3rd week. I’m trying to find a job, any job that could get me through the next six months. I want to pay my school debts and the money that I owe my parents. I want to be debt free, so that I could finally pursue my dreams relentlessly. So during this period, I actively seek out employment, sending resume after resume to jobs that I would originally not have given a damn for. Hours spend looking and scrolling through the job placements, hoping to get one that will fit. No experience required but will be able to get me $8/hour. Yes, I’m 24, 4 years after graduation and still earning an hourly pay. And I’m not ashamed. Judge all you may, I have reasons for my doing.
That day, the agent calls, “so what have you been doing these 4 years?”
She has received my resume, she knew what I’ve been doing all along.
But I answer her confidently, trying to hide my jittery, “Well, I work in the zoo as a show presenter, spend 7 months in New Zealand for working holiday, work in a pet grooming shop, after that it’s mostly F&B. Mostly hands-on stuffs.”
Her voice comes from the other side of the phone, “I understand”. It sounds so far away.
But what does she really understand? What does she mean by she understand? What is in her mind? But it’s not about her, it’s about me. How could I answer her question? How could I tell her that I have been broken and spend 4 years trying to get myself fixed? How could I tell her that I felt all the agony about being enslaved by corporations and am living the way that I am currently by hiding under the slogan of living my dream? How could I tell her that I feel so much every day that I couldn’t bear to see my life spending, not empowering others – even though I haven’t entirely done too much? How could I tell her that I’m still trying to piece myself together? How could I tell her that my eyes are tearing up from writing all these? How could she ever understand?
How could anyone ever understand? When all they see is someone optimistic, someone who is always smiling. Someone even asks me once, how is it that I’m always happy. And I always tell them the truth, because nobody is around when I’m upset. Nobody sees my struggles. Nobody wants to plunge into my darkness and drape his/her hands around me. Nobody understands, not even me.
From young, I’m taught not to cry. I’m taught to stop all these nonsense. Slowly, I learn to recede into my shell, the highly-polished strong and fiery me. That’s not me. That’s not who I am. And who am I? Would you know? Would I know? For the four years, what have I done? I don’t know, but I know it is necessity. It is whatever it takes to keep my heart alive, to know what living is.
Because there is a side that nobody knows about living in such wilderness. A side that people living in such a way don’t want to talk about. People like me, we live almost like a drug addict, constantly hook to the high of life. I have to live behind the adornment of being motivational, of being brave, of knowing exactly what I want. But the truth is, I didn’t know what I want until now. The judgments and the spiteful comments, they hold certain rights. The disdain and the exploitation, they show how stupid I could be. But still, I enjoy every bits of living in my skin, of busking in the false glorification from others about me being brave enough to take risks.
Years before, someone told me that I would make it because I have the passion. Years after, my mum tells me that I could never succeed with all my flittering from dreams to dreams. Initially, it’s a writer, then somebody in the pet industry, then a yoga teacher, now to be a tribal fusion belly dancer. I have done it, and at the same time, never really achieved it.
I am addicted, to all the future glories even if they are lies I use to cover up my sporadic behavior. Who knows what could really happen in future?
Today, I lie on my bed, still broken but open. Open to the truth, open to the fortunes that I have, open to the opportunities that have been bestowed again and again, almost miraculously. And things start to make sense. I’m still piecing myself back but I know, I’m right on track. I have never been off it. I make mistakes, but I have never been where I don’t need to be.
And this is me. I’ll always be. Without shame.
I’ll always live wide awake. I’ll live through the sufferings and the miseries.
And I’ll be.