Hello and welcome to another edition of Autostraddle’s College Lesbianage: a glimpse of college life through the wide eyes of six freshly fallen snowflake first-year queers. This month’s update will be given individually! Today Nita has decided that she’s not special after all (even though we disagree).
I’m jealous of those with a talent and an assurance for what they are good at and what skills they’re blessed with. My girlfriend is an exceptional singer and actor and is known for it and is confident that’s what she wants to do with her life. Myself, not so much.
I’m Nita, and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
I went to a small high school, with a graduating class of 64 people. I grew up in a town of 6,000. I was a straight-A student, and for my small high school I was considered ‘talented’, ‘special.’ I could play piano and write and was a decent actor and those things set me apart from my peers. I was noticed, it felt special. I discovered sign language, fell in love with it and was surprisingly good at it, and that set me apart even more. I started college with that same thought, that I was special.
I am not special. There are thousands of actors here better than I am, thousands of piano players who are prodigies, scores of writers whose prose can move one to tears. There are students who are majoring in interpreting and I am suddenly not special, I am just one of them. And for someone who was incredibly privileged growing up, coming from that small-town high school, my own mediocrity is terrifying. Things that came easily to me in high school suddenly don’t anymore, and with everyone else around me seeming to excel at their talents, I feel utterly and completely lost.
As of right now, as of the end of this semester, I am still trying to figure out what to do with my life and the talents I suppose I still possess, even though I can’t find them anywhere. I’m still struggling with my decision to become an interpreter and whether it’s what I truly want to study — I failed a required screening exam back in March, and my retake was May 1st. If I don’t pass this retake, I cannot continue in the major, and then I’ll be even more lost. I thought with sign language, I had discovered the one thing I was extremely good at and wanted to pursue as a future career, but even that assurance feels like it’s slipped away. And nothing scares me more than uncertainty.
Some days I’m not sure I want to pass. I feel like I’ve lost my passion for things I once loved, and I honestly don’t know how to get it back.
My roommate and I took a break this week and watched Kiki’s Delivery Service, a Miyazaki classic and my favorite childhood movie. It’s one I watched many times as a kid, even named my cat after, and yet watching this movie in my dorm room with my roommate was the first time it struck me. There’s a part of the movie where Kiki loses her ability to fly, and she says, “Without even thinking about it, I used to be able to fly. Now I’m trying to look inside myself and find out how I did it.”
Right now, at this moment, I am Kiki. I have lost the things that come easily to me, and I’m doing a lot of searching and a lot of praying to find out how they were so natural in the first place and just why I loved to do them. I don’t know when I’ll gain back my ability to fly, or if it’ll manifest as a different thing entirely, but it will be there. And when it appears, I’ll be ready to soar.