When the Waiting Gets Tiring

It beats hard as I gasp for air, whether from all the running, or from all my demons trying to chase me, or maybe both.

Fayth Ong
3 min readJan 18, 2024
Photo by Rob Wicks on Unsplash

written last February 2023

What do you do when the waiting gets tiring? When the reality finally hits you?

More than six months without a solid job, more than six months of waiting, and more than six months of doing nothing.

So I did what I thought a productive person would do.

I’d do everything the pandemic (and my former job) couldn’t and wouldn’t let me do. Go out and explore. Hike all the mountains I could climb (at least in the local region). Go underwater and discover how to freedive. Learn how to dance again. Work out, unexpectedly join a Spartan race, try (and fail) to write a book, and finally start studying again. And you know what, why not take some freelance tutoring and teaching jobs just so I won’t use all the money I saved up in just a span of a few months? Maybe if I try to be as productive as I can, the waiting will be easier. The days will pass by in a blur, maybe. And maybe, one day I’ll wake up, and see that everything that was so slow, became impossibly fast, too fast for me to catch up.

But they didn’t. So, in the hours when I’m busy — when I’m productive, there are these micro-moments, the seconds that make me grab my phone, open up my emails, and wait (in vain) for that email. For the email that will determine whether I got in, or whether I need to file for another appeal–which mind you, is so much more expensive than just applying. In those micro-moments when my brain gives itself enough time to breathe and overwhelm me with these thoughts, they’ll ask the questions,

“Why am I here?”

“Should I try to apply for a teaching job while I’m still in the Philippines?”
“Don’t I deserve to reach for something better for my own future?”
“Have I made the wrong decision?”

And when I shut down those thoughts with a vicious cycle of productivity, my heart beats, hard.

It beats hard as I step on the treadmill, trying to outrun my problems while staying in the same place.

It beats hard as I gasp for air, whether from all the running, or from all my demons trying to chase me, or maybe both.

It beats hard, pumping blood as I question my life and the moments I’ve lived, whether I’ve fully lived — or I’ve created an illusion before I get sucked into nightmare-filled reality.

Because after running for so long, it gets tiring. You wonder if you can handle any more of the waiting. Any more of trying to hope for something you know you have no control over. And then the vicious cycle continues.

You get busy. You get productive. In those micromoments, you breathe. Your eyes blink, they close and see the darkness, and you can suddenly see the soul-wrenching reality: the reality you tried to get out of, but the reality you’re still stuck with.

And so, you open your eyes, you refuse to give in, and you build the illusion of the thought, I’ll just be more productive. And you do, until another micro-moment pops up, and you close your eyes to see what the reality is again. And on and on and on, like a treadmill that never stops, like a cycle that keeps destructing and rebuilding, all an illusion.

And when the waiting gets tiring, and the busyness isn’t enough for a means of escapism, I wonder if there is something more for me that this unjust world is willing to give me. Not as an “I deserve this” anymore, but a “she's had enough hardships” as a pity gift.

Because when the waiting gets tiring, and the productivity becomes taxing, I wonder how long I’ll stay in my bed with my tears finally dry, with my eyes left with nothing to shed. I wonder how long will the world be unjust to a person who’s just trying to build a better future for herself.

When the waiting gets tiring, and my hands finally feel like giving up, I wonder what then.



Fayth Ong

Teacher || Writer || Traveller || Athlete || Immortalizing moments through writing