Felt like this would not fit, I was wrong
When I got asked to write for Collective I should have felt excited and I should have felt honored. However, I just felt anxious and afraid. After saying yes, I read the pieces. Which led me to feeling even more anxious and afraid. I am not sure why, but I got the feeling I would not fit in. However, I always feel like I would not fit in. I was asked to write, so why did I still feel like I would not be good enough for something I was asked to do?
This theme is a recurring pattern in everything I do. If you ask any teacher of mine, they will most likely know my name from being the signature on the bottom of emails starting with “my sincere apologies” or “I apologize for the assignment handed in an hour ago, I feel like I took the assignment into a completely different direction than intended”. I am not sure why, but the feeling of not fitting in and not being good enough has been haunting me for a while now and it's safe to say I do not feel like being haunted with it much longer.
I am not sure where it started, I could list everything from my childhood and psychoanalyze myself if I wanted to, but frankly I don’t feel like it. So let me try to offer you an explanation using some terrible generation Z metaphors.
You know that song “death bed”? You know the one famous for the romantic videos on TikTok even though the song is literally about someone dying at a young age and being on their death bed? Yes, well, it has the lines “don’t stay awake for too long, don’t go to bed” in it, which always confuses me. Kind of like my emotions regarding the fact that I feel like I do not fit in confuse me. Something inside me tells me I am not good enough for what I am needed to do, that it is not even worth trying because I will only make a fool out of myself anyway, but that I need to say yes because I am good enough. My emotions contradict like de Sade contradicts himself in relation to the contemporary feminist values of 1790 when he wrote that men do not have the right to “own” wives, but have the right to “enjoy” her and force her if they must. If only I knew how to change my contradicting thoughts permanently.
Right now, being about 400 words in, I already feel like what I am writing will be laughed at, mocked at so to say, and I have these feelings of not wanting to send it in. It has taken me a while to feel confident enough to write. If I do not write about my passion for women’s rights I feel anxious. I am trying to entertain my reader, already imagining the only thing my reader will be entertained by is my poor writing. However, if that will entertain one, it is still considered entertainment right?
When I was eighteen, someone told me the following: “everything you do ever tried to do went wrong, everything you do flops, and everything you will ever want to do fails automatically”. I will just clarify to you that that person is no longer in my life, but I cannot seem to get this quote washed out of my brain even if I tried. On the other hand, my fear for not fitting in has not stopped me from still taking chances though.
Joining IPM was a challenge, because I feared that I would not be smart enough, not wise enough, not knowledgeable enough. I feared that my lack of knowledge about South Sudan would mean I would in no way be able to take part in the program. However, even though I feared that I would not fit in and be mocked for my inability to name all African countries in alphabetical order, I still signed up. You are probably not interested as to why I did so, but I will inform you of the fact anyway. I did so because I wanted to. I felt like, if I were to make a complete fool of myself I could just leave and I would never have to see these people ever again in my life. I went into this acknowledging that I could leave at any time I wished if there would be anyone that would make me feel less than what I already thought myself to be. I took a shot, risking not fitting in, because I liked the program enough to take the risk, and if I truly were to not fit in, and they truly would ask me on naming all African countries in alphabetical order, I could either adapt myself and try to become as great as the rest, or leave if I felt like it would not bring me any good. It was about weighing the positives to the negatives, since failing at something is better than to have never tried something in the first place. Safe to say, I did not have to name all African countries at all, so most definitely not in alphabetical order, and I am still a student proud to answer the question of what I study with: “International Public Management, you probably have no idea what that entails but let me explain…”.
So that brings me to today, the twenty-first of May, 2020. I started this document on the sixth, and have not been able to finish until now because my fear did in fact get the best of me. I wanted to write so much, but I could not write anything else before I had written this. I am writing for that collective that so desperately scared me, writing about what fears me. I chose to write, even though I feared being laughed at, because I believe that I can. Someone I used to know always liked my writing, and just like the quote about how everything I will ever try or do simply just fails, the kind words from the person who liked my writing have also stuck with me. When reading the words I wrote it is possible you view me as stupid, sarcastic, or annoying. But I stand by what I write. Every word written is a word I stand by, and if it is good enough for me to put onto paper (or well, to put onto ‘laptop’?) I feel like it should be the least of my concerns what someone might view me as. It is no use to always pass on opportunities just because you are afraid. I have learned that there is a difference between living and being simply alive, and staying on the sidelines passing on every opportunity that comes your way will never make you truly live. So, hereby I am calmly closing the chapter titled “I do not fit in” and opening the chapter of “I might not fit in, but there really are more important things to worry about, so take the chance”. I have heard great things about this chapter, so I am curious and I cannot wait until I get to the next.
By: Melanie Dreier Gligoor
Melanie is a first year International Public Management student. She loves photography (once worked as a professional) and can't live without croissants and macarons.