OR, Scolding Myself for Scolding Myself
by Erin Oquindo
As I come nearer and nearer to the highly anticipated and yet vehemently dreaded day when I hear back from my top colleges, I begin to doubt myself. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Is this what I wanted, or am I just playing a game and ignoring my true passions? I hang so much of my life on the possibilities of one outcome, or the chance of another. I’m becoming increasingly unsure of if I’m prepared to commit to the goals on which I’ve stuck my pins and publicly declared “This is my plan. This is what I want to do. If I fail, you will know.” This brings up a plethora of questions in my head: am I just kidding myself? Can I pull this off? For whom am I really pushing myself to succeed? Is it even sufficient?
These doubts come as quite a shock to me. I have made incredible strides in my own self confidence this school year–I’ve woven myself into a place of belonging and it has served as a comfortable nest for a semester, but now I’m fraying at the edges and am in danger of unraveling (Senioritis, much?). My future is fast upon me and I no longer wish to romanticize the thought of it becoming my present; partly because the present me feels unprepared, and partly because I had moments where I felt a dwindling passion for this blog and the sentiments behind it.
I’m not going to lie–I didn’t exactly have the best week. I’ve had worse, and I’ve had better. But this week in particular was full of tiny struggles and irritations that brought some major problems to my attention. There were highs and lows. I spent time with some loved ones, but I also hurt others. I was irritated for no good reason and beat myself up for it, but I also had moments where I recognized the progress in my own being. I was thrown out of my comfort zone multiple times and barely held my own in difficult situations, but then was greeted by some beautiful people who offered me a place of solace at the end of it all. I distinctly recall repeating to myself every day this past week you can do better, you can do better, you can do better. And while I tried to excuse this for a while as some sort of pep-talk, it was really just a mask over which my true feelings pounded into my brain over and over: not good enough, not good enough, not good enough.
Even after all this, I’m still trying desperately to be perfect. It’s in my nature. I live with a lingering demon on my back, whispering bitter nothings into my ear as I go about my day. I am captivated with this completely baseless and idiotic notion that I should be capable of living every single day of my life free of conflict. If I can’t, then I am flawed. I can do better. I’m not good enough. This is my current mindset. There’s no point in pretending that this way of thinking is past-tense; I still believe it, deep down. I understand that it’s wrong to think this way, and I can logically pull myself out of it. But it’s still my natural response to any sort of conflict I have with anyone and I’ve yet to fully train myself out of it. It’s a painfully slow work in progress, and it reminds me of the times in which I felt no progress at all.
Sometimes I feel like I forgot what it felt like to not be okay. I’m so incredibly thankful for the state of being in which I find myself at this point in my life, but I wonder every so often if I will lose my passion for my work if I become too far removed from the suffering that served as its catalyst. It’s a frustrating kind of irony; I want to send a message of confidence and independence and acceptance to my readers, and yet I must remember that my right to send such a message comes from my ability to relate to those who cannot fathom a world in which they will ever feel normal again, to the girls and boys who get on the scale three times a day and draw perforated lines on their skin where they believe their bodies should begin and end, who spend six or more hours a day in the bathroom and have cut short the nails on their index and middle finger on their left hand, who writhe and sob on warm nights because being warm means having body fat and having body fat means being ugly. I must remind myself that I did these things and felt these emotions in order to validate my redemption and subsequently justify my call to action.
This blog was not originally created to inspire or motivate anyone but myself. I’m ecstatic of course that it has become a symbol of self-acceptance, but for it to continue I must remember the reason for its creation and I can’t fool myself nor anyone else into thinking that I have it all together just because my work has been recognized. My opinion of myself is a continuous journey and I must remember that it’s okay that it’s not finished. I did not forget what it was like to hate myself, I cannot forget, and that is why I continue–because no one deserves to feel that way. My perspective on the past, present, and future plays a major role in the success or failure of my endeavors, and to healthily balance it all is to remind myself that I am worth the effort.
End of rant.
Thank you for letting me get that off my chest! I tried to end on a slightly positive note, but I also want to be real with you guys. I can’t divulge everything about my life to you all, obviously, but I can certainly work to be more transparent about my own personal journey as well. That was the foundation for Project Maganda in the first place.
If you haven’t already, follow me on social media @ProjectMaganda on all social media platforms.