Friday Flashback: Just a story about a girl who never felt smart enough
I once had an English teacher with an infamous reputation so big and scary most of my classmates dreaded the return to school in the fall. She had red curly hair. A stare so narrow it could cut a person to their knees in seconds. And that thin fine mouth. She’d squeeze it so tight you couldn’t see her lips. We kept hoping every year, she’d retire—but she didn’t.
It was my Junior Year in High school, the last semester, and the class was assigned to groups of three for our end of the year project. A book we’d never read. A paper, a project, and teaching the class a lesson over the book. I was petrified of public speaking at that point. I was so scared of saying the right words I often defeated myself from over thinking. Needless to say, I never thought I’d make it through that project with a decent grade. I stayed up hours, burning the candle at both ends, tired beyond tired. I think my dad carried me up the steps at one point, when I’d fallen asleep in the middle of a late night study group. I’d wake up with dark circles under my eyes the next morning. My feet felt so heavy I swore cement blocks were tied to the bottoms of my shoes. I had this problem back then. I wanted to be smarter than I thought I was. I worked so hard to make good grades I think I actually made worse grades because of the amount of stress I piled on top of myself. I realized much later, I couldn’t accept me for me.
Some of who we are when we’re young carries over into who we are today, and this week, I remembered all too clearly the fear of failing when so much pressure rides on my shoulders. I let the stress take hold of my mind at many moments this week, causing more mistakes to happen, than if I would have stopped myself and taken a moment to find some peace. I realize now, I still want everything to be perfect, but I’ve also learned, I will live if it isn’t. I know now, mistakes happen, and yes, I’ll make them. And I’ve finally accepted my role as a perfectly imperfect human being. The best news is this, every day ends. I’ll go home. I’ll crawl into bed. And when I wake up, the sun will shine with the promise of a new day.
So don’t forget, tomorrow is always a new day and you have every opportunity to make your dreams happen all over again.