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September 1, 2002
Everything I try, everything I do, it's never enough for you. I try to show you that I know things, that I am capable. But you always punch me down. I try to be nice to you, you always scream at me. You find me wrong. Nothing is right in your eyes. In the afternoons, I sit and wait, anxiously waiting, bracing myself to hear you roar, hear your negativity. I take in your hurtful, abusive words. But I can't escape. I can't. You're too much a part of me. But I still try. I will succeed.
Back to school. It's infectious. The hype to get the latest fads. People are vulnerable to the ads, the marketing. Back to school is the worst season after allergy season. Anxiety, peer-pressure. For most this means bullies. Psychologically, emotionally, physically we are defenseless to them. But who cares about them. If people were to just walk away, what fear or anger do they have to feed on? Barbaric behaviour. It's all unnecessary, but inevitable. Why must people fear difference? People with differences have character, are their own person. Bullies don't have character. Be your own person. Dare to be different.
Why must bad things happen to good people? The good ones become ill and suffer while "bad" people become righteous and remain healthy. Is it because they can afford the treatments? If things are supposed to be balanced, why does it never seem that way? No one deserves to be sick, to go through so much pain, but why does it hurt the most unsuspecting people? Everyone's faith gets tested, but not to those whom others deem "bad". It's not fair at all. But in the end, those who suffer and those who suffer with them win. They win freedom.
The "American" dream: money, wealth, power. We are told that to be successful, you need to earn money and flaunt it. All of us want that dream. It's society's standards, we're only buying into them. But is it worth it? Is this dream worth all the sacrifices, obsession, cheating, hurt? We'll never fully be satisfied, fulfilled, if we follow these standards. We'll never attain that "American" dream. Being successful is knowing who you are and feeling you've done something to help others and yourself. Otherwise, please take back that knife you stuck in my back. You might need it soon.
I don't like to be played around with. I'm not your guinea pig, your mouse in a lab. This is my graduating year and the double cohort. It's a year of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress. I'm afraid for myself. I'm afraid I won't get into university. My future and the future of my education are unpredictable. I'm a B student. I have potential. But they don't see that and my face. And compared to others, it's not fair. I'm my own person and that's all I have to be. But they will get in; I'll end up somewhere. Who knows?
I'll admit it. I love school uniforms. They're so convenient, so cost-friendly, and sometimes, if you wear it right, it looks cool. People talk about how it takes away your individuality. That's a bunch of bull. People who say they lose their individuality have none to begin with, trying to conform to others' standards, judgements. They buy the latest fashions, yearning to be a part of something. You're being branded. Mutilated by the whispers, chopped up by the stares. You might look the same from the outside with uniforms, but we're individuals by our personalities. The BEST kind of individuality.
There's no such thing as normal. Everyone is his or her own person, individuals. A normal family, a normal life. Doesn't exist. Everyone is unlike the next; everything is distinct. Anything goes with relationships, with beliefs and morals, with oneself. Just as there is a unique star in the sky, shining, sharing its light with us, so do we, with everyone we meet. For we do not know how we will touch other people's lives. Therefore, we cannot judge, we cannot make assumptions about one another. Everyone is diverse. Everything is unique. For there is no such thing as normal.
The sky betrays us. It doesn't mirror our emotions as everyone portrays. It plays around with us. We look to the sky to tell us what to feel, how to feel. We are delighted when the sun shows itself. We are miserable when it rains. We curse the snow. We wish for the sun always. But what about on days of tragedy? Sept. 11 is fast approaching. It was a bright, sunny day as the catastrophe unfolded. It was apocalyptic. But isn't the apocalypse presumed to come on a dark, gloomy, dusky day? That is why the sky betrays us.
This is what I am. I am a Filipino-Canadian. I am a girl. I am a naturally talented writer. I am a daughter and a sister. I am friend. I am optimistic. I am pessimistic. I am funny. I am stubborn, sometimes. I am a student. I am a hard-worker. I am a talker. I am weird. I am exclusive. I am frail. I am strong. I am sensitive. I am kind. I am bitter, sometimes. I am a survivor. I am a fighter. I am different. I am an individual. I am me. That's all I have to be.
