Year in Review 2016
What is destiny and what is fate?
One is a choice, one is thrust upon you.
One rests on hope, one sinks into despair.
Not all is in here, out there.
Part Two: episode Solo, One Step
There’s something terrifying about Chimaera. It wasn’t until after I wrote it, after I locked myself in a room for two days save for physical and educational needs, did I begin to see how destructive that rhetoric is. Here it is: It provides an easy dismissal of others’ contributions to your real suffering – it’s another proverb to renew the cycle of abuse.
I had just been bullied out of my residence, not to mention a whole host of other problems with my cohort. When I made an effort to speak of my frustration and the insistence of people to silence my vocalizing of pain, that was handed to me. I tried to swallow it like the bitter medicine it was, but my body recognized the poison and is still purging me of it.
You made that entire debate end with me apparently being mollified. You deleted my replies to attacks against myself, while allowing your vicious fans have their say. That’s hardly a fair fight. You didn’t read what I wrote, made assumptions, supported your fanbase, and spoke to me as if I had no life experience. I had tact and engaged my sudden opponents with context in mind. Not once did I try a sneaky move or warp a point beyond the actual topic in question. But somehow it was fine for your followers to do the same to me. I wish I could’ve screenshot the entire thing to make known the sheer disgust of misinformed, willfully and voluntarily ignorant complaining, but you erased evidence of my articulated defense. FB doesn’t inform viewers that a comment was deleted and by whom.
Congratulations. You censored a voice that didn’t agree with your propaganda, on a public post, on your public Page.
Lesson learned: If you present someone’s logic against them, watch out. There be monsters.
You told me that you’d be harder on me because I had a broader knowledge base and a more advanced skill set than my cohort. While I internally acknowledged how flawed that was in terms of the course’s GPA curve, I accepted your words as a personal challenge. I’m in graduate school, I wanted to engage and be challenged – with mutual respect.
I failed the reflection paper on a syllabus technicality, which I had no awareness of because of connotation differences. I resolved to do better, examine the requirements and take the context of being in a theology course in my mind’s forefront. I didn’t bother to take your sudden walls erected against me as an insult. You made your point clear, so I’d prove I was able to earn this course credit.
You ignored my growing mistrust of my peers. I told you I overheard a conversation of them congratulating themselves for pushing a girl out of their shared class. They were joyous about this person not returning to that class, because her thoughts were too antagonistic for them. Here’s the most chilling part. “We have the power here because of context.” But you brushed off my concern for my fellow students because the reference was to a class not yours. Increasingly, your pupils were being hostile towards me, but you asked me to not continue the discussion with administration. I was supposed to challenge and engage my peers, feel safe and welcome, and be considerate of everyone else while you said I’d find myself as my world crumbled around me.
Your job and your institution are more important than addressing problems with safety in this cohort. I wasn’t worth your attention beyond issuing me remarks about how I should’ve been able to understand assignment requirements.
I failed the devotional paper. This one was harder to understand, because I did my research of what a devotional in a Christian, theological, course, setting would entail. Once again, I got the slap on my wrist and sent away. This time, I had direct evidence of your failure to read my submission. You claimed I never linked to the artwork, therefore unable to see the connections I was drawing. So I took screenshots of the report showing three places where the artwork was referenced. I cited it, I referenced it, I also placed it in my bibliography as the syllabus demanded. I wrote back to you and attached these screenshots about two months ago. Not once have you responded or confirmed receipt of my objection.
Haunting of the Shattering Glass was a failure as well. You summed up that entire work as stream-of-consciousness, not appropriate for theology. I must’ve stared at your sparse feedback for hours. Your own course material would argue that such a method is legitimate for theology. I turned to the syllabus. I saw nothing that validated your rejection of my paper. I thought of that horrible colloquy where you openly supported and defended the other two members, permitting the appointment to run an hour past deadline so I would be chastised for my apparent lack of expertise. I thought of you announcing to me that I had two days to send in my paper because you stated work demands. I thought of how one member used a similar, not exact, method of approach as I did, and yet he wasn’t ridiculed. The other never fulfilled the syllabus requirements you so dearly love to throw in my face – that peer didn’t send me her completed paper as all colloquies were supposed to, according to your own written documentation. You also had no care for the fact that one of my colloquy was a person who supported bullying of voices that didn’t match his views. I couldn’t leave the room or be penalized, despite the overtime. So I dissociated, but retained enough presence to maintain the illusion that my anger, fear, and anxiety were just a sign of tiredness from the early morning. The point is, I had reason to believe you didn’t actually read my paper beyond the introduction. This is supported by your lack of attentiveness evident in your grading of my devotional paper. I asked around what “stream-of-consciousness” in academic papers implied. It doesn’t match my paper’s content. Your dismissal is an awful display of behaviour for a graduate professor.
