Monday, November 14, 2016

FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY JUNIOR COLLEGE STUDENT'S HEART

(Please excuse my scattered thoughts)

The clicking of the keys on my keyboard roars for two seconds then dies out for 2 hours. Clicking noises again, then dies out almost immediately as a flame on a matchstick blown out before it reaches the tip of the fingers holding it. I haven’t written about anything close to my heart or stuck in my mind in so long, all I could think of right now is that I miss writing and that I crave to put my thoughts into beautiful words.

I turn to my right trying to look for some inspiration only to catch a glimpse of an instant photo lying around. It’s a picture of my family; my family who I haven’t seen complete in 5 months or so. No, we’re not separated because of family issues. We’re just torn apart by priorities, academic ones to be exact. Which reminds me, I miss home so badly. I miss the smell of fresh air with a whiff of freshly cut grass. I miss waking up to the sound of a knife hitting a chopping board and the sizzling sound of raw meat hitting a hot frying pan. I miss listening to the tunes on the car stereo while rain rolls down the fogged up windows, revealing twinkling lights from the streets. I miss having hands to hold and cheeks to kiss during mass on Sundays. I miss what used to be my norm.

Three years into college and all of these have turned into something else. Home is the sound of my loved ones voices on the phone while bundled under the sheets. The smell of the air is anything but a comforting fragrance. I wake up to the sound of my phone ringing and water splashing on the floor as my other dorm mates get ready for school. Rainy day commutes mean getting wet while boarding a jeep, getting suffocated because they cover the windows, and all I hear are endless honking of every other vehicle. Sunday mass is me having my hands empty because it’s no longer a usual thing to hold a stranger’s hand when singing the Our Father, and awkwardly nodding at other people to say “peace be with you.”

Clicking noises stop again.

Slowly, my thoughts that have been buried deep beneath the sand under my sea of thoughts, bubble up to the surface, bobbing face up. Maybe the reason why I haven’t written in a while is because I’ve come to the point in my life that everything I do is part of a routine. My actions, my words, my train of thought, all belong to an endless loop I’ve created to adapt to the shift of my lifestyle that I don’t enjoy. I’ve created a cycle to make it easier to dismiss the fact that I am no longer happy about most of the things that go on in my life. I’ve attached myself to repetitive actions: Sundays are for mass, brunch and the grocery, Mondays to Fridays are for school, and Saturdays are for extra school load.

I’ve allowed college to consume me when what I should be doing is consuming what I learn every day. I allow stress to roll in and never let it out thinking that stress is all just part of it and overcoming all these obstacles while letting stress overwhelm me is an achievement, not knowing that if I don’t release it, I’m probably going nowhere. I remember studying for a test for 4 days straight, while at the same time, thinking about how bad I’m probably going to fail, how ugly it feels to fail, how disappointed I and my parents would be if I failed. I got a 1.5 on that test but knowing how hard I tried to study, I still felt disappointed because I know I could have done better, if only I hadn’t mentally multitasked studying and thinking about failing. I could only wish I hadn’t stressed myself out unnecessarily.

College has eaten me up pretty badly, I almost don’t enjoy making arts and crafts projects outside of class anymore because I’ve gotten so sick of working days and nights designing and making things in exchange for good grades; chart topping grades that I know will make my parents proud. Sometimes I come to school with puffy eyes just because I’ve been crying all night while working on a plate that I’ve worked hard on for days but never seems to get finished until a few hours before submission. I have even come to a point where I express how I’m secretly so fed up with art, then having people ask me why I feel this way. I never answer so they proceed to telling me that “art is life” and that I shouldn’t feel like this. These conversations mostly end with me shifting to another topic while silently thinking that “if art is life, then why does it make me feel tired and lifeless?”
I repeatedly think to myself that I took an art major because this is what I’ve always wanted, this is what I always do, this is what I want to pursue. And you know how people keep saying that if you do what you love then you’ll never work a day in your life? Then why do I feel like a huge load is on my shoulders and I’m not, even for one bit, having fun? I come home every day, tired. I wake up every day, tired still, wondering when all this will end.

Clicking noises fade again. My mind is exhausted.

A knock on a neighboring room wakes my senses and I look to my right once again. I look at the instant photo once more. I am waken up inside.

I realize how important getting straight A’s are but also how it’s important to live a little. I begin to devise a plan how I’ll sometimes take a step back and breathe a little, to spend time on things I actually enjoy, like doing something as simple as turning a frown upside down. I’ll call my loved ones and talk to them about everything for hours, take long walks along the polluted road and think of how blessed I was to have grown up in a sweet smelling neighborhood, let droplets hit my face on rainy commutes or maybe even dance in the rain a little, and offer to hold my seatmate’s hand before we sing the Our Father in church. Do some, if not all, of these once in a while just to break the cycle I use to mask my boring, stressful life. Maybe then, I wouldn’t reach the point of emotional breakdown over a frustrating plate, or not think of failing a test while I'm studying to ace it. Maybe then, everything wouldn’t seem so hard anymore.

I convince myself I can stray from routine, and even tell myself I could start tomorrow.

I close my eyes to rest and I remember that in a month, I’ll be flying back home for a 3 week break. Back to the smell of fresh air and moist greenery, to the sound of raw food getting diced and the sound of a searing pan early in the morning, and all the other things I associate with home.

When I come back to college in the second week of the new year, I’ll be back to missing home, stressing out, and hating art at times. Back to craving to do what I love. Back to entering the loop I probably never left in the first place.