Last night, I went to sleep thinking how I should probably sabotage my interview for graduate school. Maybe not show up. Or just half-ass it. What am I even doing? I didn’t know exactly how to prepare for the interview, besides thinking of several questions to ask in regards to specifics of their program. Despite my stubborn nature and disdain for using my disease as an excuse, I rehearsed my semi-emotional, non-defensive response to my sub-par college G.P.A. With the lack of sleep and/or productive thinking going on, my brain began to do what it sometimes does best. Over thinks. Over thinking naturally lead to a lot of doubting. And doubting inevitably lead to me failing. Before I had even been interviewed. Well done, Captain Negative.
Friends advised me to just be honest, be myself. Really? Hmmm. Depends on the day. Will that go over well with new people, professional counselors, in fact, that have been trained to (over)analyze every verbal and nonverbal move a person makes? Rhetorical questions began exploding in my head, like those snap-pop fireworks that kids adore. Pop! POP! PoP! And just when I thought they were all done ….POP! Like the brilliant lawyer, that I am not, I had myself convinced that I would not be accepted into the program. A biased jury of one. The verdict was in: failure-ish. I determined that it would be better for our family, specifically my kids, that I didn’t get accepted. How kind. I began comforting myself following a failure that had not yet happened. A pat on the back turned into a pre-failure massage of sorts, for my ego. It actually didn’t feel so great. I think I knew that masseuse a little too well. It got awkward.
I began thinking about doubt and what it’s good for. Doubt. HA! What it is good for. Ha! Abso-lutely nothing. I decided that doubt was similar to rabbits in our yard. Yeah. Those guys. Occasionally present. They eat the flowers sometimes and tomatoes. They burrow holes. Chase the mice maybe. Do rabbit stuff. Since I needed somebody or something to take a little bit of the weight off of my shoulders, I personified doubt. Gave it a capital “D.” No middle or last name yet. It helped me feel more powerful, less fearful, a little more in control and for lack of a better word, less doubtful. So, sorry “Doubt,” you didn’t win over my thoughts the morning of my interview. I ironed my clothes. That was a challenge. I put my high heels on. I love them for fifteen minutes. And I agreed to give my whole self, so that I would be proud of my efforts, even if I failed.
A letter to Doubt (though I’m quite certain that Doubt is illiterate. Maybe Failure could teach Doubt to read? Probably doesn’t have time. Too busy.)
Hey Little bunny Foo Foo-
You dirty little devil. You burrowed under the fence again when I wasn’t looking. You’re such a spaz. A hyper rabbit darting every which way in my head. How quickly you make plans or goals seem unattainable. You are a major distraction. And you know it. See, I’m chasing you now. Instead of following opportunities, taking risks, and growing, I’m thinking about failing. Maybe I should just run back to the porch or inside. That’s what you would like me to do. Or is the chase fun for you? Zigzagging here and there. In and out of my thoughts. I’ve got my hands on my knees now, I’m trying to catch my breath.
But you really are not the smartest creature, rascally Doubt. You hope to build your nest in my head, birthing dependent little doubt bunnies everywhere. Oh, no you don’t. I am bigger than you and I have now caught my breath. You better squirm yourself under somebody else’s fence. Or go find a field. Or some woods. I know what you are and what you’re capable of. You sit quietly, waiting, still. And then when you’re noticed, you run. All I really I have to do is make one move in your direction. Or even look you in the eye, then you’re gone. That is your strength, your speed. That is your only defense. So, go! Get out of my head! You are not an intimidating aggressive bear or even a hidden snake.You are just a bother, a silly old rabbit.
I will work on the big holes in my yard, making it more of a challenge for you to squeeze your scrawny self into my space. I’m quite certain you will dig your way in again. You are awfully sneaky like that. But I’m not going to waste my time chasing you anymore. I don’t need to. I will not let you intimidate me in my own yard and make me believe that I am a failure. There is a huge difference in failing and being a failure. I will take chances, be bold, and make mistakes trying for the rest of my life. I would rather jump than tip-toe around this life. I will continue to learn and grow, even from my failures and mistakes. They won’t define me. And you won’t define me either, Doubt.
-The Crazy Lawnmower Girl