By some miracle, I passed the course beyond benchmark. You changed one of my assignments to reflect a higher grade, but that’s not the point. How dare you say to everyone that we should challenge and be challenged because we’d be given what we needed to overcome obstacles. You didn’t provide that support to me. Coddling the rest, and telling me hardly anything beyond I did the paper wrong, do better next time. I requested information from you so I would know HOW to do better, but you wouldn’t reply. That too, goes against your stated offerings of support for the class.
Handing me an A-, submitting to the Registrar, all this cleared before anyone would listen to me, is a slap to my face I can’t accept. I’ve decided. I’m going to petition that grade. That’s right. I’m going to administration like you asked me not to for fear of losing legitimacy as an educator or as an institution. You told me to find safe space. It isn’t anywhere. I’ll create my safe space.
And that’s YOUR lesson from your own theology course.
Lesson learned: If someone holds you to standards so high, standards they cannot meet, they have no right to assess or judge you.
I have no sympathy for you any longer. You portray yourself as a misunderstood but capable young woman. You love and are loved. After coping with you for a few months, I have a difficult time speaking of you fondly. You’re a little girl pretending to be a grown woman. Our entire problem started when I asked for more effort on both our parts to communicate effectively. Instead, you insisted on shoving me aside. Always had an excuse ready to maintain your invisible barrier without a single word to me on how or why you had need for this behaviour.
I can’t read your mind, ojousama. Miscommunication is on both of us. I don’t comprehend how this entire situation resulting in me threatening your safety. Please, it’s your self-esteem that’s at stake.
I spent many days and nights starving because you couldn’t bother to move your uneaten foods from the fridge to give me any room for groceries. I told you about it before. You worsened that habit. I wasted so much of my income with outside sustenance because God forbid I mess with you more.
Your parents thought they had every right to demand I play your other mother. “Be nice,” your mother said to me after informing me of her health difficulties and your personal distress. Not once did anyone ask me about how I was feeling, dealing, or you know, if I wanted or accepted such extra responsibility.
You played a cute game, and it almost ended in my suicide. Now you’re still sitting on your throne surrounded by your loyal servants, and the disgusting tactics of my cohort continue. They have more fuel because of my so-called abuse aimed at you. People I thought I could trust turned their backs on me to defend you, and not one has sat with me to hear anything of my perspective. Save the princess, slay the demoness.
Two peers referred to me as “the Devil” and I was standing next to them. Considering this is a Christian based institution, the implications of that are frightening.
Good luck dealing with clientele who don’t validate you. You couldn’t handle being human with someone who saw through your illusions.
Lesson learned: Defending your rights is permissible only when it suits the status quo (ante).
You tell me, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Who are you to dictate to me what that responsibility entails? If I’m the one with more power than you, I’m quite able to use that power to define for myself and my abilities what my responsibilities are for wielding that power.
You tell me, “Everyone has a right to safe space.”
Your safe space gives you privileges to dehumanize me.
You tell me, “Quit playing the damsel-in-distress.”
You force me in that role to validate yourself.
You tell me, “Your behaviour is entirely your fault.”
You don’t want to take responsibility for your own shit. You want to appeal as brutal honesty? Guess what. It’s brutal. You’re abusive and victim blaming, this is victim shaming.
You tell me, “With age comes wisdom.”
You’re invalidating me using ageism. It’s not the quantity of life lived that bestows wisdom, it’s the quality of life.
You tell me, “Free speech is a right.”
Sure, but you’re allowed to censor, discriminate, and attack me with anything as weapon to defend yourself. That right, it works both ways.
You tell me, “Negativity brings more into your life. Stop saying your life is hard.”
Having a genuine, affirming, validating emotional response somehow translates into Everything Is Actually All My Fault, but you’re fine to spout reliance on divine power to turn my life around.
You tell me, “Trust me instead.”
You betrayed that trust many times over, but I’m supposed to be forgiving and forgetful to maintain your self-efficacy. You haven’t earned my trust. You don’t deserve my trust. Don’t you throw guilt on me for failing our familiarity. You can’t take that responsibility for yourself with me. I’m human like you. Or did you forget that too?
I am not a marionette whose freedom you can take away.
Even a girl like me deserves a tiara.
I am not afraid to walk alone.
But partners are far more courageous.
Together we’ll make the most wondrous collaboration.
We’ll put on the greatest live.
I will press on for my dreams.
One step is one step closer.
I believe, and I have hope that I’ll reach that place.
I keep my eyes aimed there as I hold your hand.
I won’t let go of your hand.