This is not a poem. This is not a letter. This is not really much of anything, for that matter. I hope you'll continue reading because it kind of helps knowing that someone somewhere out there is reading what I'm going to say next. I just hope you, my dear reader can benefit from my story.
It's merely 3.41AM and I am feeling empty. It's not the kind of emptiness that overwhelms you in tsunamis of water, neither is it splashes of water. It just didn't seem to have a place, it wasn't really anywhere, it was kinda just there. Haunting me.
I had just finished my O level examinations, and where I come from, it's one of the most major exams in my life. It determined my future. So like any other schooling teenager in this country, I studied for it. Not just the kind of studying where you listen in class or read the textbook and do your homework. The kind of study where I could go on without sleep for days or taking shot after shot of expresso just to keep myself going or regurgitating word for word an entire essay. All because I knew how important this was to me and my family and my future. Every day of the week was dedicated towards memorizing, every minute of the day was devoted towards practicing, and every second of the minute was committed towards reading. Basically, every millisecond was crucial. And this was something I abided by religiously. But despite my efforts, I was still struggling. I simply couldn't do well. And when you put your heart and soul into something and it just doesn't go how it's supposed to, you get really broken, destroyed. You never know what went wrong and you question many things about yourself and you start running in circles, thinking and digging. The failure I was faced with consumed me with defeatism and self hate. I broke down more often than I should as the days to my exam drew closer, and I grew more anxious and scared. So ******* scared of the future.
Bear with me, please.
Anyway, the week of my exams came quickly. Despite my efforts to slow down time, time had done just the opposite. It was the most painful and suffocating weeks of my life. And although I am one to say that lightly, this easily took the crown. I have never, ever in my life felt this close off the ledge. And there were many times were I have came very close off the ledge. My exams lasted for around 3 weeks, and each morning I had to have at least a triple shot expresso and each night I before I went to sleep, there would be these images and thoughts telling me that I didn't deserved to sleep and I shouldn't even think about it. But when I did catch some sleep, the constant fears in my day had took over my nights. I would always dream about failing the exam, or being late for the exam, or forgetting to bring something to the exam, or killing myself before the exam. It was impossibly horrible and I could actually feel my soul getting depleted by the minute. Like the 'me' in my body was slipping away and there would soon be nothing harboring my body. I often find myself crying to sleep, and waking up in tears. I couldn't stand being so weak and vulnerable, but I felt absolutely defenseless against everything around me. Even the ones that loved me couldn't make me feel human, I felt like I was already dead and my body was still alive. I felt like I was constantly suffocating and nobody could see it. Each day felt so purposeless, ironically. (It being my exams week) Waking up each and every day was draining and having to face my eminent fate was painful. A physical kind of pain where you felt lightheaded and spinning but yet caged and choked. It's hard to describe.
So, it isn't hard to tell that I wasn't in the right state of mind to take my exams. I just dragged myself through those past couple of weeks, doing what I could. Each breath felt labored and each thought in my head wore me down greatly. I broke down frequently before my papers, and there would always be this couple of schoolmates who say things like "You'll do fine, stop worrying." Or "Just do your best. Whatever will be, will be." My parents would even try to tell me to take it easy and "We'll be proud as long as you've tried your best." I know that they mean well. But no, you don't understand. I have worked too ******* long and too ******* hard to watch it all slip away from me just like that. It isn't just some national exam I have to study for, it was my godforsaken passport for the future. All that I have done for this exam, all that I have forsaken, all that I have gone through was for myself. It was the dedication of every ounce of strength that I had so that I could let myself believe that hope existed. And I had just watched it being snatched away from me, right before my own sunken in, swollen eyes. And it hurt like hell knowing that I've tried my best for it, and it is a reflection of what I've worked for. Nobody's going to look at C's and D's and see the reflection of an "overnight mugger", they'll see what comes to mind first: a lazy, complacent teen. And as the saying goes, "The lie, if repeated a hundred times, becomes the truth." All my hard work will be forgotten. And it will be like it never existed before.
Maybe some might think that all this is stupid. All this I go through for one exam, I know many of my schoolmates think that way. But the complex feelings that I experience for this exam isn't just because of my future. My life depends more than it should on this exam because it will prove to me that I am not a failure and I am not as stupid as I think I am. I want to know where my best truly is and where I stand. Because I have never worked for anything in my life but this exam has been the great exception. It was the key driving force of my life, it was what wore me down and spurred me on at the same time. I don't want people to tell me that I am capable and that I am smart, because I will never believe you. I need this exam to show me that I am capable and I am smart. I want to believe it too.
So I lie in bed at 4.17AM now feeling so afraid of the future. And I used to be the kid that depended on the prospect of a better day. I have yet to meet my impending doom, and if you are wondering, I collect my results next year in January. So now, I am lost and alone. And empty.
Thank you if you've read this far, I just hope that you, my dear reader, if you've ever felt useless, or not good enough or you're just hurting, know that you are not alone and there is someone that knows how you feel. I would tell you to be strong, but only you can do that for yourself. Just hang in there.