Shakespeare, I’m Back
I believe I have mentioned before that the one class I ever failed was Shakespeare. The semester during which I was emotionally abused and sexually assaulted has been a dark mark on my academic history. During that semester I found myself in mental chaos like I’d never experienced before, chaos my current therapist has been able to identify as a mixed manic and depressive episode. While I am diagnosed officially with bipolar 2 (experiencing only hypo-mania, not full mania), my therapist does suspect I may have been fully manic at this time.
But at the time the only thing I could identify was the depression. It consumed all aspects of my life, including my studies, to the point that I obtained a letter from my doctor asking for an accommodation to drop below full time credits while maintaining full time status. I dropped half my classes. But even that was not enough. At the end of the semester I received my first F. The passing grade in another course was given only out of the goodness of my professor’s heart –I had not done the work necessary to earn that.
I was devastated. Not by the F alone, I could at least recognize that my mental health had gotten out of control, and my grades reflected that. But I was devastated because it was Shakespeare. This was the class I was supposed to smash out of the park. This was the class I’d been looking forward to since I knew the course existed. I had enrolled the moment I’d completed my pre-requisites. Shakespeare was my thing. I had even been spending over a year studying the sonnets for fun, and writing my own. After H, I didn’t write another sonnet until four years later. After H, I questioned my identity, and because of that the classes I cherished most, suffered most.
I know I’ve written before about how I left the English major the following semester. I used to think it was to avoid H as he was also an English major. I now understand that my confidence in who I was had been shaken.
So it is no small thing that in just over a week I will be in a Shakespeare class again. Not only is this a chance for redemption, but it’s also a chance for me to prove to myself that he did not take away any part of me. I am whole, not broken. Every part of me is found, not a single piece missing. I may have felt for a long time that he stole something from me, but it’s always been here, I just forgot how to see it for awhile.
To me it is such a fitting way to start a new decade. I can truly leave H behind in the 2010s and move forward as my authentic self in the 2020s. I am confident I am on the path I was always meant to be on, and nothing could have derailed me. So where’s your power now H? You are nothing but a story from a past decade, a bump on the road I stepped over on my journey. I will be who I was meant to be, and do what I was meant to do, and so it is I who holds the power.