I am aware there has not been much funny here recently; nor much of anything else, for the matter. I have been keeping up with my writing at LeftStickRight, but my motivation to write other pieces has waned lately with time and inner turmoil.
My trip to Wichita went rather well. I even landed an interview at a prominent ad agency. It looked like a beautiful and friendly place to work and I wanted it badly, but I didn’t perform as well on a proofreading test as a few others — one of them took the job over me. I took it pretty roughly, but this event and its aftermath have finally shown me what my real attitude and motivations have become and the need to look in and set things straight.
My childhood was somewhat isolated, but still quite good. I have loving parents who supported me in everything for which I have striven. The reason, I had come to believe, was that I was a “good and talented kid,” and as long as I stayed so, I could achieve my goals in life and make proud my parents and others who believed in me.
It was rather smooth sailing through my schooling in this regard: I graduated high school as salutatorian and made it out of college with a 3.96 GPA. I felt it would only be a matter of time before I found those things in life that are supposed to make others see you as successful: a wife; children; a satisfying job and a real, set purpose in life.
But I hit a wall under this philosophy. I found a job I thought would be a good stepping stone but has resulted in the industry slowly sinking around me. My luck in searching both for better work and a life partner has hit opportunities very few and far between, none of which have worked out. And all this time, those around me — regardless of their path and talents — seemed to move forward, achieving those goals I had set on a pedestal as “progress.”
My sense of entitlement went to war with a long-developing sense of inadequacy. How could it look so easy for everyone else? I had followed the rules all this time, hadn’t I? Why weren’t people noticing that when it really counted? What’s wrong with me? There has to be something wrong with me. Look how I always fail. No, I haven’t failed; my circumstances have failed me. All I need to do is move somewhere else and everything will snap back into place. But now I’m failing to find a good way to move out. Everyone else has already left. I really am a failure…
And on and on it has gone; a never-ending cycle of feeling deserving for the wrong reasons and smashing myself against the results as though I was trying to prove myself wrong. All this time, the friends and family who looked on did something ridiculous: they continued believing in me. They kept telling me the fact things had not happened didn’t mean I was a failure, and that they didn’t determine my self worth. But I couldn’t believe them. So many of them, after all, had already moved on. They had found their spouses; moved out and on to work on other goals. I was inferior. They didn’t understand that I was broken, even if I couldn’t identify why I was, myself.
After the Wichita job, however, and the same round of support as always, something finally clicked:
The only person who has ever thought of me as a failure has been myself.
I had become so caught up in needing to obtain my goals to “catch up” with the people I was “under” that I couldn’t see they never looked down on me in the first place. If anything, they were sorry for me for the way I always tore into myself. I made them watch every time, demanding they agree with me, but they couldn’t. They endured every ugly scene and came out unwavering that I still possessed the qualities to find contentment.
This is the point I am at now. Armed with a revelation, looking back in my life to study where things went wrong and replace my views with those that more accurately frame myself and the way the people who know me see me. Stepping back from the “entitled” dreams I have hung so much of my definition of success upon and searching for other ways that I can find purpose and fulfillment. To give my loved ones not what I’ve always thought they’ve wanted from me, but become the person they deserve I become.