Childhood Anecdotes

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I’ve been very tired all week. And I still couldn’t figure out why. Maybe I’ve been thinking too much, worrying too much, sleeping too much. Oh yes, too much sleep could make your muscles sore! At least to me it happens.  Whenever I get inexplicably tired like this, I write it all down. So this is my attempt at feeling better.

My ever-smart boyfriend told me that I have been putting too much pressure on myself. My academic adviser said the same thing. And maybe I am doing too much. I’m trying to accomplish too much in too little a time. And I don’t know why I’m in such a hurry. Maybe, in this generation, there really is this pressure to excel, to make a name for oneself. I see all my friends from my uni getting all these scholarships and fellowships for study abroad, and somehow I feel inadequate. But then again, I’ve had my share of the academic life — a life of papers, deadlines, documentations and citations, and conferences and talks. I don’t like it.

Sure, there’s a part of me that’s passionate about gaining new knowledge and a better understanding of how the society around me works. I’m still very curious about seemingly mundane things, like why people always drop paper clips or why paper clips are shaped that way or why computer screens are rectangular and not circular, or why, when we think about framing a photograph, we think in terms of the four angles of a square.  Ah, for the last one, I recently found out that photographs could have been circular! But because back then, it was a new technology that was still gaining acceptance from the more prestigious field of painting, it had to follow the conventions of visual arts.  The canvas is rectangular; therefore, the photograph had to follow suit.

But I digress… But then, what was I talking about? I don’t even remember.  Oh, writing! Yes, that’s it! Ah, I remember the first time I got published.  I was eleven, and I sent two poems for our school paper, and they got published during Christmas season. So it was an early Christmas present for me. A year after that, I won a story writing contest; I wrote a short story about taking care of nature, and I had to read it in front of the whole sixth grade population. It was quite embarrassing, but they seemed to like it. I had many other experiences where I told stories in front of the class, and I delighted in seeing their awed or scared or teary-eyed faces. My favorite was when I was ten, and our English teacher had us tell the class an original story purely in English. The title of my story was “Poinsettia”, and it was a horror story. It was about a girl, an heiress to a business empire, who was raped and buried alive. Her parents were killed soon after. And their business rivals prospered. Well, you can guess what happened next. She rose from the grave, still as beautiful as ever, but very cold, and exacted revenge on the rival company. But not before falling in love with the rival company’s heir. Ah, I can’t remember what happened. But I must have watched too many episodes of Detective Conan.

So what is the point of all this? Looking back at what I wrote, I seem to be bragging, aren’t I? But these things are hardly to be bragged about. They are just small anecdotes from a childhood that was built around writing stories. You could say that writing gave me the freedom to stay sane. I gained the love and acceptance I wanted from writing; it was my fictions and not my realities that saved me. And it’s not even the prizes or awards or the awed faces of my classmates. It was more the escape to a different world, populated by things I could control. Come to think of it, the fictional worlds I created were all fictions, lies. And in grade school, I was the greatest liar of them all.

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