I’m sitting here writing this instead of studying for a test tomorrow, so naturally my eating disorder is telling me I’m going to fail despite the fact that I’m going to be up all night studying in the library. Doesn’t matter. I’m going to fail.
We talked about that word for most my therapy session today. It’s a pretty common word in my internal vocabulary. It’s my biggest fear, by far. I’m not afraid of much, unless there’s a chance I could fail and then the game changes. It’s the root of many of my insecurities and honestly a big part of my eating disorder.
I cannot be seen as a failure.
This is my goal in life, not to be happy or make a difference, but to not be seen as a failure, and while I definitely want those other things, I think at least a tiny bit of my motivation in both of them is because it means I won’t have “failed”. Don’t ask me to define failure though, because I can’t explain it, I just know I don’t want to be one.
My life is driven by avoiding this idea I can’t define and meeting this standard that doesn’t even exist.
Every time I mention “being a failure” in therapy my therapist responds with something to the extent of “Wow, that’s really harsh,” and every time, I don’t understand.
Are you telling me other people don’t feel that way? Other people aren’t constantly filled with the underlying anxiety of maybe messing up? I don’t get it. I was telling my therapist that I literally can’t fathom the fact that people who get C’s in classes graduate and get a job. It’s not an insult to them, in fact I want to be like them, I just seem to forget that employers don’t think like I do at all.
I’m applying to an organization called Teach for America and depending on how things go, I’ll know if I’m accepted by mid-April. The likelihood that I’ll get accepted is pretty good, according to several TFA recruiters. However, I can’t help but be nervous that, if I get in, they’ll renege their offer and kick me out if I end up graduating with one or two C’s on my transcript. I know it’s irrational, but it’s what made me realize just how ridiculous I’m being.
Here’s the new standard I’m trying to hold myself to:
C’s get degrees y’all. It’s true. In fact, I’m gonna change it to C’s get degrees, and jobs, and allow you to live a successful life. Wanna know why? Because grades don’t matter. No one gives two shits about them, so it’s time for me to start feeling the same. College is so much more than grades. I only have 3 semesters left, and it’s time for me to really start enjoying them. Bs should be celebrated, not result in humiliation. Sometimes, self-care involves going to bed early or binge-watching The Office with your roommates, even if it means you don’t turn in one homework assignment.
It’s time to kick failure out of my vocabulary and start living for the things that make me happy and not just make me look good.
I need to start thinking about what’s best for authentic Melissa. The Melissa who knows that she is enough and that her future is going to be as incredible as she lets herself believe.
Now it’s time for me to go