[[these are my final thoughts on this mess of a year that I wrote in a document whenever I was near my computer, which isn’t very often lately… there are probably good things that happened this year. I haven’t been in the mood to focus on them. maybe some other time. in the mean time, thanks for reading my blog, hope it gets more fun next year. have a nice end of the year and thanks for the support, you know who you are, I love you, xoxo.]]
December 20th, 2016.
This year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. It’s a bit of a cliché, but my life has changed. A lot. Of course, change is inevitable, human, synonymous to life itself. We all change, from day to day, moment to moment, there is no stopping it. But sometimes we get to sort of see it happening as it unfolds. At the most fortunate of times, we can [maintain an idea of] control [of] the changes… and in the most unfortunate of times, we do not see them coming, or even notice them at all, only realising the effects of change in hindsight.
Change is tricky. We like it when we’re the ones in control and try to avoid it when we’re not. It’s easy to think of change as a completely good or a completely bad thing. But sometimes it’s both good and bad, or neither. Yet I feel that as a person who is constantly on the move I do not feel very grounded; immediate change is usually the first solution in my mind to any possible ‘problem’. If A doesn’t work? I’ll go straight to Z. It has been a tough long road to try and not think in extremes, to see the world not quite so black and white… and consider [one of] many alternative possibilities rather than the immediate complete opposite of my problem. I am not quite there yet… but I know a complete change of direction isn’t always the solution. However, change doesn’t always have to be drastic.
How often do we say “This year will be my year!” and how often has a year that was supposed to be my year, never really been my year? Not a single year in the history of years has ever been my year. Even if I survive the end of an academic cycle successfully (an accomplishment in itself, because this hasn’t always been the case), even if summer is great, even if I finally start to feel comfortable in my skin… the end of the year is always a disaster. My birthday surrounded by tears. Every December a minefield.
But 2016, you really got me fooled.
Halfway through the year, I thought things were looking up. I started seeing a future that was shaping up to make sense. “For the first time, I’m thinking past tomorrow” became a sentiment I could relate to. I started feeling connected to a world where plans beyond just the following week are not just vague ideas.
I knew I wasn’t quite there yet, but I started looking forward to maybe finding a routine that would work for me. Seeing sense in settling in a place, a house where all my stuff could live and I could finally find some sort of order for things, life and myself. Because I have figured out that those are components that are important for me to function well. I need structure and I need a safe place to come home to and where my things – for I have many things – have a home. And from this place, I would be able to work on things and not feel completely lost. I was looking forward to being grounded and feeling safe.
But all around me, the world burned. From events and politics on the greater planet Earth, to the up close and personal. There are many things happening in this world that are very unfair, and there were too many of them all at once. I’m not talking about myself, there are just no words for the things that happened in the lives of close ones.
The end of 2016 is drawing near and I feel nowhere close to being grounded or safe. Everything is unclear and unfair. And then I am talking about myself. Heartbreak shakes you to the very core of your being. I have doubted every single thing I could think of and will probably doubt many things in the time to come. Things that probably do not even matter.
And I don’t like to think in gender divisions at all, but there were some things that started to sting this year and I can’t stop thinking about how we have to break down those walls because the status quo is not acceptable.
The world may seem to think that it doesn’t matter how prepared you are as a woman. How far you’ve come. How hard you’ve fought. How qualified you may be. There will always be a straight cis white boy, muttering immature things without any indication of sense, logic, or argument. And the sad thing is, he will be the one who gains respect in the eyes of the onlookers. They do not know better.
Why do you want this? the world asks. Because, says the straight cis white boy. Because I am a straight cis white boy and that means I know best, and I deserve best.
Why exactly would you deserve best? the world is finally starting to ask, finally awaking from its slumber, questioning the archaic structures put in place a long long time ago, a time nobody remembers but that still resonates through ages and ages, to this very day. Because the straight cis white boys have always had best, says the straight cis white boy. Scared of the future. Desperately holding on to archaic ideas of a soon distant past. I have always been told I can do anything. I have always been told and shown, and given everything that I deserve simply for being male, and straight, and white.
