Today was a special day for me, and not for any expected reason. Today was special not because of something gained but because of something lost, something deep and once seemingly intractable. Those who’ve known me for a long time know of my fierce ambition and my intense drive for accomplishment, and they’ve gotten to know the dark side of my sense of failure and accompanying worthless. They’ve seen me at my worst, and know too well of the devastation past failure caused, but today was different; today was special.
For what seems like a decade now, I’ve wanted to become a teacher, a professor to be exact; I wanted the accolades and I wanted the reverence. Professors, to me, have always been the descendants of the venerable philosophers of ancient times, the great, contemporary sages; and I, the little me that I’ve always perceived myself to be, wanted to be among these majestic visionaries; I wanted to be great. But then, came today; and everything had somehow become different, a bit more clear and slightly more focused than before. Today something shifted, and that shift appeared seismic.
So, for the past several years I’ve applying for and have been extremely close to becoming a professor at my alma mater, and for the past several years, I’ve been rejected. In that respect, today was much the same and yet it was completely different. When I read the rejectione-mail, I felt sad, as I experienced the letdown yet again, after feeling hopeful, yet again; but, this time, I knew that I would be okay, because I was certain that I was enough. What was it that was so different this time? I really don’t know. Could it have been the months of my own personal therapy? Perhaps. May it have been the hours I’ve spent delving into issues of self-esteem and the knowledge of its inherent fragility and irrationality? Possible. Was it my work and the gratitude I’ve received in helping others reach undreamt of heights? Maybe. Or, was the true foundation of my imperviousness to rejection the love and the high esteem in which my family and friends hold me in? Likely! But, if you asked to pick one, I’d tell you that I couldn’t. A grand perspective shows me each one working in unison with the rest, in some mystical way, to help me feel whole, affording me the chance to see that which was obstructed before: myself.
Today was different in that today I didn’t care so much about rejection, and today was different because I was okay with myself, no longer needing a profound and fragile sense of accomplishment to boost an equally fragile ego. Today, my ego remains whole and my self still supported. And as I dumb as I may feel sometimes, today, I know that I’m enough; and so are all of you.