I am discrimination. I discriminate against you because you are not like me. This is what I do: I devalue your humanity. I don't have a specific face or a specific purpose. I torment anyone and everyone at any time. Anyone can discriminate even when we don't know it. We just have to look for someone's imperfections, differences. It can be anything. Race, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation. There are a multitude of reasons why I hurt you. I devalue your humanity, that's what I do. I discriminate against you because you are not like me. I am discrimination.
A year later. It's been a year since the world changed. The images are just ingrained in our minds. We'll never be the same. We aren't the same. In the past year, we have become more aware of the world we live in and more attached to our loved ones. We have definitely connected on a higher level. We now cherish morals and ideas much more. We aren't as passive or insular as before. We are defiant and determined unlike ever before. We have shown the world the strength, courage, and perseverance the human spirit has. We have become one.
No man is an island. We can't survive without someone there for us. We need people to support us. Otherwise, if you yourself were to abandon others, you will become a vegetable. Never being able to move around, not knowing what to do with time. There's too much time when you are alone. Too much uncertainty, too much hatred, too much resentment. Why don't you get up once in a while? You just sit there, waiting…Waiting for what? I don't know. Do something useless and valuable with yourself. Laugh with your friends. Love your family. Otherwise, you are an island.
Everything is becoming politically correct. National anthems, children's stories. It's all becoming politically correct. It's become too hard for someone not to mention this. The whole point of this is not to hurt other peoples' feelings. Short people are vertically challenged. Fat people are horizontally challenged. It's more confusing, misleading. What will we end up with? Snow Caucasian and the Seven Vertically Challenged People. In trying to be "correct", we make it more difficult for ourselves. Instead of saying what we really mean, we have to constantly observe what we say. It sounds really stupid. It becomes an ambiguous game.
I'm torn up right now. I've been beat up with words. I can't help it. I'm vulnerable to it. Two of them did it to me today. I understand that they are frustrated with the situation they're in. But don't take it out on me. I can't do anything for you madams et monsieurs. There are things that are beyond my control. I wasn't the one who made this occur. It just happened. Don't you understand? So I ask you, what more do you want? It occurred, so deal with it. There's nothing that can be done to amend this.
What if you wanted something so bad? What would you do to get it? What lengths would you go to to accomplish this? Would you lie? Would you play mind games? What would you tell people? Would you ask them for their help, their advice? Or would you tell them they were useless, unworthy of the cause? Sometimes, these things are dangerous. You've got to watch yourself. Or else you'll get in trouble. Sometimes, you shouldn't try to get what you want right away. Maybe you should wait things out, think about things first. Don't rush. Don't hurry. Just be.
I despise perfume and cologne. I get really bad allergies when I am exposed to them. Look, the whole reason why perfumes were created was because back in the day people didn't take regular baths. Back then, it was common for people not to bathe, so perfume was used to mask their smell. They weren't hygiene-conscious like we are today. Heaven forbid someone were to not bathe themselves everyday. So, I ask you, do you bathe regularly? If so, STOP wearing perfume. There's no need for it. Unless you were cursed with really bad BO. Now that's a different story.
Yesterday, my mom and my two aunts left for Europe. Yay! Freedom. Okay, so maybe not complete freedom (my older brother is still here), but there's a new sense of peace. I've never experienced this before. I had always gone on vacation with them. But it was actually quiet at home. A little too quiet. No more screaming, no more nagging. Our apartment is quite messy, the plates are overflowing, the laundry is stockpiling, but there's no one here to tell us to do it. It's exciting and funny, but also daunting. For once, I don't know what to do.
People need to be realistic around me. They need to look at themselves, at their dreams and realize that they aren't going to succeed. Stop setting unrealistic goals. You aren't going to be a doctor, you aren't going to be a lawyer, you aren't going to be a nurse. I believe in some people and I envision them getting there. But others, who are very selfish and self-centred, are not going to be what they want to be because of their attitude. Don't look down on me because I'm not a 90 student. I am a somebody. You are not.
One doesn't know how much they mean to someone, until they themselves, forget about who they are. Only when you help someone out completely, that you overlook yourself, will you understand that you're very precious in someone's life. You're the only one who can break down walls in your friends' lives. You're the only one who can invalidate the lies that someone has heard about them. Doing this, you find out who you are. You discover what people see in you that they keep coming back. It's an extraordinary thing that you can touch someone deeply and not know it.