So, non-straight, non-white, non-boy… YOU must be to blame! Is what ingrained cultural thinking is telling me right now. Because someone must be at fault. And I have lost this battle by default. If the straight cis white boy always comes out on top, I must be the one to grin and bear it, accept the blame. I must be the one with the issues, because hey, I’m the one that’s battling issues anyway. But I will not stand for that. I will not let someone else’s issues become my issues. I will not accept fault. Not when I’m the one who’s working to change things for the better.
So I’ve got news for you, privileged-by-default people of the world. Your time of backwards logic based on mindless tradition will end… it will not be 2016. It will not be 2017… but you will not grow by holding on to the past. This world is outgrowing you, and you are nothing but a toddler throwing a temper tantrum while the rest of us move on and try to build better things for everybody on this planet. Inclusion rather than exclusion. Eradicating privilege from birth.
And yes, I am picking on straight cis white boys for a reason because I have been letdown by one straight cis white boy too many, but also because you do not notice your privilege because you are THE most privileged on this planet. But these are not the only privileged people and I am also very privileged because I am white-passing and straight-passing and we all have our own backpacks. Whoever you are, it is hard for you to unpack your backpack. I get it.
But I do not exist to unpack your backpack for you. We all learn from each other, but our individual backpacks are our own to unpack.
I do not exist to coddle you. Life is hard, and we all have to learn to deal with it.
I do not exist to support you without support in return. When you do not get your way, I do not exist to bend over backwards. Support should come from a healthy and loving place, never demanded, but given freely.
I do not exist to be put in second place. I matter just as much as anybody.
I do not exist to be erased, eradicated, eliminated. My experience and needs differ from yours, but they have a place in this world.
My experiences are valid.
My needs are valid.
My life is valid, and I am done trying to accommodate to someone else’s life that clearly does not align with mine, in order to be awarded with disrespect. To be disposed of when things don’t go the way they were.
To all of us going through something tough right now (for we are many):
Change can be devastating, but we will turn it into something good. We will survive this. We can, and we will do this. We are strong independent people who can only make things better by lifting each other up. Nobody needs to be scared of individuals doing things right, because if you succeed, I succeed. And when I succeed, you succeed.
Know that I am rooting for you. And please, PLEASE do not think you need to do things alone. If there is anything that 2016 has taught me is that together we can do it.
December 25th, 2016.
No thanks for the lies
No thanks for the way you went about things
Disrespectful and low and easy and mean
And really, I could continue
but I have other things to say thanks for.
Thank you for showing me that it’s not worth fitting around other people if it hurts you.
Thank you for proving that I’ve grown.
Thank you for giving me reasons to keep fighting.
Thank you for reassuring me that change is scary but necessary for growth.
Thank you for making me stronger.
And you don’t really deserve thanks, but hey, thanks anyway.
December 31st, 2016.
I don’t think children know how to mourn when they are ten years old. Lately I’ve been thinking I never really got through all those ‘stages of grief’. I wanted to go through them this year. Now I’ll go through them with something else to mourn as well. I don’t know how to mourn people very well. But I know about loss, and I know about heartbreak. I know about love and support and strength and growth. I will be fine. I am thankful for all the people who have supported me this year, directly and indirectly. I feel as if I have a mission in the Netherlands that I have to fulfill. I’m not ready to leave again. This is a weird feeling because I have never felt that before and I never wanted to come back in the first place. But I am at peace staying here now. Hamilton, the musical and the man, has been key in shaping my 2016. If he survived all those things that came his way, we can do it too. I have no idea what the future will bring, still taking it a step at a time… but here’s to hoping the new year will be kinder to us all.
[[Image from Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley – probably until I find something else to put there because it’s copyrighted and stuff.]]