I started cleaning up the kitchen today and as I was clearing off the counters and putting the dishes into the dishwasher, I picked up a couple of pink postcards. They were tokens that I kept for a year that stated “You have passed this test.” They were my receipts of accomplishment for finally getting through the education tests; the math one took three or four tries before I got it done. I remember how hard this was to focus on and get done. I had this weird work thing going on, the fear of failure and the stupid boy who I wanted to be a rock to hold me above water instead of a rock that was tied to me, holding me underwater. I drove to Lake Mary every few months, taking these tests, praying that somehow I had the ability to get them done. I would psyche myself out the day before and either not get enough sleep, get to the test late or feel terribly blase about the whole thing because, as my procrastinator’s character tells me, I wouldn’t pass them anyway. I thought I was always defeated before I even got to the testing site. I did this over and over again like a crazy person. The English test, obviously, was done with full flair and passed on the first try, the General Education was something I worried about, bought test prep books on and was surprised to find it relatively common sense questions. The math; the math was something I knew I couldn’t get done. But it had to be. My father couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get it done (because I don’t think like he does) and my mother just gave me the typical “you’re going to have to keep trying” bit. I hated it. I couldn’t do it. It was a waste of my time and energy. But the last time I took it, it was the same test I had taken the second to the last time and knowing that whatever my answers had been in the past were wrong, I had to focus on what I was doing. And for whatever reason, be it sufficient sleep, breakfast, enlightenment, courage, confidence or something else, I went through the test, amazed at how easy it was and confused as to how I didn’t get these questions right on the first try. They were simple. A few weeks later, I got the results back that I had passed. I knew when I left the test that I had passed. I had accomplished the unaccomplish-able on my own accord.
Today I threw those little “You have passed this test” postcards away.
On one hand they represent a past that doesn’t matter anymore. I ran my race and it didn’t kill me before I finished last rendering me unable to compete again. It represents my failure even after all I worked for and tried to make right. But it also represents my accomplishment, whether or not it mattered to anyone else other than myself in the long run.
All of the old paper work I took from my education classes and training and observations have since been used as play things for the cat. Those things go along with the postcards; I don’t need them anymore. They’re useless. It’s funny how at the moment they were so important and I was told to believe that they were important. If I didn’t succeed in the unfair game of education where the rules were set up to destroy me by the powers that be, out of my control or naive comprehension, I would be nothing. Worthless. But as I say over and over again, my gut and my instincts know more than anything around me. I knew that I was selling myself out and could never fit into the mold of a public school teacher. I’m too angsty, too sarcastic, too head strong. I never liked being told what I could or could not do, yet, I walk into that kind of prison all the time. Not just with work but with relationships or anything. I end up victimized because I get those independent urges squashed by anyone who has a hammer, waiting for me to walk by as their next target.
So my purpose of this post was to flesh out some ideas on to have and have not. I’ve realized that I am not unique and most people go through the same kind of rigmarole that I do when it comes to trying to figure out what the hell we’re all doing here. We can’t find comfort unless we’re alone and when we’re alone we need stimulation. We can be artistic but after a while of focusing on the artistic, we want to live in the daily routine as our fellow man and when we can’t find a suitable fellow man to accept us into a work, home, relationship, life routine, we retreat back to our comfort and express ourselves through some kind of art. And the worst part about trying to express ourselves artistically is that the rejection we face in the daily world of everyone else who wants the same thing, we get stifled and insecure. We’re not free because we’re taught to be unsure of ourselves. We can work hard for anything in the world but that doesn’t mean that we can succeed at everything.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We train people how to treat us but it’s our own training from everything we’ve experienced that creates the willingness to get beat down and defeated. Why bother trying anything if we know we may not succeed? I went through hell and I’m not sorry that it’s over but at least I know now what this job that I had projected upon myself since I was a little girl was really going to be like. Oh well. It sucks, yes, but it didn’t kill me. (Put me in the hospital. Put me in therapy. Put me in complete disbelief in myself. But it didn’t kill me.)
So I guess the moral of my blog post is that life isn’t as simple as the fortune cookies tell us. We can’t just dismiss the past and life isn’t just made up of choices. There are things that we can’t control and we have the wisdom to accept that. I’m insecure as hell about everything in my life and in myself but I keep doing what makes me content. I keep the acknowledgment that I will succeed at the things I know in my gut will come to fruition one day. It’s just the journey that is so ambiguous. Sometimes it sucks and makes you want to jump off a bridge and other times it’s so satisfying that you have to stop and take a picture to commemorate the details.