For the past weeks I have been itching to write but I pushed away my notebook, afraid of polluting it with my melancholic musings (just as I did years ago when I was sad teenager). It was my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 to avoid negative thoughts and feelings and I have no intention of breaking it. After all, I deserve to be happy, right?
But I just can’t feel happy right now.
I knew that at some point, the honeymoon stage will end and doubt will come but I never expected it to come this early. I never thought that my students will ever break my heart.
Recently, several students claimed that they have learned nothing from me. It hurt. I am hurting so much that the all the maybes have resurfaced and have now made a monster who nibbles on this passion that I have held on to all my life.
Maybe I really suck at teaching.
Maybe I am not what they need.
Maybe I have been wrong all this time.
Maybe I screwed it all up again.
Maybe mom’s right — maybe, a medical school is where I truly belong.
Or maybe, I should pursue a career in science, just as I was trained to do.
I thought passion and determination was enough. I thought I was enough. But as it turns out, I am not. That hurts when you think you have given all that you can.
Lately, I have been thinking: Should I stay? Do I love them enough to stay?
Hi! It’s a tad weird, isn’t it, that I’m writing you this rambling letter when we haven’t seen each other for almost five years and haven’t talked for almost seven years. Even weirder, I just realized that in a way, I miss you.
Today had been a rough day for me. Two of my kids (two of my students, I mean) got into a quite messy relationship squabble and dealing with each, sobbing but unapologetic, drained me so much. Trying to reason with 16-year-olds that some of the things they do now may become their future regrets is a pointless case. They are so in love with love just like almost every teenager out there. Just like I was. Just like you were (probably).
As I was scrolling down my feed earlier this night, trying to distract myself from the issue, I saw you instead. The heartbreak of losing a friend and the gnawing feeling that I did something stupid came back. Then I realized, you are one of my regrets.
Do you remember how I would sneak in your room just so I can talk with you? Do you remember when you calmly tried to teach a panicking me how to twirl the baton only a few days before the demo? Do you remember when you used to teach me physics because I was not ashamed to admit to you that I understood zilch in class? Do you remember that I had my first cup of coffee with you and I pretended that I like it strong because I was too lazy to go back and get sugar and cream?
I look back on these memories with a bittersweet smile. If that thing (you know what I mean) did not happen, who do you think we are today? Maybe we could still be the same as we were when we were fourteen — the inseparable twinsies. Or maybe, not inseparable but still good friends, always catching up on each other with a cup of coffee. I truly regret the friends we could have been.
Maybe someday, when we are women enough to actually face each other, we can meet up for coffee. I miss you, L. I really do. And yes, I have forgiven you.
Looks like my college memoir project has to wait. I am so sorry (is anyone even interested in finishing it, except for me?). But I have some good news though — I recently joined the work force! Finally. And it gets better — I am living the dream (insert silent kilig scream here).
Yes, the dream (nope, not writing). The one I have been imagining since I was ten years old. I am really now a teacher.
No one has any idea how happy I am now. I still do have a lot to learn and I always end the day feeling really tired but still, I am always excited to get up the next morning. It just feels too good to be true that sometimes, I wonder if the giddiness will ever wear off. I hope not for this is the best feeling I have ever been blessed with (yes, it is even more than love).
There are times though when I get frustrated by my relative inexperience whenever I see my students struggling to understand me. Each time a student raises a hand to tell me that I am using too complicated words or whenever they would look at me blankly as if I am talking alienese, I want to cry. But at the end of the meeting, when they say, “See you tomorrow, teacher!” or when I see them somewhere else and they run towards me just to say hello, I feel grateful to be given the chance to be their teacher. But sometimes, I still think, I am good enough for these kids? With their smiles, it feels like they are telling me, You’re not perfect but yes, you are.
It has only been more than a week since I started and I am already feeling overwhelmed. But it is a good feeling, like when you are working out and your muscles are burning yet you feel like you have more energy than you did before starting. Isn’t life wonderful? 🙂