In February I posted a blog titled “why you’ll hear a lot more from me from now on” (x) and since then you have heard from me exactly zero times. I talked a lot about how silence is complicity and then I stayed silent. And now I’m going to tell you why.
Just a couple of weeks after I posted my last blog, my placement contract was suddenly terminated. I thought things were going well (or at least, they were okay), and then I was saying goodbye to people I know I will never see again and trying to decide if going into my favourite places one last time would be too hard and writing my name on the wall of my favourite bar so that I could be a part of its story the way that it became a part of mine. And then I was sobbing in the airport because my bags were too heavy to be put on a plane that I didn’t want to be on and I couldn’t figure out why or how things had turned out the way that they did.
I have always been taught that I am smart and capable but that doesn’t mean that I am invincible and when I can’t do things I should ask for help. I have always tried to be clear and honest and communicate what I’m experiencing so that people understand what I’m facing, and I always hope that others will do the same with me. It is important to me to make sure that other people I interact with feel heard because that’s what I want in my interactions too. And as I sat on the airplane over the Atlantic two months before I wanted to be there, I felt like I had lost my voice. I felt like I had been trying to get people’s attention and they weren’t hearing me no matter how many times I called for help. I was heartbroken, and I was angry, and I was defeated.
I never thought my placement project was going to work out. I was certainly hopeful, but its scale was too big and I am too inexperienced to accomplish that in such a short time frame. I am not surprised that it was ultimately deemed a failure of a project. I was surprised, though, that I was deemed a failure as a volunteer, and as a student. I was surprised at how small I felt, and at how long it took me to heal. I’m still surprised when, every so often, my breath catches in my throat because somehow I got convinced that I wasn’t enough.
I lost my voice for months because I didn’t feel like I was worth listening to. Because I let other people tell me that I wasn’t worth listening to. I know that’s not true but it took some relearning. I can’t and won’t say with such certainty this time that anyone will hear more from me from now on because I don’t know how much I have to say. But at least I know now that I can say it.