Growing up as an extrovert kid who wasn’t cool enough to hang out with, I had no choice but to succumb to becoming an introvert and finding solace in books. This gracious experience of life has given me first-hand experience on how-not-to-spend-your-school-years.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret reading books… that was probably the only productive thing that I did all those years and that has been my source of earning and eating since. But I made a plethora of mistakes that I do regret and am gracious enough to share; though it belongs to a dark lonely place in my heart which no one has had access to, yet.
So now that I’ve made you folks realize how privileged you are, let’s go back to the year 2000.
An ordinary looking girl of age 6 couldn’t go to her school in the first week because she fell prey to chicken pox and when she managed to shake those small scratchy little zits off her, she was left with a face and body full of spots and a class of little girls who already knew each other and had formed their little cliques by the time she could say “Hi, my name is…Hamna”.
Yes, so Rule #1, don’t get chicken pox on the first week of your new school!
Life moved on, people started accepting the tomboy who was considered “creative” by many. If you’re not good at maths or rote-learning and have slightly better grammar aesthetics than the rest of the 3rd graders (courtesy cartoons) along with a mischievous mind, then you are bound to be branded: creative. With the burden of this word I tried to perform better in arts while continuing to suck at the rest of the subjects (with the exception of English).
Rule #2 don’t get branded creative. When the false impression breaks, you’re left with the pieces of an ordinary personality.
Then came 4th grade, where surprisingly, a teacher started to give me a lot of attention. And here is a problem with attention folks! Especially if it comes from a teacher; it would be followed by 2 things. 1. Hate from the smart kids 2. Expectations from the said teacher. With the existing burden of an artsy student, I was also a smart kid now! Inspite of the smart girls scheming against me, I managed to actually score a position that year!
Which brings us to Rule #3 Don’t act like a smartass if you can’t keep the façade for the rest of your life.
The image broke slowly then all at once as my interest in education and arts was replaced with making new friends in every year and forgetting about the older ones! Either I wasn’t acceptable to them or I couldn’t continue pretending to be what they were. Yes, you heard it right. I pretended to be many different characters during my school life: the cool kid, the nerd, the I-don’t-care-about-this-shit-we-are-all-gonna-die-anyway-person,the bitchy bitch, the rebel and my most favorite, the oversensitive-chatty gal. New group, new roles… no I’m not bipolar, and no, I don’t have split personality disorder.
Rule #4 Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not! But if you don’t know who you are or you don’t belong, it’s alright to be part of the herd mentality. They aren’t beneath you and they give you insights for your future roles! 😉
My extra-curricular included ditching every Physical Training class, quitting making my ordinary art pieces and managing to skip every musical audition. I didn’t sound like a horse or an elephant, that’s just something us not-so-melodious people say to be modest, but I pretty much sucked at it. My list of things I sucked at also included elocution (couldn’t rote learn) and acting (because I was busy doing real-life drama starring hamnamon in a million roles) and writing poetry.
Rule #5 Do what you suck at, give people a chance to laugh. What is life if not giving people ample opportunities to laugh at you uncontrollably and continue mocking you for the rest of the academic year! Right?
So I managed to complete my matriculation with some very ordinary grades, no extra-curricular, no friends in the “I’d rather die than leave them” category. But wait a second! In all that pandemonium, I learnt. I think I didn’t lose much, did I? I know my experiences seem rather ordinary as compared to the chick-flicks where all the different cliques form one HIPPEST GROUP OF THE WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE, but considering every chick flick has that ending, isn’t that the new ordinary? I know my experiences don’t sound like HIGH SCHOOL GOALS but today I can sit with any group and talk about any topic without them knowing that I’m not one of them. My school life is a documentary rather than a chick flick… and I’m not even complaining anymore. I guess all you have to do is, stay true to Yourself, if you can’t manage to be true to everyone at that moment. Stay instinctive, live in the moment and…just breathe. You will never get out of that mad house unscratched anyway, so forget the rules and follow your heart.