Thoughts on Trying
A few months ago, I shared some thoughts on my Instagram as I started to post on my page more often. I've been thinking more and more about it lately, and I wanted to expand on my thoughts on the blog today.
As any former gifted kid can tell you, it's a blessing and a curse to be "advanced" at a young age. I was always above grade level, and as a result I never had to try in school. It wasn't until late high school and into college that I found myself having to study at all or work hard to pass a class. And because I had no experience, I found it incredibly frustrating, difficult and honestly, awful.
This isn't a brag, by the way. I think it's just the way my brain was formed. I'm just saying all of this to give you some background.
Because I'm not good at trying. I don't mean doing things, I'm great at doing things. But trying... Really putting yourself out there, giving it your all, leaving it all on the field, *insert generic euphemism here*. It's not my strong suit. It doesn't come naturally, and I didn't really *ahem* try to develop it.
When I was in college, I wanted to be a scientist.
I went in as a biology major, and I started on the prerequisite courses. One class I had to face was chemistry, something which I honestly had very limited experience with. I took it my sophomore year in high school, but my teacher was out on maternity leave most of the year and I can't say I retained much from the worksheets doled out by the substitute. I spent the other three years in high school taking biology (yes, three years of it), and I fell in love.
I loved it so much, I wanted to make it my career. And one thing stood in my way: chemistry classes.
I fell behind so quickly. Things that were introduced as basics were like a foreign language to me, or worse, like an alien language not even from this planet. And it paralyzed me.
Instead of doing what I should've done - gone to tutoring, talked to the professor, completed all the extra homework - I panicked. I still remember the feeling every time I logged in to do an online assignment, and it still makes my stomach sink to this day.
As awful as this sounds, I didn't know how to be bad at something. I didn't know how to fail, and so I stopped trying. And I got my first and only D in a class, lost my scholarship for the semester, and changed majors. On top of all that, I had to retake chemistry just to get my scholarship back and raise my GPA.
I still remember the way it felt to fail so miserably.
The feeling of that D haunts me to this day. The phone call to my parents to tell them I was going to lose my scholarship was a nightmare for me --- made even worse by the fact that my parents are incredibly kind, understanding and supportive.
The lesson I internalized was this: If you never try, you can never fail like this again.
If you take easier classes, you won't be pushed as hard, but you will also never risk feeling this way again.
And look, I think I ended up in the right career for me. I honestly do love PR, I love my current job, I love that I get to be creative every day. I still love spending time in nature, a good David Attenborough documentary, and reading science-y books. And even though my path here was paved by failure, I think I ended up where I belong.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I do sometimes wonder what could've happened if...
If I had actually tried.
That brings me to my writing.
I stared this blog in 2019 because I love to write. I wanted to share it with the world and that required some vulnerability, effort and self-promotion. But to be honest, I didn't really try that much.
Or I would try for like a week and then stop... and then start again.
It would be easier to accept my own inconsistency than it would be to accept that people just didn't want to read what I'm writing. If I really gave it my all, and then failed, that would be like a blow to me personally.
But then, I don't know, something changed.
As I wrote in the aforementioned Instagram post, part of it was Erick challenging me/inspiring me to do better. Part of it was probably therapy, to be honest, and feeling more self-assured. Part of it also was taking the pressure off myself, letting myself do it because it's fun and I love it, and not because I have to meet some arbitrary goal or meet self-imposed deadlines.
The more I tried, the more fun I had and the more creative I felt. I once thought I'd run out of ideas for my Instagram content, but the more work I put into it, the more ideas come to me. It's just fun now, and that, I think, is a victory.
All of this is just to say, I know how hard it can be to put yourself out there.
And in our world, I know how much it feels like you're always behind. You feel like you don't have enough followers, you're not monetizing something properly, you're not good enough compared to everyone else.
I'm just encouraging you to go for it. Do the thing because you want to or because you love it, and give it your all without regard to what other people will think.
Because the thing is, we love it when other people do that stuff. I love when my friends share things they've written, songs they've recorded, videos they've produced.... I love it all. I love when people share their creativity with the world, it's awesome! I bet you love it too.
So why don't you try sharing some of that positive energy with yourself? Because I really think, if you're your own number one fan, nothing else really matters.
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