I had been in NCFCA for a year and a half, I had, at that point, never made it out of the preliminary rounds in the two or three tournaments I’d been to. I put a lot of work into what I did: spending hours researching, memorizing, practicing, and learning how not to take criticism personally. I failed to make it into any following rounds and spent the day cheering on my friends – when I got home from the tournament, my parents said:
This isn’t working, and obviously you aren’t going anywhere, so we think this was your last tournament and you can focus on other things.
— in other words: I wasn’t good enough, despite the effort, and I wasn’t allowed a chance to improve, because I wasn’t progressing quickly enough —
I was barely fifteen. NCFCA was the only place I saw other humans – friends – my age who I could communicate with. And like that it was gone.
I like to tell myself – to believe that those crippling words were left to debater Kiery in my past and I’ve moved on; proven I can do things – or that things are worth doing even if I don’t succeed as much as I want to.
But it hasn’t. Any unsuccessful attempt to improve anything leaves me broken in shambles, reliving that speech from my parents where I wasn’t good enough now, so why bother even trying? It haunts me with every application and interview, every competition I lose. I can hold my head up so many times before it kills me. I can keep persisting for so long before I start questioning.
Is it even worth trying to get into this course or apply for that job?
I would love it if I did.
But is it worth, the (likely) inevitable rejection?
Am I better off going solo, quietly, unnoticed, like I have been?
It’s so easy to say yes.
So much safer to just stop putting myself out there, to stop working so hard for what I want when I have all these voices telling me I’m not good enough and not to bother.
And every time an opportunity vanishes, I feel like they’re right. Like my parents were on to something when they said I was only good for breeding. Like I’ll never make it out there with the other people. It’s better to keep doing things myself, silently, alone, where I feel like I’m doing something but no one notices enough to shatter me again.
Where I spin my wheels and feel progress and if I don’t look out the window then I’m not going nowhere.
But here’s the thing, I’m not going nowhere, I just have an opportunity to accelerate.
I’ve had other opportunities to accelerate, and I’ve taken them, and was left in the dust, watching others arrive closer to where I wanted to be. And I cheered for them, and kept doing my thing, quietly.
But I don’t know if I can bother again. I want to, desperately, but I don’t know if I can take that reminder.
You’re not good enough, you’re not progressing, it’s pointless to keep trying.