Tag opportunities

2 posts

Why Bother?

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.
Why bother?
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. 
 

Starting Out Of Order

Sometimes I feel strange because all of the major life events happened to me before the normal life stuff. I graduated at 15, which I thought was cool at the time. I find myself now, questioning whether or not I was actually ready then. A lot of the outside-of-school skills most people learn in high school, I didn’t learn until after I was married. I don’t feel like I earned graduating that early, which might have something to do with finding out I graduated after getting home from a trip and expecting I had to catch up on math before that was even an option. It was welcome and as far as transcripts are concerned, I graduated with over 30 credits, but deep down inside, I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the education I gave myself because I feel so ill-equipped in real life, with people, and jobs, and not homemaking.
If I grew into the adult I was raised to be, I’d probably be pregnant or have a child by now, I’d be cooking meals and taking care of spawn or becoming a planet and looking at homeschool curricula. I would feel perfectly capable, maybe.
But I’m not that person.
I’m a geek who doesn’t get math jokes unless they involve pie – I don’t know what the Mandelbrot set is, but I like the song. I didn’t have an actual or good job experience until after I was married, when I was 18 (the one job I had in high school lasted a month, but it had nothing to do with me).
I’ve slowly been realizing that all the bad things I was told happen to marriages where women have jobs that involve being outside the 4 walls of their home haven’t happened, and are mostly lies.
At 21, sometimes it feels weird to have crossed all the major check points and still feel woefully inadequate, inexperienced, and ill-equipped.  But maybe everyone feels that way if they’re doing the things they like doing?
Everything I’ve done, I’ve been learning as I go – and I have no formal training or anything, I read a lot of blogs from people who’ve been there, I research things I’m unsure or curious about, and I spend a lot of time doing. Which explains a lot of my failed attempts at successful etsy business-ing, but also my successes as data entry specialist and now web administrator for local non profits (child of the internet, ftw).
When I remind myself how far I’ve come and the things I do, I can sometimes remember to be confident. But the struggles I face in my brain just doing simple things and relating – I second guess myself too much, I over think and spend hours inside my head replaying events and hoping I didn’t sound stupid or boring or anything, sometimes I’m almost frozen with insecurities and I never used to be.
But I love the things I do, and I love the opportunities and the friends and experiences and everything that’s so new and exciting that’s happened over just the last 5 months. I love that I get to work with non profits doing things I’ve been acquiring skills for (unwittingly) since high school, I love I get to make videos and that people like to see them, I love that I get to play new games and try new things every Thursday, and I love that I’m actually part of a community.
So maybe it’s normal, when you’re flooded with things that you like doing and opportunities to make money and get help and feedback from people while doing them, to feel insecure. Maybe it’s normal to feel ill-equipped because things are moving faster than you imagined. Maybe it’s normal to be a little scared and dizzy. Maybe that’s all okay.