“That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every mistake, every word, all of it.”
– Joan Didion, “Goodbye To All That”
When I realized that my dismal academic performance in October would most likely delay my graduation, I broke down.
But it wasn’t immediate, the breaking down. Sometime in mid-October I started getting back my exam results — all failing grades, all below class average — but I didn’t cry just yet. There were moments when my chest would feel an aching tug, but I also had other exams and other assignments and other reports to worry about.
For three weeks I stayed late in the library grinding problems that took me hours to solve. There were days when I simply did not go home. I slept on swivel chairs and took showers in the university gym just so I could make it to class on time the next day. Unfortunately living closer to school is too expensive for my budget. My part-time salary is just enough to cover the bills at home, and the rest of my savings are already allotted for tuition.
So I was always tired last month, always trying to catch up to lessons that were already beyond what my brain could understand. To console myself I started a routine of catching a movie every Friday night — a small reward, sort of, because I like movies and I like quiet spaces and I tend to find solace in near-empty places.
It was one Friday night during the drive home from the cinema when I finally broke down. Something about that night broke me, and suddenly all the Disappointments and the Frustrations and the Sadness were too volatile to contain. I bawled alone in the car that windy autumn evening.
Everything fell apart after that Friday. Instead of spending my nights in the library, I started going home after school without doing any schoolwork. I started skipping classes too. I have not gone to any of my classes in the last two days. Bakit pa ako mag-aaral e hindi ko rin naman mage-gets? Bakit pa ako magpupuyat e ibabagsak ko rin naman ‘yung test? I lost all the motivation to try harder.
I don’t know if I could regain the strength to go through this thankless cycle again. I already dread waking up every day, and most days I just hope for the world to finally perish. (I also feel bad for thinking this, knowing that there are people out there who live in dire conditions and are already being treated like perishable objects.)
In any case, that was how my October went. Ayoko na pagod na ako, is all I’m trying to say.