First thing that sits on my mind so often now, is the confusion that how a person, so determinedly wanting to be devoid of responsibilities, can end up with so many.
I have not the least ambition in power or position, much less wealth, I would ask only that enough to sustain a reasonable living, perhaps allowing myself to do daily groceries at Marks&Spencers. Harrods and Bond Street are for window-shopping, and I have no desire whatsoever to become one of the tight-lipped, needle-heeled, anorexic or otherwise hungover celebrities that walk through these empty streets, no matter how glittering their Dior or Prada looks on them.
Turn the corner and we come to Oxford Street, perhaps one of the most famed streets in the world, more lively, vibrant, yet somewhat lacking in class - Here we have Lillywhites, cheap sportswear that everyone buys in bundles but later chuck away the bag because it is embarrassing to be seen going around carrying them.
The things you wonder, when you are slap right in the middle of Central London. I am five-minutes away from Waterloo, and I can see the London Eye from my window. The Houses of Parliament also. If I squinted a little, I can read the time from the Big Ben. And the definite resonate of the Bell at every hour, even deep into the night.
Sometimes when emotions are fragile, I cannot help but be afraid. The Big Ben strikes just now, as if in accordance to my words.
While most people regard this year as the second year of undergraduate study, it is also the penultimate year. Most also agree university is the best years of youth. You either get totally wasted, a chance you won’t have again when you evolve into responsible adults, or you can be productive and go on to do great things, at the hidden expense of… let’s just say, the mainstream isn’t capable of great things.
It’s a big scary world out there, and I’m peeking over the windowsills. This alone is enough to make me feel damn frightened.
I have no work experience save the one-week compulsory attendance at a Chinese community; my only volunteering experience was with Stonewall - it may be the largest gay-rights advancement charity in the UK, but it’s not mainstream like Oxfam. I’m sorry, but I just don’t give a sh*t about Oxfam, ChristianAid, PETA, NCPCA, or GreenPeace. By staring at the blank document that sits forever under the name My CV, I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of defeat. There isn’t one part of me that I’d proudly present to the outside world and say confidently, “none of you can do this but me”.
The only achievement I’ve been praised so often on is my ability to wield two languages, and that also, by chance, is the only achievement which I do not take pride in myself. So I am bilingual, and can speak English perhaps better than most Chinese ever will. So I don’t have a typical Chinese accent, instead sound like a British-born, or even close to a Royal. What difference does it make? One can just as easily get directions by asking, “Big Ben, where to?”, rather than initiating a proper British enquiry, “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt but could you possibly tell me which is the best way to the Houses of Parliament?”
I smile politely every time someone tells me how they admire my English. But how can one feel proud of something they did not willingly achieve? I was dropped in by the deep end, forced, pushed, made to speak the language. So that I will understand when I’m being insulted with a smile, so that I can tell them Hong Kong is not a part of Japan. I learnt English en-route, needing no textbooks or oral teachers, only the fierce determination to prove to them that I was not stupid. I have now done exactly that, yet feel otherwise.
The friend, my first friend at Camden, the girl who carefully explained to me the word ‘fart’, now relies on me for any word with more than four syllables. When group writing a poster, the job to pen the sentences so that they will be succinct and accurate, is down to me. The surprise on my professors’ face when they discover I only arrived in London seven years ago not knowing a word. The bewilderment they express when I start talking entirely if not more fluidly in Mandarin or the dialect, in between English words.
Moments such as these I treasure, but from a resentful heart. Not truly an achievement in the purest sense, but a payback, an ‘in-your-face’ remark to all the snide laughter and malevolent comments I have received in the early years. Yet the feeling of hallowness will never go away, because I have lost contact with all those who have looked down upon me, and my improvement is almost certainly lost on them.
It both annoys and pains me to think that while I involuntarily care so much for their petty words and deeds, they remain oblivious of it all their life.
Every single one of my rants come back to the same topic, I know, I bore myself. Yet I can’t help but wonder when I can truly let go, of the self-pity and self-pride that are both so extreme they are like venom, like nightmares, so vividly that they return to me like a haunting ghost.
The time for carefree youth is long since gone. Troubled adolescence kicks in perhaps later than it should have. One become more daring, less limited to imagination. I have already done things that pushes my usual self-limits, and the consequences, if there ever shall be a consequence, remains to be seen.
Hence I conclude, perhaps without the remotest idea what I just wrote in the past one-thousand words. Occasionally there is no one better to talk to but yourself.
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