Hey, it’s been a while.
I always feel terrible when I take too long of a hiatus without any good excuses but I just haven’t been motivated to write anything, sorry! I don’t really know how other people’s creative processes work, but in my case, I have to wait for ideas to find me, which as you can imagine, limits my output dramatically.
That being said, I am most certainly my own muse when it comes to writing about my life so what better subject to exploit than myself? I guess the biggest (albeit a bit late) update I have is:
– I am no longer a high school student –
I don’t really remember the exact date of graduation, especially since our emotions were then dragged over the tedious but important final exams for the next month or so. On one hand, I’m completely over it. I’m so glad that I am moving past this part of my life and excited to take on bigger and better things, but on the other hand, I don’t feel ready at all for what’s to come.
Thinking too much about the future fills me with jolts of panic about whether I’ll get into my university of first choice, if I’ll survive moving out of home or be able to make any friends…
Most of the time, I just feel like I don’t deserve to graduate yet with the minuscule amount of knowledge and life experience I have. I mean for heaven’s sake, I don’t even know what price point I should purchase potatoes at to get a bargain, much less how tax return works!
I distinctly remember stepping foot on campus on orientation day as a timid 13 year old, and looking at the students from the class of 2011 that volunteered to support our transition into high school with absolute reverence. Not only was their physical maturity apparent, they also exuded confidence as they made their way around the school with ease.
Looking down at my orientation map timidly as I slowly died in the sweltering heat, wearing the school sweater because I didn’t want anyone to see me in the ‘ugly’ blue blouse, I was filled with anticipation towards the day, far far away, when I would be one of them. The respected year group even the teachers treated as adults, rather than children. After what feels like a lifetime yet also no time at all, here I am. To be honest, I’m feeling more like that little girl than what she wanted me to be.
A few years later, I had a (compulsory) PE class in the gym, which faced the fields at the back of the school. It was the second to last period of the day, and we saw the class of 2013 gathered outside, holding brightly coloured balloons, chattering away amongst themselves. After realising most of our class was watching by the window anyway, our teacher gave us permission to go outside and catch the moment when hundreds of balloons got carried away by the wind to the sounds of a cheering crowd. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wished I wasn’t just a spectator to that magical moment but somehow a part of it. That was the day I found out how beautiful the celebration for the graduating class was and as we filed back into the gym to continue our lesson, I could not wait until it was my turn.
Instead of the sunshine and clear skies that blessed the class of 2013, the day of our graduation was anti-climatically overcast. That didn’t spoil our mood too much as we waited on the field, buzzing with excitement as the student leaders handed out helium balloons to tie our handwritten messages onto.
We only had a minute or two at the end of our last assembly to try fit all we wanted to say about our high school experience on a piece of paper about half the size of our palm and unfortunately, no eloquent phrases sprung to mind. Instead, I quickly jotted down:
Thank you Rangitoto, I thought I wouldn’t be sad but this truly is the end of an era. Thank you to the friends I have made and lost, the lessons I’ve learnt…my metamorphosis is still to come but Rangi is where it began. Love you all, I won’t forget this.
Yeah. I mean I wasn’t expecting to sprout literature and what I wrote was definitely better than “highschool sux” or “thanks for 5 cool years lol” but still, how pretentious is it to call my time at high school an ‘era’? I wish I tried harder to articulate my ambivalence in that moment, wavering somewhere between relief that the last few days of school that have slowed down to a drag were finally over, sadness that the relationships I wanted to make or fix never did happen, dread for the upcoming exams that would determine my future and excitement for the new adventures up ahead…
After tying the messages to our balloons, we passed time by taking photos with the friends we did not want to say goodbye to, exchanging hugs and words of encouragement, holding that collective, metaphorical breath for the signal to let our balloons go. A crowd of underclass students gathered at the fringes of the field, whispering to each other as they looked on, and I couldn’t help smirking at the spectators. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when I was one of them.
As cliched as it sounds, it was time. Time for us to let go of our fears, our hopes, our dreams so they can go out into the limitless world and we are free to make our own paths from here on out.
In that exact time and space, the class of 2015 had their heads held high as they watched whatever emotions they attached to the past 5 years fly away.
As per usual, there were some stray balloons that escaped early or released late, caught on trees branches or somehow escaped the pack but we were all there, together, in that moment.
Even though some of us only acknowledged each other by a nod in the corridors and would brush by each other as strangers in the future, we were all there and that meant something. If not camaraderie, then at least acknowledgement for the company of each other in one way or another in this critical period of our lives for learning and growth.
Finally, the bright blue and red balloons turned into flecks of light in the distance, blending into the grey sky. We lingered for a while, then, it began to rain. Without anything having to be said, we dispersed and I wonder if from up there, we looked like an ant colony that has lost its queen.
As someone who finds it difficult to let things go, even as the end has been cemented by the incessant stream of holiday pictures and university acceptances I see posted on facebook, I still find myself troubled with pangs of regret for my high school years.
Turning over memories and possibilities in my brain so much they haunt my sleep, they are much more than the classes I took or the study I didn’t do, instead, these whispers and shadows all take the form of people.
I mean, don’t we all have the crushes that made our hearts flutter? We lost our voice in their presence so only their names were left, dancing on the tip of our tongue, we clamped our mouths shut to suffocate the butterflies. Swallowing bitter regrets because we were scared of rejection, left wondering if they had done the same?
What about the friends who we hoped, no, believed, would one day be our maid of honour or the godfather of our children? They were the ones who would hold up the sky when the world crumbled right around us and it was their absence that taught us an earthquake heart hurts more than the weight of a million broken universes on our shoulders, who do they turn to now, in their times of need?
Then there is the self-inflicted isolation that comes hand in hand with turning away invitations until they were no longer given, intertwining our fingers to make a cage for our yearning heart because we had learnt earlier on that it is simply too fragile to be entrusted to another yet we can’t help but try to make out syllables in the conversation between the wind and leaves…
Is it really over?
Despite it all, I like to think that I am happy. I didn’t end high school with the group of friends I had at the beginning. I have hurt. Others, and because of others. However, I have learnt important lessons and surprisingly, there are a few people that I can count on one hand who are still here, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. Thank you.
As I wrote in the note tied to my balloon and later on in a sentimental facebook status, I never did turn into the 18 year old my 13 year old self desperately wanted me to be but that’s okay.
I am still incredibly shy, insecure, awkward and find it surprising that people actually want to be around me. I am unhealthily envious of others yet too laziness to make anything of myself. That being said, I am better at being confident, faking it or otherwise. I am always eager to learn and I try to look out for those I love. I am imperfect but this is not the end of my journey. I will reiterate this because it is something important I want to remember, my metamorphosis will come. I will be patient, who knows, maybe it will happen without me even noticing.
In the meantime, I will just keep looking forward I guess.