I have come to realize that I should never write when I am hyperactive. In my rampancy of excitement and delight, my writing gets unstable, inconsistent. My teachers would surely criticize it to no end (and who could possibly blame them?). In fact, I had adopted the very same belief as them; I classed my “hyperactive writing” as something not worth reading being under the impression that yes, it resembled the writing of a thirteen-year-old dreamy lass. However, only now do I realize the silliness of such actions. It were the silly actions of a naive mind, desperate to grow older, wiser, to become independent, to evolve, to break free and to fly at last, to fly, not minding the wrathful winds, the scorching sun.
And everyone told us that we ought to grow up, too. The moment we entered High School we were children no longer. Of course, they did not say it in a straightforward manner, the way you expect someone to come up to you with bitter words and an even bitterer demeanour, waiting to you to hatch from your egg. Our teachers some times had a serious look plastered upon their faces, dry lips, scornful eyes, disappointed gleaming orbs. It is what I hate so much about the educational system in Greece, you are simply not an individual, you are a number in a mass — it is expected of you to learn things by heart, not to feel them and absorb them but to literally learn them by heart. Critical thinking? No, thanks. I will just have to learn by heart some introductions in Philosophy as well as 94 pages of history. And not to mention Latin and Ancient Greek. I am not allowed to have my own writing style, I am not allowed to breathe life through my words. No, they say we can do that after we finally are into a university. But I want to express myself now, now is my chance.
But unfortunately, we have to play by the ministry’s rules. And I never liked that, I hated it that, I was repulsed by my own being for having to do that. I remember bursting into tears at some point after our Literature classes and within my sobs with red-eyes and a swollen face I turned to my best friend and said, “I can’t do it. I can’t do it. This is not me. They will make me hate what I have always loved, they will make me hate –” more sobbing followed, more pathetic sobbing. It was the day when I realized that perhaps, perhaps I was not mature enough to go through Panhellenic Exams. A teacher of mine said that I could possibly try next year. But it would not do. A year older. No, it would not do at all, I thought it would be a waste of time. I wanted the evenings to myself, I didn’t want to learn translations by heart. I wanted to study Plato and Aristotle, just not by heart. I wanted to do it my own way. I said to myself I would not be robbed of the things I loved doing the most. I continued acting, I kept writing, I kept reading.
I was -repeatedly- scorned by my teachers but I refused to do something that made me unhappy. Finally, they gave up.
And that was the year when everything changed completely. I don’t know how or when it happened but in the middle of the year in a fit of childish dreams and hopes, I started applying for Universities in the UK. Did I have a vision? A plan? Not by chance, I thought my future was collapsing before me but I was sure enough that I would be the one to define myself.
A month later and I had two unconditional offers to study what I loved, to be what I wanted to be.
And I know I am not the only one to have felt repressed, to have felt limited, to have felt uncertain. But why, oh, why on earth should we be part of something that is against our will, whatever it may be? Why shouldn’t we be ourselves, why should we follow rules that are against what we believe, what we stand for. We are not all born the same (I would hate to believe that life would be as tedious as that!), the least we can do is to embrace our nature whatever it may be and do whatever we can to become better versions of ourselves. Why should we merely exist when we can live? Oscar Wilde himself said “to live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist, that is all.” Albert Einstein said, “the important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Thus, to settle for something that we are not would be to kill our very own identity and become lifeless, colourless with no purpose, with materialistic views, deprived of ideals, deprived of the true beauty to love something entirely and unconditionally, passionately. Because yes, loving things by halves is easier than letting something consume you.
And there is nothing worse than being unable to define your own being.