I haven’t written in…literally, it’s been ages!!
Quite frankly, I sometimes get tingly fingers unexpectedly and a thought pops into my mind “You need to write, go, go,go.” On many occasions, such as this one, I don’t really have something in mind. Either way, topic or no topic, when my brain prompts me to write, I need to write, otherwise I’ll be forever tingly during the day.
I haven’t written in ages and long story short, I’ve started my masters in conference interpreting, which sounds very fancy and smart. Which it is, fancy and smart. For me, it hasn’t been a smooth transition, as I had hoped it would be, but damn, now I’m ok.
Basically, when I signed up for Uni, I talked to many people, to see what their opinion would be on where I should go to college. Bah, it seems the reasonable thing to do, since I had no idea what to do with my life, other than leaving my hometown and meeting new folk. Upon consideration, I picked a language and literature degree at the Faculty of Letters thinking that language would enhance my language (naturally) and literature would enhance my writing, plus I could do some translation maybe (which I still love) and triple win all the way. Plus, the paper said this would give me the opportunity to be both a translator and a teacher, while the Applied Languages mentioned just translator. Thus, considering the economy, I thought it would be better to have options, right?
I can’t say I have been mistaken, but let’s just say I have never been a fan of learning things by heart, grammar as a science is a nightmare, literature as a science is messed up and complicated, and nobody explains things to you ever, because you’re an adult, daaaaah! Let me not forget that the occasions upon which I encountered a translation along the way were scarce and by third year, it became obvious that the only career I’m gonna have will be that of a teacher.
Let me put this mildly to you: I don’t want to be a teacher.
Soon before graduation, everybody asked everybody what are our career prospects, if we wanna go to masters (which ones?) or find a job and basically there I was, back in high school square one, just three years older. I looked at several masters, contemplated even going abroad (*crying inside* i have no money) and I came to the conclusion that I would rather flee than start school again. My parents would not buy that, of course, so Missy, you need to go to masters . Whichever you choose. This conflicted with my conviction that there will be two more years wasted, in which I’m gonna need the help of my family to buy food and pay for my dorm etc. thus two more years in which i’m gonna be positively stuck in the same town, doing the same things. It was a sad prospect, kind of, especially when you’re in Florence, face to face with the breathtakingly beautiful cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, surrounded by crowds of Chinese tourists who have no occupation other than snapping selfies and spending huge amounts of their parents money on large Chanel paper bags(*crying internally* I have no money).
I would have rather stared at ducks all day.
I had pangs of regret that I did not go to the Applied Languages degree program, as it was filled with nice translation puzzles all the time, that would have got me on fire, so I decided to make my choice right this time. I was nervous as fuck when I went to sit the admissions test. I was even more nervous as fuck when a handsome British guy sat in the middle of the admissions committee and gave me a speech on beer made from bread no one wants, and all I could think of was how well worn his suit was. I had positively no idea what I was getting myself into, I humiliated myself by not knowing what had been going on in politics for the last six months and I cried my eyes out when I came out because I don’t like feeling stupid. I even got the lowest grade, but damn, I got in. Still, it didn’t prevent me from crying some more.
Then, when we were told what we had to do, basically hear a speech and deliver it back as faithful to the original as possible, I was scared. Literally SHAKING. Basically, my semester went from feeling scared, feeling more scared, crying, and then trying again. By December I nearly hit rock bottom when one of the most hardcore teachers made me cry, then I delivered the best consecutive without notes I ever did, while still crying, then basically I wanted to go home, hide under a rock and die. Every bit of success was scrutinized, not by them, but by me. I was so tough on myself, always thought I would never do it well, that I’m a failure, while loving some of it. I still got up in the morning, never skipped classes, always tried again. And then I hit rock bottom when I failed my exam because of a word. I was “not nervous” nervous and I basically did the unthinkable. I reduced my two weeks in Italy, booked in advance, to one week and I spent two weeks meditating on whether I should keep self inflicting an intellectual strain on my mind, who otherwise functioned perfectly. You know, because undermining your own way of thinking always works just great.
There’s a great thing about rock bottom: you have nothing left to lose, not even dignity.
I forgot about all the good things I bring to the table and only focused on the bad things. That was the thing, it was not the feedback, nor the remarks on my Romanian, nor what I did not do right, it was the pressure I inflicted on myself. I thought that at 22, I should be perfect from any point of view, but that doesn’t imply that nothing will ever change or that I won’t ever have to learn things.
A BA degree makes you perfect, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I forgot the fact that there will always be learning and that’s OK and that every day I have the chance to do better and not fail. I thought that because I wasn’t praised, I was a loser and forgot why I got into this field in the first place:
- I like helping people who don’t speak my language/other language I know understand things
- I like challenges.
- I like puzzles.
Constantly focusing on failure leads to failure, naturally. Not for me, though, as you’ve probably made it out by now. On the brick of self inflicted insanity, I thus took the decision of being myself, whatever that means. It wasn’t wondrous, Hollywood happy ending style, with people applauding and singing randomly in the end. And I might even be happy. For all I know, I haven’t freaked out about anything ever since then.
I honestly have no idea yet why I did all of this. I had absolutely no idea where I stopped being my usual self and some other part took over. There’s even an explanation to this and I give credit to my boyfriend for it.
My boyfriend put it poetically into my freaked out alter ego whom he named Aliena (from alien). He said, upon listening to me practice work (which resulted in a massive angry explosion, upon not working) that I have the tendency to become someone else when I freak out (much like that “better?” Sneakers commercial). I actually told him he must be joking, that it cannot be, that I’m still me even when I work, let’s say, but he insisted that I should remember not to be someone I am not. If my colleague speaks fancy Romanian, or my other colleague is calm and collected, but I am fire and all over the place sometimes, I should probably embrace/tame me more, than become a sort of druid combination of what I’m not, which is unnatural and unsustainable on the long-run. It’s even proven that I am usually making more mistakes when I force-feed certain ways of being onto myself, then when I am basically myself. Plus, it makes for a great inside joke: it’s always funny when I go off the rails, talking pretentiously and unnaturally, and he’s like “hey, Aliena, go away.” Even when he’s not there.
He’s one of the reasons I’m still sane and why I’ll probably always love what I do.
What I meant to say by this long rant is that sometimes, you are exactly how you are for a reason, and you should not trade your manner of being for some fantasy you might like at a certain moment. Also, can you actually reach a point in which you can say you don’t need to change something, enhance something or learn something new? It does not mean that you’re not worthy of anything if you are not someone else’s definition of perfect, it means you need to be your own definition of perfect and be happy with you.
Well, that sounds all pretty and cliche because I’ve tuned down and calmed down. Wait until Aliena takes over. Maybe the story ain’t gonna be so pretty then.