The Things I Traded Away

When I was young, I dreamed about everything every girl dream, precisely to have a happy ending. Mine was filled with a prince charming who’ll be as heroic and charming as those Barbie or Disney princes, a big estate with a pool and maybe horses, beautiful clothes to wear everyday, weekly parties where my friends and I will just dance and chill out, and never-ending joy. And then I grew up a little more and hoped that there will be prom and that someone will make me blush with a promposal. I also did hope that I’ll have the best senior picture taken (due to the influence of me looking through all the senior’s yearbook pictures since kindergarten), with the perfect makeup, the perfect dress and wonderful friends that I’ve known for so long.

Those were the dreams that filled my thoughts. I thought happy endings and happy lives were easy to get. Turns out, it’s the opposite. Little me would have never known.

Those movies I watched like Mean Girls, High School Musical 3, Twilight and Footloose influenced me so much that I get my hopes up too high that one day, I’ll have prom and it’ll be the best night of my life. I’ll maybe even become prom queen. It’s possible but unfortunately, my school has no such thing as prom. We have this thing called “Interact Night” where we go with a group of friends and just eat and not really dance. Trust me, my image of dances were not exactly how it looked like during “Interact Night”. All I saw were people jumping and jumping. That’s not exactly dancing and there weren’t any fancy special dresses or corsages or dates or limos but at least I had an experience close to prom.

Anyways, during the beginning of my fifth and last year of secondary school, I thought I was going to have my last “Interact Night” (which I would make sure was the best moment of my entire secondary life since my secondary life was pretty much an emotional whirlwind of pain and numbness) and that I would at least have one childhood dream checked off my list, that is taking the best senior picture. The seniors always have the best pictures. The rest of the school takes their pictures in uniforms while the seniors have pictures in both uniforms and nice dresses and suits. The seniors too have more pictures to take because apart from group photos, they take individual ones to. Furthermore, the seniors could pick the venue for the photo shoot too. Some chose the beach, others chose studios and sometimes, they have it at a nice place with a good background.

But the person I was during that time chose something different, abandoning my childhood dreams, leaving them to rot. I chose to leave. I chose to run. I chose to escape when I got news that I was allowed to skip my final year of secondary school and go straight into college. I smuggled my phone into school when I knew I wasn’t allowed to. When I got the text from my dad, I immediately rushed to the toilet and called him to confirm the news. Honestly right now, I have realized what I have done.

I traded my childhood dreams for an escape. 

Did I regret it? Maybe a little. But the person I was back then was so disappointed, distraught, depressed, lost, shaken, shattered and emotionally motivated to just throw everything away and find some breathing space elsewhere. To me, a little more breathing space sufficed, no matter where I was, as long as I was far away from the dreadful place with thousands of haunting memories. I could be lost in a forest and I wouldn’t even bother to try get out of it. It was really that bad back then when I was in that situation. At the same time, I was proud of myself for achieving such a feat that shook and surprised everyone around me because most people think I’m just an average school student with exemplary music qualifications that surpass many people.

Halfheartedly, I did try to convince myself that not getting  a nice yearbook picture was the least of my worries. I did tell myself that there’s nothing special about it and I always did picture it as something really fun to do with my classmates but they were not exactly the people I want to take my senior group pictures with too. I was not close to them since I shut myself off from most people during my terrible state of mind.

Looking back, those were not the only things I have traded. There was a competition where each groups will have to design and create fashionable clothes out of recyclable materials. I thought if I was able to win this, it would be a great chance for me to get more involved in the fashion industry. Being a fashion designer was my childhood career dream and it is now my secret career dream.

What happened back then was that I was forced to pick between my studies and the competition. The competition was in between my O levels exams. I had two different papers separated by a good four free days and I thought I could go and participate in the one day competition. My dad yelled at me, telling me that I have gotten all my priorities wrong. I was so upset that I locked myself in my room, looking at the things I have prepared for the competition. It made things worse knowing that I have already filled and handed in the form to my school teacher who wasn’t aware that I was missing plenty of school days because of the O levels exams I was secretly taking. I did have a good long cry in my room but after that, it was all about getting my priorities right.

That was when I knew I traded my dream for someone else’s dream.

Secretly, I still have a small flame of hope inside of me, staying alive from all the people trying to blow away the flame. If I have a chance one day, I’ll have to take it. And if reincarnation exist, I hope I do get a chance to fulfill my dreams in another lifetime.

I’m heartbroken. I feel as if I have let myself down all this while.

It is really sad how people ask me what my dream is and I tell them the dream planned out for me. I have nothing against the planned dream because I think I’ll do alright with it but still, it isn’t something I feel so passionate about. I guess I’m so used to the thought of myself in the future with the planned dream that I just go along with it. And somehow , it is etched into me like it has been a part of me since forever. Not everyone’s fortunate enough to change things around and not everyone has the support they want.

People laugh when I say I’m writing stories on Wattpad or I’m writing songs (it’s part of my secret dreams now). They say I won’t make it up there. Sometimes I get so discouraged by it but I know I have a friend that truly supports me and I don’t want to let her or myself down.

I traded a chance for the “right” answer too.

I told my mother I wanted to learn ballet. She brought me to watch ballerinas and then she brought me to watch violinists. I didn’t know why she brought me to watch violinists since I have never mentioned anything about learning how to play the violin. Then, she made me pick one. I was young and I assumed that picking ballet is the wrong answer because why would she give me another option? So I did what I assumed was the right move.

And honestly, I’m quite jealous of my ballerina friends. They could do so many graceful moves. I should have said I wanted both because I never regret being a violinist too. I was so stupid back then. I have never thought of it that way until I thought about how I started learning the violin.

So maybe one day, just one of these days I might get to experience prom. Maybe not at a high school or college level, but at university. I hope there’s one since there’s still time. And honestly, I probably moved on from the senior photo dreams. Maybe all I wanted was something significant to mark that I was done with secondary school.

Still, I’ll never forgive myself for letting my dreams slip inch by inch. Maybe there’s still hope for my dream career and all of my other dreams, excluding ballerina dancing. It’s too late for that.

So there’s that.

Signing off,

cloe_shadowscar

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