I’ve lived my entire life with an all inclusive feeling of…uneasiness. It’s 2018, and I cannot feel completely safe going to a movie theater or to the mall or even on a simple walk.
Those situations aside, my uneasiness stemmed from my incomparable self consciousness. I am 21 years old and I still feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I wake up and take a shower and do my hair and get ready for the day and I always take a long look at myself in the mirror, noticing every little flaw about myself — a new pimple here, an out of place hair there, my slightly lazy eye is drifting to the left. Do I know where this all came from?
Not exactly but none of this even compares to the increasing anxiety (and self consciousness) that has consumed my life since I graduated High School.
As I have written before, I thought going to Belmont was the right choice for my family, not me. My brother went there and I felt like in order to impress them and the other that I surrounded myself with, going there was the best choice. Walking each day to class, dread took over my mind, body and soul knowing this wasn’t for me.
Belmont University, with its nice features, is an ugly place. I don’t use “ugly” loosely here. Everyone knows the administration lacks the superiority and even maturity to listen to the student body with regards to academics, greek life and so on. But, Belmont puts up this facade of openness and acceptance when everything felt like (to me at least) the exact opposite.
It comes as no surpsie that the majority of Belmont students come/came from wealth. White kids coming from gated communities, coasting off of their parents. This is something not to be ashamed about, but when the student body isn’t humbled at that point in their lives, it becomes a problem. With this sense of privledge, everyone felt like they were better than one another. Person A had to show off their Privet Jet so Person B can look like less of a person without realizing it.
For my one year tenure at Belmont, everything felt like a competition. Specifically in the film department, no one could work well with one another. The students wanted to one up each other in the most subtle and somewhat petty way possible. I have a story from the first weekend we had a film bootcamp. I was assigned to a group of other freshman and we had a little break while the other group filmed a little short. We were huddled in the corner, and one kid took his laptop and placed himself in front of all of us, laptop stationed on his left leg far enough over so we could all see what he was working on. This student then would continually peer over his shoulder to make sure others were watching him. Honestly, this sight disgusted me to my core.
That one moment has still stuck with me since, almost 2 years ago. Since then, I have had a few conversations with different students about the [toxic] environment that Belmont has presented to these students and how they have felt the same sentiments as I still do. This certain type of competitive feeling tore down my spirits and brought back my depression that I thought I had stored away just a few months prior. Belmont made me feel like I was not good enough to walk around the campus, let alone show my face. Seeing others try to show off how “smart” they are with the same folk songs, the same long essays with big words and the same hipster YouTuber edited videos really put me in a box of hopelessness.
I knew I needed a new environment and I thought UMKC was the place.
In short, I was wrong.
At UMKC, I had to start all over. Sometimes, that is an over exaggeration but I was put into all intro classes, classes that I took in High School but this time around, I am having to pay x-amount of thousands of dollars to do. The institution wrecked me both on a psychoanalytical and existential level. UMKC worsened the feeling that Belmont instilled in me — that maybe I am not good enough. For 4 months, I did not pick up my camera. I didn’t feel like I deserved it, that I truly wasn’t suppose to be a film major.
That’s right, UMKC made me want to quit film all together. I begged and pleaded with the administrators and my advisers to put me in the advance classes, trying my best to show them I did not belong in the entry level classes. Ultimately, they did not care. About 95% of the student who were film majors didn’t even care about the major at all — most would skip classes or turn in half assed assignments or use old footage and call it good. The drive was not there and for me, everything felt wasted.
I was fed up with UMKC and the shit they forced me into.
I needed a way out.
I needed something that challenged me both as an intellectual and as a potential filmmaker.
Will UNCSA be that?
I ask myself roughly a thousand questions a day. Some are about what will I eat, some are about me and my future endeavors. Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers even though I like to believe I do. I shoot my shot and I come up short eight times out of ten.
I still do not like who I am. However, I am still young and I believe in the importance of self love and self care and sometimes, letting my feelings out through any possible way. This piece, I had no intentions of harm or attributing this to my pettiness or bitterness directed towards anyone. I think writing is a great way to convey feelings when they are too hard to say out loud. I spent 19.5 years of my life being the butt of the joke, getting shit on by almost everyone and in order to be comfortable with myself, I believe I have to stick up for myself and not be afraid to speak my mind. These past 2 years have been a rollercoaster of emotions, something I never thought I would face.
But I am up for the upcoming challenges. I have a great base to fall back on when life gets too tough, something I did not rely on enough due to my arrogance. I have found ways to cope with my depression so it cannot get the best of me again. For once, I am optimistic about the future rather than being afraid of the coming days. These next few years will be an adventure to live.
Because to live, will be an awful big adventure.