I am doing my utmost to remain positive, or neutral. I’m not sure which.
It has only been a day in Canada, traveling for the first time really on my own, and I am faced with an overwhelming sense of everything and nothing at all. Everything in the sense that the world is big and people are many and they all have ideas, some good and some bad. Nothing in the sense that I feel as though despite my best efforts, I may not contribute anything worthwhile.
I thought that coming to a new environment, away from the normalcy of my everyday life, would provide clarity–that I would, in essence, become a different person, wracked with new ideas and newfound confidence.
Much to my chagrin, and I will reemphasize that yes, it has in fact only been a day, I am not a different person from when I was on US soil to when I stepped into the friendly land that is Canada.
I think I romanticized the notion of the intellectual and that by surrounding myself with esteemed academics, I too would be able to bounce off my ideas and criticisms of the injustices of the world. Throughout the day, however, I found myself second-guessing everything I thought and everything I wanted to say. I desperately wanted to contribute to the dialogue, ask a question, or provoke further conversations. And in my desperation, I think I holed into a shell of my normally vocal and vivacious self. (I have never described myself as vivacious…I probably won’t do that again.)
Even though I was sent here through a career grant given to me by Keds, appropriately titled the Brave Life Grant, I don’t feel so brave. I don’t know what it will take for me to stop feeling self-conscious and really believe that I too have something worthwhile to give to the room, regardless of where that room may be and whoever may be in my company.
I guess only time, and a lot of self reflection, can move me forward.