NOW my blog is all secret, I feel a new freedom to write on here and be honest.
I moved to Melbourne about a month ago and started my course to teach high school English and Media Studies a couple of weeks ago.
I’m going to take this blog through my reflections on living in the city, starting uni and then about how I’m doing with SSA through it all.
I’m loving my first time living in the big city. I love the busyness and the public transport, and the availability of everything and anything. I love that last night I could catch a tram, which stopped five minutes from my house, and be on one the city’s best known streets 20 minutes later to catch up with a mate. I love walking down the street or jogging at the local park and being able to see the city skyline in the distance. I’ve been able to get to some live music, acrobatic show, sports events etc, which has been great. Though, honestly, I think I’ll end up back in the country eventually. It’s not so great as to justify my living here for the rest of my days. This year I’m treating myself to a good suburb, but if I was to be here long term I would move further out and that would lessen the appeal somewhat. Also from here to my uni is about 10kms. It takes 45 minutes to walk, train, then tram it there. I miss my eight minute walk to work of a few years ago.
Uni this year is going to be so intense. I’m doing a 1.5 subject load, so there is plenty to do. I forgot how horrible all the reading that has to be done was. Thankfully I’ll be all ready to teach by mid-November, so the suffering is nine months away from ending. One thing I’ve reinterpreted now I’m older is that the reason I don’t have much to say in class discussions is not because I’m quiet and lacking ideas, but because my brain is practical and struggles to engage quickly with theory that does not originate in real world situations.
Today at uni was good. I sat next to people I knew in classes; I kept busy in my break and people were friendly. Other days haven’t been so good. I feel like I’ve put so much pressure on myself to make friends. Like I’ve made it a god of sorts. I feel like I was a bit of a social disaster during my first uni attempt circa 2004-2006 and that now I’m a more mature person in a different place in life it should be different. It literally worries me a lot. But it’s irrational. I run through the reasons why whenever it grips me too much: It takes me a while to get to know people, always has, probably always will, there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t need to be surrounded by people 24/7 and therefore looking at extroverts and going ‘I wish that was me’ is silly as they have a different impetus to be social. My first time at uni wasn’t even a social disaster as I’ve met up with two different people from that course in the past six weeks and had good times. As well this ‘I need to make uni friends’ kick is more about proving something to myself about myself than actual friends; I have friends. I have friends in this city. I have already had a few friends visiting the city who have asked to catch up. I guess this is the area in my life where my dissatisfaction with myself is manifesting presently. Maybe the time my parents asked my teacher if I had friends in Year 7 at a parent/teacher/child interview and I extrapolated that people thought I was a loner who struggled in social situations has infected me.
In some ways I feel like I’m a 25-year-old guy in the stage where a nine-year-old boy is only aware of the males around him. It’s funny at uni because in the first couple of weeks I mainly talked to males, and there are all these females around, but it’s like they don’t exist to me. Of the names of other students I can remember they are about 70 per cent male. (There’s so many new names to remember at church and uni and soon at a school) Maybe I’ll have the stage where women are suddenly the most interesting creatures in the world next. That would be cool.
I’ll be around a lot of females soon. My first in school placement where I observe and then do some teaching this semester is at an all girls school. I knew, knew that was going to happen. I was like ‘God is going to send me to an all girls school’. And on Thursday there I will be. As I’m currently relating to genders like a nine-year-old this will be interesting. On the flipside, I think it will allow me to have my first experience of teaching without the pressure that boys would bring. I think that going to a boys school or a co-ed school first off would make me feel inadequate and that they are more manly than me, I would feel pressured to be one of the guys and I would want them to see me as a man’s man. I don’t think any of that would be healthy, so by the time I’m teaching boys or co-ed in second semester I’ll have the basics under control and can deal with that pressure if it comes.
Well, this is getting long…
Okay, SSA. There are a lot of good looking 20-something guys in the city. This was never really too much of a problem in my country town. Maybe I’d see one or two a day, but never 100 or so. A week ago I wasn’t doing too well with the whole ‘not looking at guy walking past me’ thing. And my looking wasn’t always lustful; sometimes it was the nine-year-old me going, ‘wow, that guy looks great. I want to be him when I grow up’ or ‘please notice and affirm little nine-year-old me’ or ‘that guy has glasses and I have glasses’ or ‘that guy has hairy legs – who knew it could happen to cool people too’. This week I’m tiring a bit of looking. I could keep looking forever and there would always be another man to walk past. I think all my looking needs to stop, because lustful is unhelpful, and looking at a stranger and thinking that just because they look nice they automatically have it better than me is unhelpful as well.
Otherwise on the SSA front, there are definitely more gay people around here than in country town, but that hasn’t presented any problems. I don’t feel a need to reveal about myself to them or whatever. At my new church there hasn’t been a moment where I would reveal about my SSA, but I’m hoping that when it comes up, I’ll be honest and go for it. I think going in as a new person with no baggage from being known or known about gives me a good opportunity to do this. But, yeah, we’ll see what happens.
One thing I am finding hard is connecting with God. The city and my life is so busy and there aren’t those opportunities to just go and sit in a park and stare at the city lights when I want to think. I need to find my routine, so I can find where prayer and Bible reading fit into that.
So, yeah, that’s the story of a country boy in the big city.