I'm tired, but I can't go to sleep. I'm just feeling this way because of the heat. It's too hot and humid. I feel itchy. Need to scratch constantly. It's not good for me. It has been a very testy day. No one was feeling like their usual selves today. Everyone is edgy and irritable. When will the rain fall? It's ugly. It's sticky. Need to scratch. Can't scratch. This is not good. I'll get rashes from the scratching. I already have rashes. When will it get colder? I hate this heat. It's getting worse now. Need to stop scratching.
What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here. I don't want you here. You didn't ask for permission. And even if you did, I don't want you here. You asked the wrong person. You're supposed to ask me. Doesn't my opinion count? Though you know what my answer will be. That's wrong what you did. How dare you think you can just barge right into our business, our lives? You cause too much trouble. That's why you're leaving, isn't it? You're leaving me behind so you can search for your soul. What are you good for anyway?
You keep following me. Why are you always there? You shouldn't have come back. It was so much better without you here. It was much more open and free. Now every time I wake up, you're at my side. Every time I leave home, you're right behind me. Right when I come back home, you're seconds away. Give me some freedom. I don't feel any. You're sucking the life out of me. I can't breathe. I can't see. I try to push my way out. But there's too much of you. It's too crowded. I don't know a way out.
What have you done? Where's all my stuff? You threw it away didn't you? You can't keep your hands to your own stuff can you? There were many important things in there. But you wouldn't understand. I had my important papers in there. I had pictures there too. Why couldn't you have waited until I came back? But that's not you. You never think of anyone but yourself. It's always your way and never anyone else's. You don't care for anyone else. You are never wrong. You're infallible. You have to be right all the time. Well, you are not.
I'm afraid. There's too much competition. It's scary. I need to test out the waters. But I'm afraid, afraid of what might engulf me. I want to leave and by on my own. But I don't want to leave because I don't know how to take care of myself. Maybe I'll learn then. If I go away I'll be far away from you. Then I'll have to do things for myself, better than when you did it for me. I've been dreading this moment since the first day of school. Now you can really feel the pressure from the universities.
I sit at my desk, tapping my pencil on it. My feet are shaking. My hands feel numb. I'm waiting for my first test of the year. My head is starting to ache. My palms are clammy and cold. Oh no, he's coming closer. He's soon to hand me a package. Try not to freak out. I'll forget everything if I freak. Oh, the package is on the desk. I look at it for awhile. It doesn't seem too thick. That's a good thing. Let's get to it. Oh, I'm finished. Yay! It's done. Now let's stress over the mark.
I walk into the building. There are swarms of students attending this fair. I look out the window. Look at how many buses are lined up outside! I ask some of them where are they from. All of them are from Toronto. My friends and I walk into the big hall. We can't even get it for a couple of minutes. Is that how many people are here? And they're all from Toronto. What about the competition from the rest of the province? This is not good. All of them are going to take my spot from university. Thanks Harris.
How come you are so secretive? What do you have to hide from me? Tell me what is going on. I can help you. You look like you might need it. So why do you come to me if you don't want my help? You have to tell someone about what is going on with you and your mother. I know you don't want me to say anything, but you have to do something so that this doesn't happen anymore. It's not fair that they treat you this way. Make it stop. I can help you. I'm here for you.
It's not fair what they are doing at school. I can understand when they tell you to straighten up your uniform. People know that there's a uniform. Either wear it properly or don't wear it at all. But I think it's too much when they tell you that you can't have blue hair or you can't have dark nails. That's a violation of your rights. That's ridiculous that they are messing around with what you do to your own body. They don't have responsibility over that. It's all because of the image of the school. Thanks to the new director.
I love being a senior. I have classes cancelled for the next two days. It's fun. I've never experienced this before. I have fun showing off the tie. I have fun when students recognize me as a senior, as a graduate. I truly deserved it. I've come a long way. It only seems like yesterday that I was a niner. I remember I didn't know where any of my classes were. I remember being late because of this. I remember meeting all the friends I have now, this month, three years ago. Those were good times. I'll always remember them.
This year has been off to a stressful start. Firstly there is the stress of the double cohort year. Then there's the new director of the school board is pulling ridiculous styles over the uniforms. If you wanted the uniform to be that perfect, you should be at a private school. And you shouldn't be here if you're telling us that we'll get suspended if we have blue hair. Come on now. This is going to be a stress-filled year. I can see it now. It's going to a long year. I can't wait until all of this is over.
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