High School Creative Nonfiction

Today again, I gave up. This time I thought I had it, that fire that drives people passions: my friends told me how my sketches were looking better than ever, and how amazing I was for improving in such little period. I’ve always loved praising and used it as fuel for my hobbies so why… Why couldn’t I stick to one thing and perfectionate myself at it? 

When I put down my pen earlier today, I felt it. That feeling which made me stop swimming lessons two years ago and ballet even before. Every time it’s the same, I feel exceptionally bored and can’t stop thinking: what if I stopped now? I put enough of myself in it right? Drawing was fun and all but, I don’t know… it isn’t what I needed, nor what made me thrill. While staring at my room’s ceiling I focus on the dark spot where I crushed a spider yesterday: if I ponder a bit about it, I can’t remember staying focused on a hobby for more than a year.

It starts with a strong interest for said “passion” and weirdly enough I’m generally good at it right away. At first, I’m overly enthusiastic about it and people motivates me, telling I have lots of potential for it: I study the matter in depth, learn about the masters, dream of a future where I’ve made a living from it and get recognized around the world. And yet, as soon as I reach the point where talent is not enough, and I have to make an effort to be better than others, I get fed up, like, desperately sick of it, and my motivation wither slowly, to become as thin as a string, ready to snap anytime.

After I reach that instant, there’s usually no way for me to get back into it. The feeling of excitement is gone, and all that remains is that spoiled brat attitude, something similar to, “I don’t wanna go”, or “It’s boring”, and the worst one: “I never thought it was fun anyway”.

After a couple of weeks during which I strained myself to attend the sessions, or merely practice, I quit. The following days, I watch TV shows, wondering what’s wrong with me: that’s the only thing I haven’t abandoned throughout my life.

To tell the truth, drawing was enjoyable, but, ever since I watched that show on streaming about chess, I couldn’t help thinking… It would be impressive if I was good at it, no?

I get down from my bed and go see my mother, who taught how to play to her sister a few centuries earlier:

-         “You don’t happen to have a chessboard, do you?

-         You haven’t emptied the dishwasher when I asked you! That’s the third time this week, when will you gr…”

Okay, nothing interesting this way. I go to my father, ready to let go of my newly picked hobby in a record time, when I learn we got a marble chessboard in the garage. Glad, I ask him if we can play together later:

-         “No”, he answers, right away, “I don’t have time to waste winning over and over: that’s tiring.”

So, we are back at step one; and I hold a grudge against my dad. Then, unexpectedly, it strikes me: we are in the age of technology and progress, I don’t need some weak human mind to compete against me. I go to my computer and start learning how to play. It’s tricky, there’s a lot of pieces and each have its own capacities, you have to look at your king and attack your opponent one’s while he is doing the same. You have to constantly multitask. It is… It’s heaven. How could I ever quit?

During the ensuing weeks, I played some more, but after meeting an old friend I used to play piano with, I got my old synthesizer out and played a little: "geez", I forgot how great it was. After that, I kind of stopped practicing for a while, but I got back at it when I heard there were going to be a tournament at school, 3 months from now.

Unfortunately, during these months, a sequel of my favorite saga got published, therefore I had to reread the whole collection again. Then, I saw a patisserie show on TV, and thanks to it, I discovered French culture under a new light: I planned a trip to go when I have enough money, and went looking around for a part time job to cover the expense. After some time, I realized I didn’t want to work at all.

I lost quite some time with these distractions, however, days flew by, without any concern about what business I was up to. To be honest I would have forgot the matter if my math teacher didn’t come to fill me up for the details of the tournament. The couple next days were just me, stressed out because I hadn’t practiced enough, and my computer, helping me out with its algorithm. Hopefully, I won over it ninety percent of the time, and for that reason, decided to relax the last day before the competition, confident in my skills.

However during the games, playing was oddly different from practice at home, and eventually, as painful as it was, I understood: I wasn’t good enough to compete against the others participants.

In the end, I finished sixth place.

What was going to happen now? I gave it my all for several months and all that I was given back was a pitiful sixth place, not even worth mentioning at family dinners. While getting congratulated by my parents, I faked a smile; how could I go on anymore? I didn’t have talent for it, I had to stop. Back at home, in my bed, I started watching some Spanish show about coding. It looked amazing. I had always wanted to talk Spanish fluently. And while I was at it, I could try coding too: it seemed hard but I was sure I could pull it off.

Later on, at supper, I announced my latest aspiration, half-joking with my brother about hacking the Pentagon as a goal for my eighteenth birthday.

My mother narrowed her eyes and looked towards me, an indefinable look on her face:

-         “What about chess?” she asked, hesitant.

-         “Chess…? I quit”, I declared, while taking a bite of my celebration cake. “I never thought it was fun anyway.”

January 29, 2021 20:10

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