When I was about 12, I had a science teacher called Dr Tovey. He was a quiet, deliberate, feminine man. Small yet commanding. Discerning and rational and critical. And he was a Dr, not a Mr. I admired him.
He was also quite unpopular, and the subject of many immature jokes, which endeared him to me more. I always side with the outsider, all else being equal.
One day, he asked me what I wanted to be when I was older. I was well entrenched in the World of Horse by that point, and said I’d like a own a stud farm.
“What a waste,” was his reply.
I’ve been trying and failing not to be a waste ever since.
I wasn’t set on the stud farm idea; it was just the only feasible way I could see at the time of having a life with horses. But from then on, there’s been a voice in my head every time I’ve thought of a new path – would Dr Tovey think this was a waste?
When, throughout my teenage years I felt compelled to make clothes and paintings and music and stories, I stifled myself because it was selfish – it was wasting my high IQ on frivolity; I should pursue something concrete that helped the world somehow. I should devote myself to science not art.
When, as a disempowered twenty-year-old mired in a toxic, soul-sucking relationship, I felt called back to the World of Horse because it was the only way I knew to find peace, I chose to study an Equine Science degree, because maybe I could prove it wasn’t a waste. Maybe if I became a Dr too, I could redeem myself and my choices.
I’ve been living my life split down the middle, half who I want to be and half who I should be. Every step I’ve taken has been harder because of it, and everything I’ve created has been half-baked and disappointing. In trying to avoid wasting my potential, I have wasted so much of my goddamned potential.
It’s not Dr Tovey’s doing; this is a script I’ve been playing to myself, for fuck-knows-how-long, for fuck-knows-what-reason, and Dr Tovey just happened to lend his voice to it.
It’s a script that has never served me. It’s a script I need to fucking STOP.