Today was the first time I woke up in the morning, and I did not feel the pressing need of a deadline long forgotten, the latent hunger of a meal that I should need to rush to nearest restaurant for, any urgent reason for doing anything urgently at all. It was a quiet, simple joy. The joy of just being with myself. The wonder of staring up at a blank ceiling and hearing the faint echoes of all the past selves that have lain on the bed, and mused in the same way. Worries, tears, histories, contemplated scenarios, unplanned scenarios and the like. Right now, in this infinite moment of nothingness, I can laugh at the ones that had happened. I can laugh at the night when I cried because my midterm grades weren’t up to my efforts. I can observe quietly the night when I tossed and turned uneasily, wrought with weird dreams: avenues through which my self-doubt chose expression. In moments like these, I can do everything and nothing at the same time.
Sometimes, I remember the days of my high school. The world was unimaginable different then. Granted, I’ve had some rough experiences; most change and growth comes without warning and takes the shape of that which we can’t quite imagine yet. It was the same with my freshman year at college. I didn’t know what I was expecting myself to be able to pull off, but the remnant of those experiences is something that I am still processing in order to improve myself.
But these moments are not one of those in which I reflect on all the injustice an all the perceived “wrong” that had happened to me. I take pride in the fact that I have grown beyond those petty days in school when nobody spoke to me and I was so angst-ridden all the time. I reflect sometimes on how my unforgivable memory has finally let go of their mistakes, even though sometimes I’m not sure it has let go of mine. There used to be those days when I was trying so hard to please everyone that I was slowly losing my own anchor of convictions. But in this moment, I have let go of them. Sometimes it bothers me whether anyone will accept me for who I am. After all, I have enough people who hate me, dislike me and reject me. I am tired of analyzing their motives. The why doesn’t matter any more. I have let you go.
There has been way too much time of my adolescence wasted in wondering why all of my affection has never been returned. I felt that even in a relationship, I felt as though I wasn’t reciprocated. Until I realized that I didn’t need to emotionally invest into these distant beings in order to feel as though my life was complete. It’s okay that I wasn’t pretty enough, or quiet enough, or funny enough or <insert adjective> enough for them. By wearing away all these external attributes of what I am and what I was supposed to be, I’m still in the process of discovering myself.
There used to be months when I would wonder why my ex-boyfriend was the way he was to me. To this date, I cannot explain his behavior. Maybe it was childish immaturity. Maybe it was him being in his natural state, and I had way too many expectations of what a boyfriend should be like to be able to come to terms with what was happening to me. Maybe we were just incompatible people. I know I’m very grateful to him for teaching me a lesson. Not just about the world, but also how I perceived myself. He doesn’t probably know the full extent of how much he has helped me grow. Even if I reach out to him, in an attempt to thank him, he won’t accept it. Because we simply have very convoluted perspectives of each other. I let him go a very long time ago, believe me. But I haven’t let go of what I’ve learned. In moments like these, when I cherish my independence, I thank him for that.
The next term starts soon, and it’s going to be rough. The same old nights spent watching the moon arc across the sky and the sun slowly creep up to usurp its place, while you’ve barely progressed from one problem set to another. The same old schedules that are larger than life, the discipline that I must force out of myself. While at some level, I’m tired of changing myself, I still haven’t identified exactly what it is about me that I should retain. That bothers me. For now there are crickets chirping outside. For this expanding silence, which is interrupted by my own staccato typing, I’m taking stock of how much I’ve grown. But there’s a part of me that’s undeniably afraid that the journey is not over yet.