To be frank, 2017 has really put me through an emotional wringer. I don’t want this to be hyperbolic, and I’ll honestly convey my emotions from this year with the true vehemence I felt them with.
For context, I am a pretty ambitious, prideful person. I am someone who has always known what she wants and has always been rewarded for being that way. People have always known me to be like that, and up until 2017, the rewards had always been satisfactory. I never doubted my abilities and I never doubted that my future would be bright. But that sense of self-worth was never as strong as I thought it was because it was always dependent on some sort of tangible achievement. Whether it be the academic achievement award, or being dubbed a “smart person” by the general masses, I always had something to prove myself.
To whom was I validating myself for? Only myself. And that’s the whole truth. My parents always had faith in me that I’d turn out to be successful in whatever I put my mind to, and they remind me of this whenever I doubt it. I must emphasize that this isn’t a product of parents with too high of expectations.
I began 2017 believing in myself. I had too much faith in my pride. When that pride came crumbling down, I didn’t know what on earth to do. I began 2017 with a list of goals and I never doubted that I could achieve those goals. To not achieve them would be uncharacteristic of my life so far. I never doubted I was deserving of those goals. So to fail to meet every single one of them felt like a never-ending nightmare. Blow after blow to my pride until suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t even recognize myself anymore. I was rejected from myself. It felt like I was kicked out of my body, and my body was no longer a home to me.
So the other night, I woke up at three a.m and spent the following hour in a complete mental slump. I was busy feeling incredibly sorry for myself, as you do, and I came across a gif-set. Yes, a gif-set was the pivotal force that completely transformed my outlook on practically everything. It was Leslie Jones on a SNL “Weekend Update” skit, discussing discovering one’s purpose in life.
“At 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter. Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40 . . . You [young ones] are running around trying to be somebody when you don’t even know who you are yet! You know what happened to Oprah when she was 23? She was fired! Imagine firing Oprah!”
“Well that was a mistake!”
“No it wasn’t! Because she wasn’t Oprah! She was just some 23 year old punk who needed to be fired so she could become Oprah!”
I’ve seen this set before. I’d heard it before. I remember not being able to believe that this rhetoric could apply to me. And yet, the other night, it offered me every bit of solace that I needed to hear. I realized that all of my anxieties stemmed from my belief that my achievements now will set the trend of my achievements of tomorrow. I realized that I can’t see my future, and that everything that happens before I graduate will not dictate what happens to me afterwards. There’s a whole future for me after the spring of 2019, and I have to start seeing that. And I need to address my failures and recognize why they happened, and refuse to hold it against myself to the point where it causes harm.
So after that revelation, I have begun to see a bigger picture. 2017 was meant to be bad for me so that I could learn something. A year ago, I would have probably rolled my eyes at that sentiment. But I’m so glad I’ve begun to be comfortable at losing. Learning to love myself when I couldn’t think of a tangible reason as to why I should has made me feel so much safer in myself. I feel more cemented now after this revelation than I ever did when all I had to ground myself was my pride.
Yes, I end 2017 being comfortable as someone who has been rejected from things. I end 2017 feeling happy despite knowing that I was rejected from things. I end 2017 feeling like I have grown as person tenfold, and I look forward to even more growth in 2018.