kuangning: (Ami)
One of the things you don't know about me has been a bone of contention between me and my parents for ten years.

I was really quite bright as a child. Really bright. Kids in Trinidad start school early, and we outright compete from the very start for good class rankings. Except for one single term where I was third in my class, I was first, every school, every term, through all the years we were there. At age nine, I was the top student in my division of the country, St George East. I think I was second overall. At age ten, I became the first student in the history of the division to pass the Common Entrance exam for St Joseph's Convent. I think there've been two other girls to follow my lead since then.

And then when I was twelve we emigrated. And things changed. I felt that the successes I had, and there were some, weren't fairly earned, in some ways. I had a different background, had started earlier, it wasn't that I was any smarter than the older kids, I'd just seen the material before. So any good grades I got didn't really count.

Then, my sophomore year, the year after Kelly, I don't remember much of at all. I remember crying a lot, but no tests, no papers, no classwork -- I went through school on autopilot for a year, and my GPA slipped badly. I never quite made it up; I graduated with honours, but wasn't valedictorian or even close, and I was okay with that because it proved that I really had been right all along. I wasn't really any smarter once I was on more equal footing. I received the Presidential Award for Academic Fitness my senior year and shrugged it off; I got it despite my slightly-low GPA, and again it didn't count. Besides, everybody knows lots of kids who start out brilliant burn out along the way. I went on to college, and into the prerequisite courses for the Nursing Program. Indian River Community College has one of the best RN programs in the country, and the exam is stiff. Many, many people take three tries to get in, and many more never make it at all. I'm good at standardized tests, but I worried. I took the test, and my parents informed me that I'd passed. Then there was a bit of a battle; I was sixteen, and the Board didn't want to accept me because of my age. Still, my mother wanted me in badly, and she's nothing if not determined. Nursing was her dream, I wanted to be a veterinarian and wasn't sure I had any aptitude for nursing at all. I went along because once she'd blocked my own dream, I might as well go along with her and make one of us happy. But I felt like a fraud.

That was confirmed the first day of the program, when my teacher pulled me aside to say that she didn't think I belonged there, that I was taking up a space someone else should have had. It didn't get any better from there. Ms Spooner made it her business to make me miserable. For the first time in my life, I hated school. Worse, she was my mentor as well as my teacher. I would have had to explain to her why I wanted out of her classes and have gotten her permission to switch teachers. Going above her head never occurred to me at all. I was only in the program on sufferance, and what would they think of me if I made trouble? Every other classroom, I'd been in my own territory, on solid ground. I'd gotten bad teachers fired before, but that was on the strength of the fact that I was a good student. Her classroom was hostile territory, and I was a failure. Worse, I was a waste of a valuable slot. I got in on the strength of threats and my mother's determination.

And then this morning, my father and I rehashed the old, old argument. Why did you quit? You could have been great! And when I protested, he told me something nobody told me before.

That hard exam, with the material I hadn't seen before the prerequisite programs? The one so many people fail? I had the top score in the state of Florida. I scored fifth in the country.

If you can't understand why I'm crying my eyes out right now, try to imagine having someone tell you you didn't deserve something, try to imagine letting yourself be pushed out -- because I did -- and then finding out you probably had a better right to it than anyone else who shared it with you. That you earned it, and more than earned it, fairly. That you let someone who disliked you shape a very significant part of your life. I don't have a degree. I don't have a career, I have a job, and there have been so many damned unpleasant things in my life I could have avoided had I finished that program, I can't begin to reckon them up. It's not even her fault. It's my own for not being stronger, for not believing in myself. My children would be so much better off today had I finished that program, it's almost too much to wrap my mind around. It's my fault. But I still hope she gets to go through at least half of what I have. She was both mentor and teacher, and she, if no-one else, would have had to know my scores were good. Better than just good. Two days ago, I hated no-one. Right now, I can't see an end to hating her.
kuangning: (Ami)
finances. mostly for myself. )


Oct. 10th, 2002 09:10 pm
kuangning: (thoughtful)
Tired, sad, resigned, angry, resentful... not pleasant emotional space to live in, this last few months. I've had my reasons -- and I'm a little bit proud of myself for putting them here, as they happened and not sitting on them until afterward. I looked back over my old journal, before I cleaned it out, and was surprised at how little of what went wrong was written down. I left... spaces. Days without entries where I vaguely remembered what must have been happening at that time, but I didn't write anything about it. That happens here, too, but not as often. Mostly because of LJ's filters, I think -- because I still feel guilty for dumping as much negative stuff here as I do. You people have enough to deal with in your own lives. Besides, I like being the eccentric fairy who pours out joy. You can't possibly imagine how much of my resentment stems from just that -- I want to be that person, want to hold onto that mood. And while I know in my mind that I and only I control my moods, well, some days it's harder than others. And the fact that it's being made harder than it has to be makes me angry at the person or thing that I see as making it harder.

But that anger doesn't help, either.

I think -- I'm waiting for someone to give me a compelling reason to leave. Something that doesn't feel like running away, something that doesn't feel like being selfish. Running to someone is being selfish -- even if they don't mind. Running away never helps. I want reasons to go, permission to go, promise of a future for me once I get there. But who ever gets that? And if I don't get them, then what? Stay here? It's unthinkable. Or is it? Why not change the world I'm already in? No illusory fresh starts, no clean slates -- just take what I've got and deal with it. Slog my way through -- because nothing here will change if I leave, right? And this is always going to be the nightmare place I can't really get away from.

We shall see.

September 2015

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