There are things I like and despise about getting my women’s and gender studies minor. On the one hand, I like how women’s and gender studies opens my eyes to the problems in our society that I might not have ever fully comprehended. On the other hand, a lot of pompous, arrogant assholes take women’s and gender studies classes. I guess it’s a tradeoff.
See, after a few years of participating in The Vagina Monologues I was all, “Yes! Feminism, equality, fighting against social injustice is for me!” Everyone on cast was so friendly and welcoming, and lots of them seemed to be into the same things I were. They were almost intimidatingly cool. I wanted to be just like them. But, the more involved I became, the more issues I encountered. Any of the queer cool people who had a past with my girlfriend became someone to secretly despise (and since everyone gets passed around or hit on repeatedly in the queer community, it was a growing list). The hippie types were big into the drug scene…the academic types were too scholarly to have a normal conversation…the eccentric types a little too eccentric…some of them seemed angry and scary, some of them seemed critical and opinionated, some of them sorted into cliques, some of them seemed to know everyone… They were all so different. From the outside it seemed like I’d fit in, but as time passed and I became more integrated in the Women’s and Gender Studies world, I felt like maybe I didn’t belong there after all. I got angry sometimes, but let it go quickly. I had opinions, but I kept them to myself. I wasn’t engrossed in scholarly work like the others, I wouldn’t do any drug harder than pot, I wasn’t into anime or was a vegetarian or knew sign language. Hell, I wasn’t even that gay. But I stuck with the classes anyway.
How are the classes? They’re okay I guess. I never do the readings but I go to all the classes. One of my professors is super interesting, but her lecture is so big that it’s hard to talk to her. My other class is taught by an opinionated TA who scares me a bit. I hate writing the papers. I hate speaking up in class; I always feel like I’m about to say the wrong thing. Everyone in those classes is so politically correct that it becomes hard to know what’s the right language to use anymore. And as a white, cisgendered, middleclassish person I often feel like everything is my fault…no matter how hard I try to understand, I’ll always be part of the ‘bad guys’ it seems.
I even wrote a poem about being white, but I’m too afraid to show it to anyone. Even though I’m critical of my own race in the poem, I’m still nervous that it will come off the wrong way… I’m beginning to think that no matter where I go or what I do, I’ll always feel like an outsider.
Even though I feel stable emotionally, I still think I should go to therapy to address some of these insecurities I have. I always think my friends don’t want me around or think I’m too weird for them, and it’s a thought that won’t go away. I always worry that I’m being shitty to my girlfriend, because I don’t want to make the same mistakes I made over the summer. I get sad that I’m being a bad daughter to my parents because I won’t pretend to be straight. They don’t want me around, I tell myself about my brother and dad. You aren’t like them, I think in my women’s and gender studies classes.
I remember coming to college believing that I’d thrive and entrench myself in the material I learned. In reality, I feel so distanced from everything I do and just go through the steps to make the necessary grades. My passion is buried under stress and failed expectations. (That last sentence could sum up all of college in a nutshell, I bet.)
My life is lived behind a piece of glass. I look out, and no one (except a rare few) looks in. I wish I could step out of the glass, to break down the wall, but I’m afraid that if people see the real me all the time, that they’ll have the same opinion I have of myself.
And God, that is something I could not bare.
I’m not trying to rag on Women’s an Gender Studies people (although some of them are truly full of themselves and think they know everything about everything). I know just because people are different than me doesn’t mean they are bad people. But I wish I could be different with them. I just want to feel like I’m an okay person—that I’m even capable of liking and hanging out with. Isn’t that sad? It’s like I’m back in fourth grade and wishing I could sit with the popular girls at lunch.
Maybe if my family would accept me I’d feel differently. Maybe if I had more friends I’d feel validated. Maybe if I made more of an effort with the friends I already have…But I digress. One step at a time, right?