The thing about school pt.2

I still stand behind most of what I wrote in my previous post, but certain things make me cringe a bit although its just been a few months.. I want to address these things in this post but also maybe add some tips etc. I’ve gotten through high school now, so I feel like that’s a testament to something.. Also lately, since I’ve been at university etc I’ve been specifically focusing on learning from other artists and listening to lots of interviews etc. so I hope to use this knowledge here, (this might not, be so school-focused anymore though, just coming from where I stand right now.)

In my previous text I wrote “This really bad stress thing doesn’t really get that bad till like the last years of high school and if you’ve been in the same school for a while chances are you’re quite well prepared to crush it.” That was super self- absorbed imo, because I had not been going to a same school for all of high school, I just kind of felt like it was easier for everyone else. That is super dumb and annoying. High school is hard, especially hard if you’re in the age range 14–18 where most people are a complete mess, in my experience at least.

Firstly, ones stress is completely valid and ok. If you’re anxious or sad know that those feelings are a part of you that are going to be there and that you are going to to work with in order to move forward. They are difficult, but they do not mean something is wrong with you. “You can’t feel your way into feeling better, but you can act your way into feeling better. So take good actions, no matter what you’re feeling.” is my favorite quote ever by Tracee Ellis Ross and it’s super true. I think, one has to accept that one is feeling sad or stressed and not try to force yourself to be positive in order to please the outside world. As much as ‘You’re never fully dressed without a smile’ is a mantra I was raised on, I feel like I’ve moved on past that and — I allow oneself to be angry or sad and vulnurable and not smile when that’s just how I feel. And, when it comes to my own experiences with abuse, I’ve allowed myself to scream. I’ve allowed myself to try and say what i feel even if it makes others uncomfortable, because that’s something which has been freeing for me. Having to always be quiet and palatable to however my family and society wanted to define me has been ridiculously detrimental for me, and that angers me. And the only way I have been able to heal and deal with moving forward, especially in the school setting, has been allowing myself not to always perform. To allow myself to have panic attacks and to stay for hours in the school bathrooms, to allow myself to cry, to allow myself to come to school with no makeup on and with dirty clothing. These things were scary, I fucking hated them while it was happening. I felt like there was something wrong with me, but at the end of the day — they helped me get through that day. Nothing would have stifled my growth more than if I had just assimilated and tried to be like everyone else. So yeah, I worked through my pain, or I procrastinated through my pain. But continued, accepting that pain and the way society views it is simply what is real in my life right now.

“Remember, teachers have their own lives. I’ve never been the biggest fan of my teachers, but I’m quite aware that they’re really just doing their job.” I feel like this might be true, but really mostly just for private schools. When I was going to public school, I had the feeling the teachers cared way less. My friend Fee wrote a post (sorry, its in german) about their experience with teachers always being nice to them but never defending them in situations when they needed it. I think it’s super interesting and I’ve been thinking about it a lot in relation to my own experiences in high school. I was more the quiet kid, but when I did say something that was on my mind (it was usually some deeply nuanced stuff, that is not what my classmates were used to, and i know they talked behind my back about it), my teachers would look at me surprised and praise me for being critical etc and then just move on. I think a lot of the time teachers do not realize how much power they actually have to change certain dynamics in the class. To not laugh at something a bully said, just to keep the ‘positive atmosphere’ in the class or make fun of the guy becuase he hasn’t turned in his homework yet, while be super disappointed in others (mainly girls) because that’s just — not what you expected from them-. There are little internalized power dynamics, usually rooted in internalized misoginy, that made school a very unsafe and uncomfortable space for many, including me. And that’s just reality. “Make sure u smile at yr teachers and at least pretend youre interested in what youre learning in school so u dont develop a hostile relationship with them.” (I do want to explore this more, kind of connected with my interest in developmental psychology, and talk to actual teachers — figure out how and what one can improve in order to make schools safer for the next generations.)

I do stand behind a lot of the little tips I gave in the previous post. Lately, what’s been helping is trying to set up habits. I’m a very ‘all or nothing’ person, so I try to tell myself — you need to practice piano today at least 30 minutes and then I just ignore any excuse that might come up in my head. I still have bad habits, like overeating, which constantly come back to haunt me. But I’ve realized, having a bunch of good habits, like going to the gym, taking walks, showering, washing face, brushing teeth, having dance parties, going out with friends, listening to podcasts, watering my plants.. can help me not let my binge-eating disorder take over my life. It can make me think less about what a complete failure I feel like and more about, how I can move forward and how I can forgive myself.

I think it’s important to have someone to talk to, regularly. And that should not just be the people you talk to all the time anyway. I try to force myself, once in a while to either, write down what I feel in a journal, to call my grandmother on skype, to meet with a friend for a coffee or to email a friend I trust. One has to have the feeling that there are others in your life who feel like you are worth being in their life. I love this video by Rosianna and this video by Maya, they kind of pushed my to get my shit together and to proactively go out there and invite people to spend time with me. To appreciate the people who are there and to not be afraid to ask for something while giving in return.

“Just keep going. Plan what yr gonna do in the next 24 hours and do it.” I don’t know why this hit me so suddenly, but one day I realised that life is just a collection of choices that one makes. When one looks back on a year, one sees little ‘now’ moments, together in a mosaic. One can always decide to do something now, and then to do something else after that. One has power over ones choices (not always, im not looking at this politically, some people obviously — can’t just chose to wake up and do what they know is going to push them forward. they have to work on a shit job or they have to suffer through illness etc — i try my best not to be fake positive, but I’m just coming from what helped me) and at any time, one can chose to redefine oneself and to do a thing that you know will help you feel better in the future. Often times, i have felt like I have no control over my life and that everything is happening too much. But once I started trying to make active choices, things felt a bit nicer.. like maybe we can try to continue in our own way and in our own little structure that we were born into.

“Say I’ll work for 30 mins then do some exercises and and then take consistent breaks and dont forget to reward yourself after a few hours!” I do feel like 30 minutes of reading or writing work is too short for me. Lately it’s been at least an hour, but I am able to read a text for 2–3 hours. A thing that helps me with reading stuff is changing locations, so I would be at my table, then I would lay on the couch, then I would sit under the table or on the kitchen floor. If it gets a bit boring, just change stuff around a bit, it helps me a lot definitely. Also, if you really dont want to be doing whatever you are doing, make sure you’re drinking tea or something, have snacks on hand, ur wearing ur favorite pyjamas and that you’re just all around comfortable in every other aspect. It helps getting through it a bit easier.

Another tip, which has been helping me lately, is try not to listen to super fast music after the morning, because it messes my brain up. It thinks I have to be doing some exciting shit with my friends, when really I just need to get through this text on critical term theory. So yeah, that’s more for me, a goal for 2k17 has been to listen to more classical music, so I’m trying my best. Also, meditation. It Does help. And I should do it more. Talking myself into existance :)

Make sure you keep learning from the people you look up to, ask them how they got there and know that — everyone is going through or has went through something. And everyone, has something they can teach you. Keep going, keep learning, keep continuing.

I hope this helps.

Like what you read? Give Hannah Sofija a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.