goodbye 2020

Reflecting on the year we lost is farewelling more than just sweet sorrows but an individual who was cruising, who was complacent, who didn’t really know who they were or what they planned to do. I was scared to try new things, scared to meet new people and unable to break out of a routine that wasn’t reflective of where I wanted to go. The people around me changed drastically and I am more than thankful for those who have entered my life and those who have exited. In saying that, 2021 is looking much the same but with a new found drive to do more than ever because I have much to prove and have seldom had the chance to.

When I contemplate “proving” myself, I feel a sense of unworthiness which stems from my degree and education which 2020 made me realise was a larger part of who I was then I initially thought. Five years ago, I decided to enroll in a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong, a degree which was not highly commended by those around me nor understood by family. I have always been berated for my educational choices, my path of study and my lack of intelligence in certain areas (common sense, the english language, life). When a group of people begin dismantling your passion and drive to succeed due to their own perceptions and definitions of what “intelligence” means it feels like you’re a voodoo doll. Their words seduce you then jab, twist and stab at your most vulnerable points, their drive to control your actions by forcible suggestion becomes overbearing but you can’t ever say “enough” because your mouth is sewn shut, their words becoming the tight knit string, cutting of cries for help. An endless cycle of self-loathing and pain that even you do not think you can accept your decisions anymore becomes all consuming leading only to the desire to give up… But something kept me going. So I did. Only recently have I accepted and begun to understand what these experiences have meant to me, truly utilising my skills not to show my worth but rather to show who I am. My education does not define me, what I do with it will, people will always jab at me but now with their words but I am no longer their voodoo doll.

When I left high school, I was terrified, scared and naive, and when I note naive I mean Sandy from Grease level naivety (before her badass ending). Here lies the cliche of “I didn’t know what to do after school“, the fact of the matter was that I had no way to articulate why I was going down THIS specific path. My circle demanded, prodded and questioned me and spoke of distain as I embarked on a “meme degree”, later I found that any Bachelor correlating to an Arts faculty falls into contentious opinion as being a “less than” field of study. Those around me would not congratulate my achievements but water them down where my concentration became minuscule in comparison to their courses ‘difficulty’.

Do you ever get the feeling that people genuinely think you’re not as good as them due to your education or what you’ve studied? An intrinsically built education system of superiority by course created an extremely clear hierarchy in my mind. I was always on trial, always asked why I would do such a degree only to be dismissed as “dumb”, “not intelligent”, “stupid”… I don’t want to be the smartest. I don’t seek to change peoples minds about me. Rather, I would like the research and study that I have tried so hard for and worked my ass of for to be acknowledged as more than just being completed for the sake of completion or because I am less than those around me. Instead of judging worth by the difficulty or weight of a degree, why not judge their effort, their passion, their drive to learn or strive to change. It has taken me 5 years since starting university study to realise that a mark or grade or difficulty of degree doesn’t translate to success but equips you with the ability to achieve great things. Education does not make you less or more than but is a privilege and does not correlate to the worth of you as a human.

What felt like an eternal crucifixion viciously transformed into an armada of my greatest strengths as weaponising my passion over attempt to defend my degree has become a testament to the trial by fire those put me through in the past. The flames may have left burns and scars, and licked at my patience and agitation but they slowly, like the wick of the candle, have led me towards the base of who I am as a person, where the wax surrounding me has become the lessons, skills and experiences that have guided me to where I am today.

Before, I was drowning in uncertainty, paralysed by the thoughts and tribulations of those who deemed my education “useless”. Now, I do not stand tall but feel as though I have finally put on the life preserver that my degree offered me at it’s commencement 5 years ago, to do the outrageously, far reaching things that I had dreamed of as a kid. That’s what makes me smile. That’s why I did this.

Of course, it does suck that it took me so long to get here but better late then pregnant (West is best). 2020 really opened up my eyes to who I hung around with, who I was mixing with and what their true intentions were which will make the transition into 2021 all the easier. In 2020, I completed my honours degree with a thesis that I was beyond proud of without the help of those who questioned me. I move onto a more loving, caring environment where the people around me are able to support regardless of where I have come from and what I have done.

Thank you all for reading this, you know who you are. Thank you for making me feel welcomed, warm, able to be my true, authentic self and for always supporting me no matter what (even if I am being a dumb bitch), you’ve given me what I’ve been looking for for a very long time, hope and friendship.

~ krisesandchrosses ~