Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well.

Here I go again, plotting my escape from reality, if only for a month. I didn’t plan on applying for any programme this year, honestly. Thought I’d be content working and going on a short trip to Canada for my cousin’s wedding. But then came the trigger, & I realised that I needed to leave. 

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I know that I’m lucky enough to be able to run away for awhile whenever I have to, & for that I owe my parents a lot. I promise that these investments in my education will pay off. I’m really unmotivated and lazy right now, but I swear I’ll get my act together soon. 

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You see, going to summer school is like indulging in a fantasy for me – living the life I could have had if I’d been accepted to Sciences Po. If my parents had let me do some random French degree. If my German had been good enough for me to enter a university there. 

Alone abroad, I’m not the girl who carries around a certain sadness – the feeling of invisibility; the knowledge that my options are limited. I’m the girl who is brave enough to go it alone and do things that I want to do, like visit an old jazz bar. Here, I’m …constantly reminded that I will lose. I will never be what people want. & I just get so frustrated and sad that I tell myself that I must go somewhere far away, where at the very least I could hope for something to happen. 

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For me to fall in love, not necessarily with someone, but with life again. To remember what it means to truly live. To remind myself that the world isn’t just my social circle, or NUS, or Singapore. That there are so many people out there I haven’t met yet; so many things I haven’t done. 

Not for the first time that day, I felt like crying when my mum told me to stop expecting boys to be any different. It wasn’t about him per se – I have absolutely no desire to be with him anymore. I know that I’m being very extreme about lunch and a card – but it angers me to think that I wasted genuine feelings on someone who didn’t read fiction, dismissed French as useless, and was a liar. I remember how nervous and excited I was to talk to him and to put that card on his table in the morning. & I remember the hollow feeling that followed, when I realised that I would never get a reply.

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Now a year later, he’s added my friend on FB. Not me- I haven’t gotten my much-needed closure.Chelsea said that I could do much better- I know that. I just don’t know if Mr. Much Better would like me back.

& somehow I feel like his actions were – are – representative of all the unspoken rejections I’ve faced. Guys don’t want girls like you. You take things too seriously. They just want to have fun. You’re not pretty enough. You’re too shy. Be more proactive. 

So I flee, bent on finding a better version of myself, the one I actually want to be. Then I come back and the whole darn cycle starts again. I want to work hard, I really do. I hate rehashing the same old problems and finding only temporary solutions. Am I asking for someone to fix me? Maybe. But that’s too heavy a burden to bear. All I want is to be a normal girl.

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This sounds extreme again, but sometimes I wish to strip myself of my femininity – shave my head and say, I’m done with society’s superficiality and standards of ‘pretty’. & I will do it someday. 

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