Reflection: Now and Then, Before and After, and the Road That Goes Ever Ever On.

Ego haereticus, et ero in haereticus in aeternum. -me, 27 September 2015

I am a heretic, and I will be always be a heretic. It is simply who I am. It’s what I opened my admissions essay with, and it’s what I knew twenty years ago (even if I didn’t have words for it). It is what I will be until the day I pass from this mortal plane. I have chosen each step on my journey to be authentic and true – despite the discomfort that decision may bring with it, and I’m not about to change that strategy.

As of late Saturday night, the application to Go To College is done. The essay has been written and rewritten, I’ve solicited recommendations, rebuilt my resume, ordered transcripts and completed the FAFSA. I have done everything I can at this point except wait.

That’s what I am doing now, waiting. I hate waiting. I am trying not to get excited about things that haven’t happened, nor allow myself to freak out over the things that didn’t happen. It’s a trying time, finding the center and balancing the scales of past and future with the coins of the present, but I am trying.

If I am accepted to College, it will be a life-changing event. I’ve done some seriously impressive stuff during my life: machine learning, algorithm development, and multi-vector comprehensive analysis work, to name a few. Unfortunately, I have been repeatedly told that I wasn’t good enough, on account of not having an undergraduate degree. Fun fact: despite being told I wasn’t good enough to do the work, the work I did was still used for its intended purpose.

I originally got into IT after the military because I needed a job. I had experience from College I: The Commuter School, and it was work I performed well. When the dot com bubble burst, the people who kept their jobs were the ones with degrees and the ones who didn’t…well, we found other work and crawled our way through.

The problem now is, while I am good at doing IT work, I have no longer have any passion for it. I’d much rather sit around and discuss how the differences in intralinear translations reflect sociopolitical trends and how those trends can be used to strip away a given text to its barest essence. Instead, I’ll reset your password and smile, because that’s “what I am qualified to do.”

When the quality and body of your work can be dismissed with a handwave because the lack of college degree creates a mask for transmisogyny, there’s a problem. It is the kind of problem that I can’t fix by continuing to reset your password day in and day out, so I’ll do it by acquiring sheepskin and doing the work I was born to do.

Now that I’ve rambled for 500+ words, I’ll leave you with a song that my friend Sam introduced me to tonight. Here is “Before and After”, by Carrie Newcomer, the song that prompted this post.