When you know that you’re ready
but the time is not right…
You don’t need to hide from what you want
You’ve just got to give it all you got…
The first thing that you need
You got to have faith.
Air Supply, Faith
I’m ambitious. I never thought I would ever assimilate that word with myself, but I’ve begun to see how true that description really is. I have dreams I want realized and goals that I want to meet, and I’ve always been determined to pave my own way to reach them. Yet, every so often, there are tinges of familiar feelings that hang over me – frustration, doubt, worrying that I’m not accomplishing them and fear that I never will. I told myself that I just needed to take baby-steps, that I’m young, and that patience is the greatest virtue.
Truthfully, though, I think I was just afraid to take that leap.
I think that I’ve always been determined, enthusiastic, and eager, but that part of me had waned in recent months. Maybe that’s why, for so long, I didn’t recognize myself.
Some incredibly insightful people have told me point-blank that I had experienced something humiliating, distressing, and that I completely froze and hid away. They told me that, since then, I’ve been struggling to build myself back up, to find that ambitious, determined, “brilliant light” that I once was.
As I look at who I am now, look back on who I was then, I realize that they couldn’t have been more right. Perhaps that was the stagnation I had been feeling, coupled by frustration and feelings of unworthiness. It was, truly, my darkest moments as I withdrew away from the people I loved and further into myself. I didn’t realize how deep the humiliation went, how heavy the fear was, how deep the words had stung and invaded every bit of confidence and self-worth.
I hadn’t realized that I had locked it all away inside of me, letting it reside deep in that place where negative thoughts whisper loudly and become all that I believe.
Now I wonder if some small part of me thought that I deserved it.
Now I know that this part of me was very, very wrong.
Since my trip to France, I’ve learned to believe in myself again, to understand that I am worthy of everything that I’m working towards: every dream, every ounce of love, every single bit of happiness that my life has to offer.
I had the chance to face this head-on a few weeks ago. I encountered it when I was least expecting it, completely taken off guard.
I was judging the local Scholastic Writing Awards, meeting new friends and connecting with local writers. When I looked up, my old boss was standing in the doorway. I think some part of my mind swore in surprise, but there was a reaction there that I wasn’t expecting.
She said hello as she walked past me, and I greeted her kindly and asked how she was. But that was the end of our interaction.
And I turned to introduce myself to a Twitter friend, pausing only briefly to relish the moment of a stronger, almost overwhelming feeling.
I was proud of how I handled myself, I was proud that I finally realized that she no longer had an affect on me. I was proud to realize that I had grown into a stronger person, a better person, one who had rediscovered my drive, my ambition, my light.
And no one could take that away from me again.
Success is deeply personal. Words and actions can sting, but in the end, you have the ability to stand up for yourself, to discard their negative associations, and to continue reaching for a dream, pursuing a goal.
For so long I forced myself to remain satisfied with just taking baby-steps, of forgoing a dream and giving up on a passion because I was made to believe that I was too young, too naïve to go any further. However, by letting these words and actions affect me, I realized that I was the one to blame for holding myself back.
Not now, not anymore.
Now I’m working hard to reach my dreams, accomplish my goals.
Now I’m ready to make that leap.