I have become seized with ambition, regarding my schooling. I have homework for my kinesiology class, and it’s so much fun. I guess you can put a nerd in Prada, but she’s still a nerd.
All my life I was one of those obnoxious kids who got nearly straight A’s without ever studying, until I found myself in a class that required lots of homework. Then I just didn’t care, and was content to scrape through it with a B, a C, or once, even a D (Trigonometry). I still graduated High School near the top of my class, and coasted through college with only a fraction more effort.
I never really thought about what I might have been capable of – my motivation was to just get through school as quickly and cleanly as possible. Being an A student was a way to get my parents and teachers to leave me the fuck alone. Kids with low grades were always being herded into lame after-school programs which made the parents and teachers feel like they were doing something to help, but which were totally ineffective to the kids. But that’s a rant for another time.
I also don’t think I realized how smart I was. I have always had super-human expectations for myself, and the fact that I didn’t get straight A’s in subjects where I never read the book led me to believe that I was pretty average. I knew I wasn’t dumb, but I didn’t think I was really that exceptional, no matter how much my parents tried to convince me that I was. They tore their hair out, trying to get me to work just that little bit harder, trying to get me to care about my grades, trying to get me to live up to my potential. There’s a phrase I never wanted to hear again: live up to your potential! I was such a failure, because I never lived up to my potential. My Mom and some teachers called me lazy, but I wasn’t lazy. I was depressed and sad and felt there was no point in trying to be anything more than… well, I guess in trying to be anything at all. Stage I of not believing in myself.
In college, I realized that "my potential" may or may not have been the same things as "my parent’s hopes for me." I let go of a lot of frustration regarding my parents and teachers at that time, but my awareness of my own abilities remained subdued. I believed for a while that too much had been expected of me. I just wasn’t as smart as everyone seemed to think I was. This led to a new stage of feeling that I was not only a disappointment, I wasn't anybody special either. Stage II.
In the last few years, a number of things have happened to make me aware of my abilities. I just see myself differently. This might be a result of my many job interviews, and all those cover letters I wrote about myself. My temp agent and the groovy assignments I've been given have certainly helped me to see myself in a new light. I've also had some very validating experiences with G and my friends from my old job. Somehow, over the last couple of years, I became aware of myself – of my intelligence, my creativity, my skills... my true potential. (Ugh, that word.) I realize now how much I have inside me. I feel completely differently about myself. I believe in myself.
I know exactly what I can accomplish at this school, and by God I’m going to blow everyone away. I don’t want to just pass my classes – I want to graduate at the top of the class. I want all the extra credits, I want the highest ratings from my clinic experiences, and I want my professors to love me. I want the clients in the student clinic to request me. And I want the Career Counseling Office to have several job offers for me to choose from when I get my license. I want to be a goddamn legend. For no reason other than the fact that I know I can be.
I’m a little bit scared of myself. Is it wrong to feel this way? Am I trying to make up for my feelings of failure regarding other things I once wanted to do with my life? If so, is there something wrong with that? Is this newfound ambition going to turn me into a bitch? Am I still trying to please my parents, or am I doing this for me?
Well, I know I’m doing it for me. I’m really into this shit. But I don’t completely trust myself, I suppose.
If I want to help clients, I’m going to have to trust myself. So here’s some personal development I can work on. In singing, I was told to relax and trust my training and technique, and let the glory of my voice and my feelings flow through my sounds. It was the best advice I was ever given. I’m wondering if it’s the same with massage. I hope it is. I’ve gotten pretty good at trusting my training. And if I really do live up to my potential (there, I said it!) as a student at this Academy, I’ll have plenty of feedback to validate my feelings, and support my ability to trust myself in my work. And then, then I’ll really be able to help people.
And that will make this all worthwhile.