Our whole lives we have had to follow a rubric whether its in education or in our everyday lives. We were taught how to act, how to fit in, how to get an A, how to think; leaving little room to be you. I catch myself always asking myself who I am? Yes, I have passions and dreams; but what makes me, me? You could ask your friends and loved ones and some of them will be honest with you, but the mistake we always make is how worried we are of how others see us- not how we see ourselves. I don’t know who I am, or what I want to do and I guess that’s okay for now. But here’s what I do know.
I am in a long-distance relationship and what everyone wants to hear is that it is so difficult, but it really isn’t. I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 years and I know in every relationship, there’s ups and downs but are downs have never threated our relationship. Neither of us has cheated and we have never gone on a break. And why would I? If I’m happy and he’s happy then why would we ever end? So we can experience other people? Just to end back up with each other not knowing what you both did when you were apart. Maybe you would say that I might find myself without him and maybe you’re right, but I believe that’s an excuse. I wouldn’t know who I am whether I am with him or not. Many people in my life feel like they get a say in the outcome of MY relationship its funny because many of them have never even had a steady relationship. It makes me laugh when my parents try to give me advice about relationships when theirs failed, or my sister tries to tell me what good for me when we barely talk because she is so consumed with herself. Or maybe it’s my best friend who knows me the most? But how does she know me when I don’t even know myself?
I came to JMU not knowing many people at all but I was still super excited. I was surprised to find out that when I got here some people already knew me. Maybe it was social media or through the grapevine, but they knew that I was in a relationship before I even met them. Still, as a Sophmore, I have guys come up to me asking me if I’m still with my boyfriend, and when I reply, yes, they find an excuse to walk away from me. They won’t remember my name, just that I have a boyfriend. In moments like that, I realize how grateful I am to find someone who doesn’t do shit like that.
I go out and realize that I remained in the same spot the entire party. A corner, with only girls surrounding me in order for guys to get the hint to fuck off. I sometimes don’t even realize that I’m doing it. When parties are really crazy packed, I have to ask people to switch spots with me on the dance floor because I’m getting “felt up” and have nowhere to go. I see my friends who are mostly single, getting repeatedly fucked over from guys who lead them on, get what they want, and never speak to them again. I’ve held them when they came home crying. Many times. So if one more person asks me, “why would you stay with your boyfriend from high school when you’re both in different colleges?” It’s because of that right there.
A critical feminist may ask me why I continue to go back to these frat parties if this keeps happening? To be honest, I just want to make memories with my friends and try and have a good time but sometimes you must sacrifice a few unbearable moments of your night when I decide to go out. Maybe a strong feminist would tell me to take a stand and try to do something to stop the fraternity behavior, but where would I start or do? Fraternity behavior is embedded into our school and this society and I don’t know how to unravel it.
No one should have to get used to this shit and unfortunately, I have. Some girls are the lucky ones, they find someone who they can actually stand here at JMU. Stop living your life following damn rubric because I have followed one for too long and look where it got me, confused. One thing that I take away from this rant is what others do and say and how they see you, does not matter. Its how you see yourself.