I feel vaguely guilty about sometimes turning this blog into a bit of a downer, but that’s part of why I started it in the first place – I wanted to accurately chronicle all of the crazy ups and downs of this journey. I wanted people to eventually be able to stumble onto it and see something reflected in my experience that made them feel less completely awful and alone during the bad parts, as well as having someone to celebrate along with during the good parts. So in the interest of complete honesty: it has been a tough summer.
The music stuff is – I don’t even know. I’ve been on a mini-break for much of July because I’ve been focusing on some neglected areas of my life and trying for a little more balance. Something to anchor me when the music & theatre stuff is making me crazy. And, yeah, I got a little bit scared. I’ve taken a big leap into something I wasn’t sure I was going to succeed at, have had a reasonable amount of success (and more importantly, rediscovered something I loved more than anything else) and have, for the most part, pushed ahead in spite of doubts and bad feelings. I won’t deny that it was a brave leap, but now I’m about to take a bigger one, and it’s scary. Transferring into a four-year program means I’ve made a commitment – and maybe I made that commitment in my heart a long time ago, but having it on paper is scary. Leaving the comfort zone I’ve found where I am is scary. Facing the possibility of being told, for the second time in my life, that I’m not good enough at this thing I love to pursue it any further is terrifying. My successes feel so small when I step back and really take a look around me. I feel like I’m fooling myself – Imposter Syndrome in the extreme, maybe, but it’s what I feel.
Earlier this week I spent several hours calling my high school, and the college from which I received my first degree, and later sitting in the Registar and Admissions offices of my current school, all to get them to acknowledge me as a student and release me with my certificate in December. Annoying to most people, but not something that ought to leave a person shaky and close to tears at the end of it.
I was appalled at my own reaction, but there was just something about sitting in that office that took me right back to sitting in another office ten years ago and explaining myself to unsupportive administrators who didn’t care about my reasons for failing all my classes. (Not that I could give them any good ones.) Or sitting in that same office and being told that I was, more or less, a bad person, a terrible student, “not the kind of student we want here” — for what? Having a few personal issues and getting some bad grades. Of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, I’m not sure why that’s the one that won’t leave me alone.
Having to call those same people up and ask them to send my transcript to current school was hard enough. But sitting there in current’s school’s admissions office and being asked questions in a tone that suggested I might be too stupid to answer them correctly was worse. And once all of the preliminaries were sorted out, I still have to wait a week to see if my transcripts are deemed official enough, and if my credits will be approved. That’s not a given – my grades were not stellar my first time through, and the course names don’t make it incredibly clear that they meet current college’s requirement. It’s an English composition class, of all things – and I’m rumored to be good writer, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the rambling over-confessional quality of my blog. (That’s a style choice; I read too many carefully-crafted, well-edited blogs that barely scrape the surface of anything true.) I’ve gotten paid for it, anyway. I’ve taught it. But because of stupid administrative nonsense, I might have to retake it, and then that entire demoralizing afternoon was just time spent reminding me of past failures and how they’re still influencing my present.
I don’t know what the moral is here, guys. Usually I can figure out what I should take from my experiences, or how to put a positive spin on things. Right now I just want to throw my hands in the air and ask for a do-over on my life, and maybe for people to stop making assumptions about me, both positive and negative. Because, to be honest, all the positive ones feel like judgment, too. “You must be so smart/good at [thing]/have had a good reason for XYZ…/able to do all this other amazing stuff…” No. Thinking too much of me just feels like expectation; like if you really knew me I’d be an enormous let-down. I’m sorry I’m not that person, because heaven knows I’d like to be.