Offbeat

via Daily Prompt: Heal

She fixed her gaze on the tattered drum sticks she has been holding on her hands. She snickered sardonically, followed by tears, streaming down her eyes.

It was rather impulsive, how it all started. On her way back to her shoe box of an apartment, she discovered the building next to the printing service was no longer vacant. Three men were moving in some musical instruments to the three-storey building, and she suddenly felt a tap on her shoulder. It was the owner-slash-teacher, being friendly as he handed her a brochure to ask if she’d be interested to try out any musical instrument on the next 4 weeks for free. Thinking it’s a good chance to find a new hobby to get her mind out of work, she agreed.

After the second week, she was pretty convinced she wanted to learn how to play the drum. Other than having puddings for dessert after every meal, playing the drum also was as much as a childhood dream she wanted to fulfill. For the first time in her life, she enrolled to a class voluntarily–even spent some money from her own pocket for it.

She had no idea when in the timeline that it became more serious and less a hobby than she initially planned it to be. But it probably started on her fourth month, where she felt she has invested quite enough for her to be decent on playing simple, slow beats.

Never had she felt such competitiveness and ambition coming from her own self; but maybe that was residue of a family-imposed habit that for decades had unconsciously shaped her: to excel at everything you are responsible of.

It doesn’t help that she hasn’t eased in well with the new job she took just a couple of months before she took the drum lessons. Many a days, she looked to the mirror every morning, only to feel like she was just playing dress-up, just to look professionally acceptable enough. Many a times, she was unable to get proper sleep as she mulled over the things she “should” sweat over: Did I offend the coworker by being outspoken? Did I threw off the boss by pointing out where the project currently lacks? Did he take it too personally? Did I email the counterparts as properly as expected? 

Surely, having this determination to do the best was definitely a value one would think is appropriate to teach the kids. But not so much when it was oriented mainly towards the result, and not the process. Not to mention that it builds this perception that she could do anything as long as she tried hard enough.

Eight months in and she still cannot get a hang out of a basic 4/4 rock beat.

It strikes her that she was probably just not good at this particularly; she could just learn a lot of other stuff quicker than this. It shouldn’t bruise her ego or anything. But every time she missed a beat, it hurt her. It left her as frigid as much as every time she saw the disappointed look in her supervisor’s eyes, telling that her thoughts and actions didn’t reflect the best interest of the company.

No one could be any more dismissive to someone past their mid-twenties and them being a klutz. It’s just, how do they call it, “too much”.

As her tears dried, she stood up, grabbed her jacket and walked across the street to see if she can still catch her tutor before he closed the place for the day. Since she cannot just terminate her contract with the company, she decided to spare herself from the growing sense of self-inflicted inadequacy that might just push her to the brink of despair. Thank God refusing to give up out of the fear of “losing” to oneself has begun to sound ridiculous in her head.

He was just locking the doors to leave when she called out to him and say she’d like a break. She was waiting for a barrage of “Why?” or “Oh, don’t give up just yet!” coming from him, only to be welcome by a simple, “Sure. That’s okay.” She felt foolish for thinking a teacher would keep a student without talent or any form of progress, but then he beat that thought off of her head by saying, “Drop by again sometimes, though. There are only guitar classes on Thursdays, so if you miss having a bit of practice, you can just go to the classroom and try out some beats yourself.” She welcomed the gesture and muttered him a small thanks as he shrugged it off and waved her good night.

She was quite glad that she could let go of one burden and possibly revisit it as a hobby in the near future. But mostly, she was glad that she tried.

If only the same can be said for the job. But of course, that’s exactly why it would never cease being a little– how should one call it?–“too much”.

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Not For Long

Two months in the job, and I’m back. I am utterly disappointed with myself with the lack of stories I have posted in the past month, but I am so ready to rant out. How bloody typical of a millennial, I know.

Let me begin by saying this: I don’t exactly know what to feel anymore about this whole job and adulting that follows. But not in any way that it makes things more acceptable.

Surely, I am slightly more familiar with the dynamics at work, which somehow makes me feel more at ease and efficient with my tasks. This is all due to the kindness and laughter gladly shared by some of the fellows I met at the office, and the support of my loving parents for the food, the ride and the ears after every rough day; I can’t thank you enough for bearing with my cluelessness and, more often than not, my rambling spree.

And a huge shout-out to my friends for their comfort, humor and energy. Those video and voice calls certainly have made each of my weekends merrier.

Despite such immense support and the somewhat considerable adaptability with work, I am even more convinced that I may not stick to this in the long run.

There’s no progress with any kind of happy feeling when I receive the paycheck, which has been a tell-tale sign since last month. What makes it even worse is the fact that it doesn’t give me the most feeble amount of joy nor relief when I get to contribute to the family this month, to the extent that it doesn’t waver my consideration not to stay in the job. Not even for a teeny bit longer than previously agreed.

I reckon this is just a process of me knowing myself better; not by specifically defining things that I like, but by realizing things I don’t. And part of that realization is that I caught myself thinking, “Damn, maybe I really just don’t have the eye for whatever the society thinks is the finer things in life. Shit, I do put more importance in the sense of fulfillment in something I need to do repetitively to survive.”

No, it’s not that I took this job, wide-eyed, with hands on my hips, looking to the distance, saying,”Yes, I am finally entering society like the responsible adult that I am, and I am so going to do well at the job because dammit I am significant in preserving the well-being of this institution.” No. Just, really? Is there anyone in their right mind who shares that thought? Especially with the position I took, anyone who dare say it’s a fancy ass job must be out of their minds.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s not that I have high expectations coming to the line of work, thus the disappointment and the whining. It’s that I approach it with the lowest of all expectations–close to none, if you will–yet it still feel a little too much, and that eats my soul every fucking day. I mean, heck, even when shit happened in my daily life, I used to be able to create something out of it. Now I can’t, which is precisely what I fear most even before I start the job; not being able to do stuff I enjoy, even merely as a hobby. And I am not willing to simply hang in there and made it through ’til it consumes me whole.

Undoubtedly, I will be all hot and cold nearing the end of the contract, but to hell with it, I’m calling it now: complacency is out of the question. Why wouldn’t it be when my sanity is at stake?

So I’ll grit my teeth to the bruise in the meantime, but not until the pain spreads that I can no longer move my legs.

God, that was cheesy as fuck. Sorry. But you get the point.

On that note, I am happy to say that I can cross that concern off the list. Now, onto the hastening of the initial plan and being more decisive in the next 10 months. Welp, won’t that be an exciting mess.