I’m not sure where this quote came from. I think I got it from a narration of an episode of One Tree Hill. It may have been written by one of their writers, in may have been used by them from a piece of literature as many of their narrations were.
There are times in life where I’ve lost my way on a journey. I’ve made poor choices. I’ve become overwhelmed. I’ve given up and found myself in a well of self pity. Sometimes, I get swept up in a wave of life and land somewhere without really knowing how I got there.
Going to university was like that. I sacrificed an awful lot of things I loved to be ‘successful’. I was hardened by the words spoken over me, and even more so by the inactions that spoke louder than the words. The first step was going to a different high school from my peers of Primary 7. I chose my high school. It was a fight to get there. After being bullied for being smart throughout my final years of primary school, I hoped going to a school in a nicer area where there would be kids from ‘good families’ and encouraged uniform (no more snobbiness about my clothes?) would be a great fresh start. Somewhere I could do well. I was so, so wrong. I still remember the time in my first year I got the highest maths marks in the year. There was a girl from one of the catchment schools that had always been the top of the class. People came up to me constantly for days when they found out I’d done better than her. The girl was lovely and congratulated me. She’d done very well too, and I respected her. Her friends however, were disdainful as they believed I shouldn’t have been able to do better than her. Don’t you know she always gets top? they told me. I was dumb, and I badly wanted to fit in and make friends. I lost my reason for doing well, and decided to stop trying to do my best, and just be ‘good enough’ so I wouldn’t get teased or face any negativity. It was only really in my final year that I began to work hard again. By that time, I had enough confidence in myself as a person not to care what my peers thought. Plus I had a good bunch of friends I could count on both in and outside of school. Then I began to fight for marks more out of rebellion and anger than anything else. I may have found my way, but I’m not sure I found my reason for the journey. It became all about getting away from certain people, not about fulfilling ambition or doing the things I loved.
Perhaps that’s why, surrounded by wonderful new friends and grasped a fantastic opportunity, I sat in my university halls in November 2001 bawling my eyes out wondering if I’d made a big mistake. I’d lost my passion – dancing – out of my own choice after fighting so hard for it, and missed it awfully. I didn’t know why I was studying what I was studying and suddenly had no idea what I was doing!
When I surrendered to my stubborn ways, and began to believe in God, things began to change. Prayer (and listening for God’s answers to the things I talked to Him about) began to give me clarity. I began to see the gifts I had that I didn’t know about before. I also began to see my weaknesses more clearly too. My faith helped me find my reason for my journey again, and not to be afraid to take a road less travelled.
Suddenly my destination changed from Geography teacher….to…? (I only knew it was to more informal education and maybe a bit of counselling along the way).
There were confusing detours – like jobs in social care, receptionist in a sexual health clinic. A change from an MA degree to a BSc degree (despite having dropped all science subjects when I was 16) and a move to the medical school. I thought I’d made it to my destination when I met my last boyfriend, got a ‘proper full-time grown-up’ job in Community Education. But no, I was soon back on the journey again…to Australia and then returning to the place I’d ran away from at 17.
I’m still unsure that I know my way for the journey, but I know at this point, I haven’t lost my reason for it.
And as long as I don’t lose my reason, I’m ok with not knowing the way.