I hoped a friend who lives down here could have met me beforehand, to gain a bit more confidence from not being so utterly alone, but ended up having to work today. People have busy lives, I shouldn’t rely on them to give make me feel more at ease in my surroundings. I suppose I wanted them to be here to see who I really am, as one reveals so many truths about what they are made of when they are in environments they feel very uncomfortable in.
One’s cultural upbringing is seeping out from scars that were supposed to be long gone. “I know I’ll make ‘school boy’ errors when in there” one thinks to themselves, “how the hell can I ‘hold my own’ in conversation with this tutor who is going to be proper clever and know so much?” As much as you’ve fought against lowly assumptions of yourself, and you look at the progress you’ve made in that fight, at times like this it feels like you’ve still got a real long way to go. They certainly aren’t shaken from your shoulders. No matter how intensely I keep reminding myself that it is the cultural environment I’ve been raised in that still tells me “I shouldn’t be in such an highly place” and that “these places aren’t for the likes of me” these words feel to be physically pushing into me, like a school uniform that is too small for me, not daring to move my shoulders much in case I accidentally tear my clothes.
If only one of my friends who now live around here could see the real me now; see how naked I am at in this environment; how the barriers that usually hide now reveal everything; where everything negative anyone has ever said to me is crawling on my skin(even how using the words me and naked in the same sentence still conjures up fears of being laughed at in front of the class at school!) Then they could see why it has taken me such a long time, right up until my late 20’s to find myself in a building like this.
But I’m scared of the tutor in there seeing my nerves that I cannot hide – I’m going to speak to her about doing an MA in Culture Studies when I am the culture study! I bet she’s used to talking to really confident people who can assure her of their capability ( I picture a young man, perhaps two years younger than me, and a good few inches taller, who doesn’t walk with his shoulders so tensed-up that it’s like he’s constantly on a crowded train). But this is no help; feeling inferior to person you’ve made up in your head.
But then I try to remind myself that I’m here partly to help put that past behind me. But what if it catches up with me/keeps on finding me? Always presenting the caste of a downtrodden, easy-to-be-stupid-and-wrong me? Always taking perceived natural position below others. Always assuming that if there’s been a misunderstanding between yourself and another that it is naturally your fault. No! Don’t let this win! Well, I’m here now. At least we’ll get the chance to see if all of this is true now: that the culture embedded in me, assumes that I’m not clever enough to study, well, erm, culture…?
Perhaps I should write these thoughts down that I’m currently having whilst waiting for the froth in the cup to turn back into drinkable coffee, and use them to aide my application…………?