Failure + Scum + Loser = You name it, I’ve felt it (Worst day ever)
Have you ever had that one moment where you’ve just screwed up so badly and you feel like the lamest person on earth and all of a sudden it feels like everyone is picking up on your bad vibes and staying within a thirty feet radius of you?
Join the club.
Looking back on it, it was probably the worst day that i had during my six month stay in Indonesia this year. Even worse than the time i showed up to Typography class with a pathetic pop-up name card that i had tiresomely hand-cut myself after hours of youtube “lessons” complete with my name “creatively” drawn in marker, only to find that i had underestimated the skills of my peers who turned out to be graphic-designing prodigies/BAMFs.
But back to the main story, not only did it make me feel like the lowest, most incompetent scum ever, it also made me realize just how feeble the “friendships” i thought i had forged were. It all started with my final assignment for “batik” which meant that we didn’t have any written exams but we had to design and create our own batik cloths at a workshop under a certain criteria and hand it to our lecturer. We were given a month but being the procrastinating pariah that i am, i went in once during the first week, realized i was way ahead of the others who hadn’t even shown up yet and sunk back into my comfort zone. Also because the first experience i had left me with an excruciating backache. All i did was trace my design in wax, you guys, but it took me five freaking hours. And the worst thing is that out of, idk some morbid nod to tradition or something, they only gave us this tiny stool which accommodated about one half of my left butt cheek so i sat my ass there (because no way in hell was i going to come in for another back-breaking session) from morning to noon with no lunch (partly because no one invited me to join them.
Bitches) or water because i had left my bottle at home.
So that was enough to keep me away for the next three weeks and long story short, by the time i went back there, it was about two working days before submission date and everyone else was wrapping up. Needless to say, i was way behind and everyone noticed it. I wouldn’t have cared so much because with my bad habits i’ve grown accustomed to dodging headlines and also because i work best under pressure. But it was this distinct sense of snooty disapproval that seeped out from the very pores of my classmates that made me so wary of my shortcomings. Their wariness made me jittery and anxious to put the gears in motion which in turn, did no good to my productivity as i was clumsy, thick-fingered, messy and just a little too sweaty.
Although it the very height of my incompetence that very nearly did me in. I was standing at the table, coloring in my cloth with the dye when all of a sudden i stub my foot on the leg of the table and completely spill an entire cup of dye on. my. virgin. cloth. The other girls who were there with me gasped and hurriedly grabbed their own cloths and while i had embarrassingly and reflexively yelled “SHIIIIIIIT”, there was this terrible silence where no one said anything.
More than anything i was pissed. Pissed at how clumsy i was, pissed at how fucking ghetto the place was (we used flimsy plastic cups to hold the fabric dye with long brushes sticking out of them for God’s sake, we had to bend down and pick up a hose off the sopping wet floor if we wanted to wash anything, the fucking table had about six legs jutting out at odd angles with spokes poking out of them eugh), pissed at how everyone was averting their eyes as if i was the biggest disgrace to ever walk the face of the earth and just pissed that i was the only one thick enough to create such a disaster. But most of all, i was pissed at how embarrassed and ashamed of myself i was feeling when in reality, it should have been nothing more than a personal accident.
But from that moment onwards, the entire fucking day, i was completely shunned. People barely spoke to me and it almost felt like they were scared of me and i was being avoided because they detected negative vibes on me and didn’t want to be affected by it. Like my bad luck was contagious. Where i come from, i’d like to think that as nosy as people are, they’d still acknowledge it with some nonsensical formality like, “omg are you okay?” or even a “damn, son”, something, anything! I had never felt so humiliated.
The worst part after that was staying out of everyone’s hair. Feeling like a nuisance, i sat on the steps in front of the clothes line and waited for my freshly rinsed cloth to dry while everyone else resumed with whatever they were doing. I watched them from afar as they huddled around the table (a.k.a. my crime scene), afraid that if i went anywhere near them, they’d scatter like rats, afraid of being contaminated. I suppose i would understand that to some extent because if i was hard at work with my assignment and some klutz came near me, i guess i’d also want to hot foot it out of there. But i wouldn’t make it so damn obvious.
At the end of the day as the workshop signaled its closing hours, i wearily made my way to the gates and one of the batik workshop workers called out to me. A weathered man with a kind face and rough hands, he asked me with a sad smile, “Udah mau pulang? Sendiri? Gak ada yang temenin? (Going back home? On your own? Don’t you have anyone to accompany you?)”. And i cheerily replied, “Oh gak ada! Haha gak pa pa sih, pak. Duluan yaa.. (Oh no, it’s fine! Haha i’m okay. See you!)” but i just felt so miserable inside. He must have seen how everyone was going back in pairs, laughing their way out of the gates in clusters and then there was me. The awkward foreign exchange student (everyone knows they’re weird right?) walking fifteen minutes past traffic on the dusty road out to the the nearest public transport terminal because she doesn’t have her own car and eventhough most of her classmates have cars and could probably save her the time, she’d rather chew off her fingers one by one than ask them.
It really wasn’t a big deal but because of the way that my accident was received by my peers, it magnified everything and as a result i felt ten times worse than i should have, rather than worry about the fate of my assignment and whether i’d be finished in time, i was treading around on tippy toes and walking around like a lost soul afraid to spread anymore of my misfortune on anyone else. It shouldn’t have had such an effect but it just goes to show how failure is perceived by some. Like it’s almost a crime. Is there any wonder how people are so harsh on themselves to strive for perfection?
But i suppose if there was anything good to be taken from this terrible day, it was looking at the rest of my colleagues’ designs and realizing then and there just how often i make excuses for myself. Usually, i’d go “oh i’m not an art student therefore i can’t draw well. I write better, this is just my breadth module” and so on so forth but seeing how half of peers are from other faculties as well as seeing how their designs were like freaking Picasso’s made me realize that the reasons that i’d usually content myself with in Brunei, just doesn’t fly in the “real world”.
Sigh. Proof-reading this post, it makes me seem like a really shady person. But i swear i do better as a non-foreign exchange student. I have a 3.5 CGPA, y’guys (although i think that’s about to go down with this stupid semester)! It was just unfortunate placement that put me in the awkward situation of coping from being an all essay-writing Communications major/English literature minor to taking five modules in an irrelevant foreign university, none of which did not involve me drawing or “designing” something every week (guys, i don’t even know how to use Photoshop, let alone digitally animating things).
But lol there i go again with my excuses.
That’s enough depressing material for tonight, i suppose! xx