would study hard for weeks and made progress. But it didn’t seem good enough and names started piling up. I managed to get it and would stay back multiple times to do it. My heart would race every time to ask the teacher to test me. The most infuriating thing is she would always be busy after school so I started to lack in my reciting skills. When it was finally time to do it, I did it with all of my efforts. The timer rang when I was at the last problem. The ringing sound replaying. She said there was something wrong with the timer and I could finish my problem with no penalty. And so I did. I passed. But it didn’t feel like a win. I worked so long for this and I felt disappointed. Is this how life always is? Do you try your hardest just to get disappointed? But if you don’t try, you’ll just feel guilty from the lack of effort. I saw my name up there the next day, feeling no satisfaction. I blame the world for not working in my favor. But this is reality. No way a fifth-grader could rule the world.