WHOA. Indeed, this heading was meant to be provocative. Never one to skimp on dramatics. Dear God, I just can’t help myself.
There is an undercurrent of catalytic reflection. In my mind(s). Eye. You know, like the bright light of realization. The beam of understanding that shoots right through you into the heart of your “ah-ha”. Only this kind has been pointing me, no, shoving me into something new. And yet it’s always been there.
We are all prisoners of our own mind. And likewise, our feelings. What we think and how we feel about ourselves is the very compass used to direct us in life. We can never be more than what we truly believe we are. Because sadly, we will never try.
My own personal hell has not been so much a doubt in my ability to do some thing. I guess I’ve always believed I was capable of doing just about anything I put my brain to. But for as long as I can remember, until recently, I’ve been stuck in one place, for fear of being anything less than perfect. Always needing to be the best. Always needing to win.
When I was in 2nd grade I ran track. My parents came to watch me at a meet on a day I was to compete in 7 events (though I am confused about how this were possible). I’d always been incredibly fast. But for reasons many of you can understand, that day I ran faster. I took 1st in every single event that day. It was kind of amazing.
But it’s not the running I remember. It was how proud I felt that I had won 7 times and my parents were there to witness it. I remember my dad cheering for me from the stands – how focused he was on my success and the accolades that followed. It was the first time I’d ever really felt important. That was the only time my parents ever came to watch me compete at any capacity.
However, that day left an impression on me that would steer and dictate my efforts for the majority of my life. Until recently.
You see, that one day of praise that followed grandiose success was contrasted by many years of never receiving affirmation for any achievements on my part. No matter how large or small. And to gain that praise, It was as though I would spend so much of my life trying to attain that flawless performance again. To me, I was only important if I did it just.like.that – again. The realization that I could not always achieve this level of success slowly paralyzed my own special brand of gumption. The sorrow of knowing how much you’ve missed out on because of…wait for it…fear of failure, is a deep wound. But what’s worse is realizing the only person whoever saw it this way – was probably me.
I’ve lived so much of my life in fear. All because I didn’t know who I was. And I’ve had to figure that out.
In the last several months I’ve awoken to spark after spark of revelation. What I am capable of. And I’ve even come to terms with the fact that I’m actually not entirely perfect. Wait, what? Yes. I can totally fail. But what does that say about me now? Nothing. Other than the fact that I should probably try again or try something else.
I don’t have words for what it’s like to finally meet the (wo)man behind the curtain. This whole time, hiding back there, equipped and fully capable. Not without flaw of course. I’ve opened up and shared this with some people in the past weeks and it’s so odd to hear them say, “Wow. I never would have known that about you.”
I want to see, fully, what they see. What I would give to see myself completely – how God sees me. He, Who created me for good works according to His will. This is a process. And I have made major headway. Still running.
I did go on to set a league record in 8th grade for high-jump. That, too, crystalized my need for perfection having rendered weeks of my father telling everyone I was a “league record setter”. Though, he was not actually there to witness the event. And I also have the 7 blue first-place ribbons tucked away in a box some where. But none of that really matters. The only thing that matters is where I am now going. And that I know I can do it. Even with some mistakes along the way.
Though I fail, I am not a failure.