"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."
- Taylor Swift
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Now Playing: Suddenly by Hugh Jackman (trusting me the way you do, I'm so afraid of failing you)
So university classes start this Monday, and I'm super duper trooper pumped. I essentially grew up on a university campus and my sister has been going to uni for a year now, so I'm quite familiar with university life and how things work, and I really like it. I like the anonymity, too - although some I might care to mention have taken the whole 'university is a clean slate' thing a bit too seriously, I do like the opportunity to begin again.
Or do I? Sometimes it's hard to tell. I like how people here spell my name the way I like it and have no problem calling me 'G' - after four years of having the licence to mock my name mercilessly my high school chums seemed rather reluctant to adopt a pronounceable abbreviation. I like being nobody, so I can become somebody that I'd like to be. I like being in a place where you don't get lynched for being a feminist, or an arts student, or just who you are - mostly because nobody cares, but that's another story. I like the freedom to do what I want and to finally, genuinely, be studying what I want to be studying. I like wearing what I want every day and meeting new people.
But then, of course, there are the false assumptions and conclusions people make when the university is trying to get acquainted with a whole new cohort of students. The number of times I've been mistaken for an exchange student, asked to take remedial English lessons, propositioned by countless churches...it does get exhausting. At high school I had a reputation - I was the atheist, the feminist, and the English bug, and in all of the above you don't mess with me. It's not like that anymore - I don't know the people here and they don't know me. I've dedicated my life to articulating myself and my opinions and I find it especially uncomfortable to be in a place full of strangers. But, c'est la vie, I will endure.
There are clubs and unions here for almost anything imaginable - and, of course, about twenty religiously-affiliated clubs. Some of them are rather gracious - if you're Christian, great, if you're not, leave in peace. Others are a little...pushy. LGBT rights, reproductive rights, women's rights, sex positivity - these are all things I hold dear to me, and things that the church and I often have disagreements on. It's been interesting, but exhausting, I suppose, having to argue my case, to explain to a hostile audience things you hold to be unshakeable and unalienable truths. But I'm not a floozy, and it's good to stretch those muscles after so long without a fight. I know how to hold my own, to stand up for what I believe in, to fight for what I believe is right. Even the Mormon guy had to concede defeat.
The thing I hate most is being mistaken for an exchange student, or a science/commerce/anything but arts student, someone unfamiliar with Australia and the English language. It's not exactly a great assumption to make, given the absurdly high numbers of second and third generation Asian immigrants in contemporary Australian society. I'm not an immigrant, I'm an Australian. I'm an English major and top in the state in English and I wish people would approach me with an open mind and no expectations rather than jumping to all sorts of conclusions and assumptions. Who I am and what people perceive me to be is two totally different things and it's exhausting, having to constantly state and restate the truth. Conformity has suddenly become so seductive, to just be what people think I am to cut all the talk, the awkwardness, etc. But the only failure I will accept in myself is the failure to conform and, whether I try or not, I fail spectacularly at that anyway.
I've only been at uni for two days and I'm happy free confused and lonely at the same time. It's miserable and magical and...I'm having the time of my life.
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