Monday, April 27, 2015

Utter Abject Failure // What Do I Want Out of Life

This is a compilation of musings from two posts over the culmination of a lot of stressful things that have been going on recently. In my last post, I tried to talk about happy things to focus on the positive, but I don't think that works for me necessarily as well as it does for others. Denial isn't healthy anyway, and to be honest, I do prefer venting and getting all the toxic stuff out of my system.

For now, I'd like to talk about utter, abject failure. It's not that I'm failing at anything right now – I've talked to my teachers to update the grades, I've accomplished things in day to day life – but rather the fact that utter, abject failure is ...  appealing?

Author J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter series once said,
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
It's a quote I always come back to when I'm feeling down, but I have yet to reach rock bottom. While rock bottom is quite the opposite of a goal one should strive for, it's quite nice in that there's nothing lower than that. No one expects anything out of you, you have nothing to lose, and that gives you the freedom to try anything, anything at all. Once you're past that situation you'll never be afraid of failure again because you've been there and you've survived.

Yet what I'm worried about now is that I have too much. Too much to risk, too much to lose if something goes wrong. And a lot of that stems from my parents. I fear failure, not for what it means to me, but for the consequences I am conditioned to react to. In regards to failure, I have been threatened with homelessness, starvation, and all means of a miserable life and painful death.

I initially started writing this draft around the beginning of the month. At that time, I still had not decided on a college, and was worried about the fact that "if they can control what college I go to, how much more of my life can they control?" Now, I have made my decision, and though it aligns with what my parents wanted, it was entirely my own decision and I am satisfied with my choice.

Yet again, I revisit the idea of "What terrifies me?" Is it failure? Is it becoming exactly like my parents? If I had made another decision, would it be sacrificing my economic freedom for life freedom? What is it?

I don't know. I can't put a finger on it, but I think I'm scared of becoming passive, of becoming dependent. 

"Stay here, buy a house, we’ll pay your down payment. You don't have to worry about a thing."

"Get this job, you’ll make more money."
"Marry this person, it’s better in the long run."

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, to a degree I still fear my parents. Because I know that I can fall for their trap so easily, thinking everything is all good, until it all explodes, and I think it's an isolated incident, and the cycle of abuse continues, just like I've learned in all those cautionary tales in English class, yet here I am, living them, still in denial. All they'll be is manipulative, abusive control freaks, masquerading behind concern and good intentions. It is not pretty language, but this is not said with malice, it is a simple fact. Yet, because it is a fact, I fear them. And I'm scared of continuing the cycle unknowingly and become as toxic to other people as they are to me.

I operate at 100% or 0%. This is what I was trained to do. Don't attempt something until you are willing to go all the way down the road, or else it's just not worth it.

I'm slowly teaching myself to accept B's and C's. They are not failures, they are average. It's more healthy to forgive yourself, but I will not forget to aim high and push myself towards what I want, because rebelling for the sake of rebelling is immature and won't help me succeed (but there goes that mindset again, I just can't break out of it, but is it really a bad thing?)

But how about failure? Can I teach myself to accept failure? I remember my first mental break down in middle school, screaming, crying, kicking, pulling my hair, wanting – praying – to feel the moment when the threads of sanity would snap inside my mind so I wouldn't have to endure the agony of thinking anymore, the agony of knowing that the horrible things were wrong but not being able to do anything about it. But even still, I was nowhere near failure. I was at the top of my class. A 4.0 student. As perfect and as lifeless as plastic. Yet also, resilient and flexible, though if I actually did snap, there would be no way to put it all back together, at least not perfectly, ever.

For now, I don't need to face any of that yet. And true, I don't know if I ever will, but there's nothing to do but fall when the time actually comes. It's like ice skating, where the first thing they teach is how to properly fall, so you don't hurt yourself. That way, in a real accident, you know exactly what you need to do. I've never learned to fall properly, so maybe I will get hurt. But when I hit those rocks, I'll remember that it's time for a new beginning, and start fresh on a solid foundation.


I want to be happy.
I want to make a difference in the world.
I want to help people.

Therefore, I would like to pursue my passion in my career and go into education policy to help with education reform in this country. But then I'm reminded of the sheer size of the bureaucracy and I'm worried that it's all going to be a pointless battle against textbook companies and standardized testing lobbies in which I'll end up miserable because I can barely make a dent in the world. Oh, the humanity!

I'm at a point in my life where there is so much to do, so many events, so much going on that demands my attention, yet I am also experiencing the traumatic undertaking of reinventing myself. The two go hand in hand (the world continuing to progress, and my own internal struggle) but it's so overwhelming. I'm seeking perfection but I don't even know what that looks like. I'm working towards my ideal lifestyle but I don't even know what my ideal lifestyle is. I only know that I am unsatisfied with who I am now. I want to be glamorous, not awkward. I want to be captivating and interesting, but I have nothing to offer but enigmatic musings that confuse more than clarify. Those things take time to develop, time I don't have, time in midst of chaos. Once there is no more chaos, there is no need for change. What then?

I often feel like I'm being held back from achieving my true potential, but what is my true potential? What are the extents of my abilities? I want to experience the full spectrum of human existence, but what is holding me back from doing that right now (aside from the obvious, such as money, age, etc)?

It is in my persona to solve problems: identify, analyze, execute. Yet these are just some things I don't quite have answers to. In these times, the wisdom of the internet is infinite. I wanted to share this new video from Veritasium, one of my favorite Youtube channels that not only teaches science, but also provides insightful commentary about social phenomenon, with a knack for delivering just the right message at just the right time in my life.

It's a constant struggle between pursuing relentless optimism and being mired in pessimism, but in the end, the only thing holding me back is me – in a way. It is the petrifying constructs of my childhood that were assembled under no fault of my own, but they are mine to carry now, and mine to dismantle. Yes, it will take time, and no, I am not alone, but once I able to achieve a sort of mental freedom, or at least treat it to a point where it's manageable, I am so ready to take control of my life. But until then, I won't know. ◊

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