I’m afraid of telling everything or the significance of what changed me because in all honesty, if i keep it a secret, I can still pretend it’s fiction.
I hated school when I was little. English wasn’t my first language, but I became fluent after a few years in school. Although I became fluent, communication was still a struggle for me and in many ways, it still is. The neighborhood that I lived in was like the melting pot of everything sweet, bitter, sour, and spice. I felt very secure in my neighborhood—in all its crimes and glory. But when it was time for school, I had to travel further than most of the kids in my area. I went to a “middle class” school, (but at that time, I thought everyone was just rich) but the school didn’t necessary take me in; I was shoo away, an outcast because I wasn’t compatible to their standards. To them, I was hopeless and they sent me away for additional “help.” Naturally, I fell behind. But that’s okay, I should have taken the initiative to study by myself because screw them; I never needed them anyway, right? But the topic isn’t entirely about the inadequacy of our education system. No, the thing that I struggled the most while in school was their lack of consideration and ignoring/shunning everything that was beyond their social norms. Maybe because I was in a “middle class” school, they expected every one of us to come from a well off family and that everything in our life was just simple and dandy.
I dreaded the stupid ‘My Hero’ essay contest—it’s almost like a slap in the face. For some odd reason, almost, if not all, the kids elected their mothers and fathers as their heroes. I never entered the contest (I lie, I wasn’t eligible to enter…but that’s a different story for a different time); I never had a proper hero growing up (unless you can count Cat Woman or some other fictional characters with morals that’s a bit askew). It was a full-blown contest. We all had to sit there during the class assembly and wait for the contestants to reveal the identities of their heroes and their reasoning behind it. The first contestant was a boy, not from my class though. The said boy opened his essay reading the following line: “My hero is my dad.” I was dumbfounded. Did I hear right? (You would think that after the 10th contestant, it would have knocked me out of my state of shock and confusion, but nope, I was still in awe with everything). I’ll always remember this moment. I couldn’t comprehend how it was possible. Something’s wrong with me.
And from there, many more replicas of this feeling kept reoccurring throughout my life—reminding me what I don’t have and how abnormal that was. Mind you, I shouldn’t be comparing my life with other people’s life but I was young and I was confused. Think of it like…it was my first time being exposed to what families are really like because it really was my first exposure—my first realization.
Beside the essay contest, there was always this “open house” event or any school events where the school invites the students’ family to participate in their child’s academic-babble. Events like these always made me feel insecure; I was always that one kid standing there like an idiot because all the other kids were enjoying themselves with their families while I’m just there. Parents would congratulate their kids with praises, smiles, laughters, and hugs. I felt alone, but the weird thing is, I never sought out anyone to make my loneliness go away. I think the problem (is it a problem?) is that I was born into it and I don’t know what it is like to feel any other way. However, I naively thought that my family would magically change and morph into a real family like how the sitcoms portrayed them. (Oh, sitcoms, you misguided my little world). I was a naive child. (more…)