When I was writing this, I hadn't washed my hair for 2 days straight, I was wearing nothing but a hoodie and short shorts. When I was writing this, my stomach is empty but my heart is full.
As a kid I got along very well with the boys. I played boy-ish games with them, chased them all around with toy guns. I tried to blend in. I was acting all fierce. Nothing bothered me at that time than losing my life-time competition with boys. Yes, I sound like a rebel. I have done stupid things to complete the role of a young feminist, namely pushing myself to lift very heavy things and keeping my tears a secret. At grade 2 I fell a boy down yelling "THAT'S GIRL POWER". Teacher was not happy. But I still felt so much joy.
The rebel thing went on even at secondary. I had very short hair, I joked in the way boys joked (very human genital-related) and I tried to out-class them, in as many aspects as possible. Did I succeed? Yes, I was the best of my class in English (maybe one of the best in the whole school too - the little mind of 14 year-old me thought so). My literature teacher said I might be a genius to write such stories and poems at a young age. My math teacher told me I was very smart, just a little carving could make me the Michelangelo's David of Mathematics. I could sing, I could draw, I could make up songs. People admired me, knew my name and my talents too.
Was I happy? Not at all. My parents were demanding, so my case fell in the "never satisfied with what they do" type of children. No matter what people said about how I was so talented and smart and funny and cute and so out-of-earth I felt a deep hatred of myself. I was not perfect enough. I was not funny enough. I was not best enough. I knew deeply that there is still someone who is better than me, but what else to do? I devoted my early years to excel in everything. My face was terrible, my body was disgusting. I was a trope in movies - the trope of seeming to be perfect kids but dead inside they might say.
When I turned 18 I was severely depressed. At that time I lost most of my friends in secondary school as well as my hair. I shaved all of my hair the other day, shouting "It was all your fault" at my mother. She cried and I cried. Everyone cried. My heart had never been in such sorrow. I looked uglier than ever. I was bald. My skin darkened with pimples. I had eating disorder, and gained a lot of weights. But all of that made me realize one thing: my mother really loves me, even if I was sad and ugly and having no hair on my head and I was a troubled child. Another thing: I still have friends that love me even when I was not the best of my class. Ngốc nghếch, right?
At university everything got even worse. I tried to blend in, this time not only with the boys, but everyone. I joined countless volunteer activities. I stayed up at 3 and woke up at 6 am just to finish tasks from clubs and the student union. There are nights that I would sit in front of my laptop, crying because I was too stressed out. Did anyone mention comfort zone? Yes, I crossed out of my own comfort bubble. I even laugh at jokes I would roll my eyes at. Did it pay off? Sure. Many know my name, and they would wave at me everytime I walk around campus. But the moral of the story is, I was not happy after countless attempts to be perfect and smart and cute and the girl who excels at everything, I was sad instead.
Did I regret after those episodes of life? No. It turns out that I am stupid all the time. Not in a bad way, not in a good way, but a way. I have been stupid for more than 20 years, still counting. I am stupid, no matter how hard I try. But now I know, just like the trope of kids in that movie thing, I don't have to be the best at everything and I CAN BE STUPID. I can be stupid and still have friends that hold me so dear in their hearts. I can be stupid and still receive love from my pa ma. I can be stupid and still a nice person to have around. Was that too easy like some side notes of a self-help book? No. I spent 20 years to study just the tip of it. I spent many sleepless nights feeling worthless, days hating my parents and making them suffer just to learn the truth that takes 5 seconds to write on the computer screen. That is how stupid I am. But the fact is, tôi ngu ngốc mà!
Legends say she remains stupid until these very days.