For most 14-year-olds, summertime is akin to being in paradise. No homework, no exams, no demanding teachers – just lots of time to relax with friends at the beach and even earn extra money from a part-time job. Indeed, if Christmas is for children, then summer is definitely for the teenagers. It is the season when a teen experiences many things for the first time – first job, first kiss, first beer, etc.
Or so they say. If summer really is for the teen, then why am I in a stuffy classroom instead of in the beach? I am taking summer classes – for failing three subjects in the previous school year.
And this is not the first time that this happened to me. Fluking subjects and attending summer classes as a result is already a yearly ritual for me. I sometimes think that I am like the rich people who have summer houses, except that mine is furnished with a blackboard, desks, chairs and lockers.
But there are instances when not even humor can soften the hurt. Almost all my life, people have been telling me to “shut up” and calling me names such as “lazy,” “stupid” and “weird.” When I was a kid, my mom used to yell at me because she though that I was not listening to what she was saying to me. But I really was listening to her; it was just that I cannot make sense of what she was saying to me.
Everyone at home now knows better than to ask me to do a chore.
The only time they ask me to do one is when there really is nobody else who will do it. Perhaps it is because I cannot follow instructions. No matter how many times mom or dad tell me how to do something, I always end up bungling it. There were also instances when I just suddenly lose interest in a certain errand and leave it undone.
A couple of months ago, mom asked me to prepare dinner because she was not feeling well. Despite myself, I really love to cook. Salads, one of my favorite foods, are my specialty. And so I chose to make vegetable salad and microwave some frozen fish fingers for dinner. I was already arranging sliced tomatoes in beds of lettuce when I decided to fix peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead. But while preparing the sandwiches, I suddenly changed my mind again – I went to the living room and watched television.
About half an hour later, mom went down to check if dinner was already done. What she saw really upset her – a large bowl of half-prepared salad, along with vegetable peelings and peanut butter and jelly spread on the kitchen counter. She called me from the living room and shouted that I was “no good” and that I was intentionally making things difficult for her. Although she was not feeling well, she had no choice but to make dinner herself. I ended up going to bed with an empty stomach – the episode robbed me of my appetite.
School was much worse. I was nearly expelled from kindergarten because of my “disruptive behavior.” While the rest of the class was listening to the teacher read a story, I was staring out into the window. Things got worse as I got older. It was extremely difficult for me to focus on exams, homework and projects. I got low grades as a result – the most common complaint written on my report card was I needed to “focus on getting work done.”
I likewise had difficulty making friends. Almost all of my classmates were annoyed at me for just intruding into their conversations. Some of them already told me to “shut up” right in front of my face. I know butting in is rude, but I cannot help but do it repeatedly. It is like I have a million ideas going inside my mind and I feel like I will explode if I do not open my mouth and share them with others, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate for me to do so.
I want to do a lot of things for myself. I want to travel, meet new people and learn how to cook. I see myself becoming a chef in the future – a really good chef that specializes in Mexican food. I would also love to have pets, as I believe that they would make better friends than people. So many dreams, so many goals…
Now if only I could stop attending summer classes for good.