I wasn’t quite sure who I was for most of March. It might have been the last vestiges of seasonal depression, or maybe some sort of cosmic malaise, but there were a lot of moments where I wasn’t sure where to find myself. It is a scary thing to feel yourself slipping away just as you were making so much progress towards becoming who you always wanted to be.
Amidst all of that, I felt like I was sort of going through the motions of the many roles that I occupy. As a soon-to-be-graduated college student, I struggled to find the joy that I had cultivated in recent years in my academic pursuits. When I found the courage sometime in 2014 to take myself seriously, to really believe in my ideas, I figured that it would be a one-way street. I thought that it would only get easier to drive the vehicle that is my ambition towards the city on the shining hill that is my future. And in many ways it has been, but that road has also been full of twists and turns and road blocks that I didn’t account for in my pre-planned route.
So much of my undergraduate experience has been about giving myself the space to be vulnerable and the time to be unsure of who I might become, but it has also hinged on this idea that I knew I would lead myself somewhere “successful”. Through this sort of radical softness married to iron-clad determination, I gave myself permission to make a lot of good choices and many more mistakes. And yet these past few weeks have had me questioning myself and my future in a way that I think is at once normal for a graduating senior but also deeply unsettling for the narrative of progress to which I had tied myself.
I will admit that I am still shaken by the curious position of being an educated black queer person in America today. I regularly hold space for the ways in which I am oppressed just as I recognize all of the privileges by which I have been shaped. As an aspiring scholar and cultural critic, of course I always have something to say about the world around me but I am certain that the hardest words to find are those about myself. I am writing this blog post 30,000 feet in the air on the way back from a queer video game studies conference. I was reminded just how radical it is for someone like me to exist in the world, and I am no stranger to how earnestly it wants to destroy me.
I think that March was about me working through a lot of swallowed trauma, and it was about reckoning with what I was really willing to make possible in this world. So many of my journal entries have me asking and trying to answer questions like: what do you want? what world do you want to imagine into being? how are you doing your part to reduce the suffering of others? I think that it was through this questioning that I eventually found my way back to myself. I don’t yet know where I am going, in all senses of those words, but I do know that I will have to work to bring myself with me.