30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 26

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Guilty as charged. I missed a few days. I’ll be completely honest. It has been a long few weeks. It just hit me that I have only a month left. I got busy with my classes and friends and studying. I don’t want to bore you with my explanations. Just know that I will finish this challenge, but it will take a little longer than expected. Luckily, I’m so close to the end, I can taste it.

Write about an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

Can I just choose to improve myself entirely?

I’m an incredibly imperfect human-being. I worry all the time. I struggle with my inner-demons. I procrastinate. I upset people. I make mistakes on an hourly basis. If I improved one aspect about myself, I’m sure something else would get worse. Perhaps my readers would take this paragraph as “you need to work on some self-confidence then. I’m sure you’re a wonderful person. No one’s perfect, but you can be great without being perfect.”

Can I?

I don’t feel like a great person when I struggle. I don’t feel wonderful if I have to watch every move I make to keep from upsetting someone. I’m constantly changing, like every single day. Perhaps some areas improve while others get worse. I’ve become a far more social person the older I get, but my spiritual life suffers. I’ve gotten a bit more confident, but I worry more about the opinions of others. When someone says “you’re wonderful” I feel this pressure to be that way all time. That means hiding my tears and my anger, always smiling even when I don’t want to, and giving 110% every waking hour of the day.

Last semester, I worked my butt off. I had three part time jobs, 16 hours of classes, and lots of volunteer work on top of my study abroad application. I had to learn how to ration my energy just to survive on a day to day basis. But I didn’t want anyone to know how tired I actually was. At one point, a friend asked me for help around 11:30 PM. Normally, this is no problem, but this was after hours of classes and a very long study session with a few of the students I mentor as well as a very long sorority meeting. But they were good friends, and I figured ten minutes wouldn’t kill me.

At one point, I blacked out just long enough to miss a stair. My forehead smashed into one of the steps, and then I slid down two flights of stairs like a slinky. I curled up at the bottom and cried for a few minutes before crawling back up on my hands and knees. I arrived at my friends’ room with a red bar across my forehead and tears streaking my cheeks, but I still had this big smile on my face.

Why? Because I always give 110%. When you’re always trying to meet someone’s expectations of “wonderful,” it’s very difficult to fall short… But maybe giving 90% is okay? Maybe people will understand?

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6 responses »

  1. (Well you sound amazing but I know you don’t want to hear that so I’ve put it in brackets so it doesn’t really exist… That’s how it works, right!?)
    Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with being 80%, or 60%, or 40%! Negative, awkward and annoying quirks make for much more interesting stories 😉

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  2. I may be speaking for myself a bit here, but I completely understand the idea of I may be good enough for others, but am I good enough for me. This year is the year where I have felt that the least amount in some aspects, but I still have those moments were I feel like even if I am doing good there are people who are better than me. It’s understandable that you don’t feel good when you struggle with work, no one does. But for me I like seeing the results that come out of it that makes that struggle worth it (Granted that that is so much easier for me than it is for you because of my major). When people compliment me I am always happy to take it, however a lot of my teachers expect a ton from me and every now and then I think “Please don’t expect too much from me, I may end up a failure. “I don’t understand completely what you go through with compliments to be honest, but I do get the pressure of having a lot of people kind of rely on you, or have high expectations of you. It’s just important to keep in mind that these people know you have limits and that they really don’t expect you to e that way all the time. There is no single solid good advice in all honesty on how to get over it, since each person handles stuff like this differently, so I can tell you how I do it…may not be worded the best…I’m not writer.
    1. (It’s a little mean) I always compare myself to someone who is way better than me at different things, and I start to get discourage when I see that I haven’t improved in some aspect. (Which is honestly why I work so much to make up for this weakness) What I have started doing though is finding an aspect that they are weak at and that I am better at and deciding that I will “crush” them in that aspect so much that it makes me feel better about myself. It’s more of a small victory for myself, but then I realized that in the long run competitive crushing nature will make me better in the future.
    2. Remind myself that I am human, this is a weird one, but since we both work a large amount I do know that it’s really easy to forget to take care of ourselves, so every now and then I need to remind myself that, it’s fine if something is not perfect, I have almost forgot to finish some projects because I worried about perfection so much that I kept beating myself up that I couldn’t figure it out. When we had to make our website everyone else instantly picked up the software, and I couldn’t I got so worried about failing and not living up to what everyone thought of me that I cried for a little bit, until I just forced myself into the lab and learn the software better than everyone (again sacrificing my social life completely). We both have the problem of putting on a smile to hide how we really feel since people always comment about the fact that I smile all the time, and a few know the reason why, I refuse to let anyone see the real inner demons I have because I’m scared at their reaction, though mine not be as bad as others.
    As you mentioned before in a previous post it’s perfectly fine to say no too, if they are your friends they will understand that you have to rest, I mean it is disappointing not being able to health, but if you are putting your own health at risk, or if you have something more important to do, then they should understand.
    Even if it is not going to take long just saying no will let people know that they can’t always rely on you. It sounds mean but in my case I had to stay somewhere until 2-3 A.M. because I offered my help, but the person couldn’t figure out what they were doing and were snapping a bit, so I just did it for him so I could just leave, and then I kind of yelled at him (next day he apologized for getting on my nerves and understood that he upset me), and that’s when I realized that I can be nice, but I need to stop letting them take advantage of me.
    Another example was when I had a job interview, and it was about 10 minutes before it, and I like to get to places early. Right when I was about to leave someone yelled “Jordan don’t go, help me print!” I told him “You’ve printed before, you just hit a button I got to go now.” He then kept saying “no don’t go what if I mess it up.” At that point I realized that he really didn’t care about me (Since he’s done that stuff before) and that he just cared about my help (may be an over exaggeration but I had it) I told him “You’ve printed countless times if you don’t know it by now then sorry.” And I walked out. I think of that as a turning point in my life now since it made me realized people do take me for granted thinking I will drop whatever I am doing to help them, so if they get upset at me for saying no, then maybe I should look at who I can consider my friends because other people have told me they worry about me with how much I help everyone. (Note this is not a jab against your friends of course just saying make sure they know you have to work and rest too so they should not to always rely on you if they do…again I don’t know whether or not they do)
    Like I mentioned before this year even my teachers are telling me to start being more selfish and that I need to take time to do my own work, so I have to start being stricter, and a bit more selfish which is perfectly fine to be if it goes against always being burnt out…just don’t be a jerk about it.
    I’m really scared to hear that you worked so hard that you blacked out on stairs…seriously take better care of yourself, something worse could have happened, I’ve already had a friend fall asleep while driving and she’s lucky she didn’t get hurt. I know I sound probably condescending or over protective sometimes…but in this case I don’t care look out for yourself better you don’t need to be passing out or working so hard to the point where it brings you to tears, I know how that feels and the road it goes down is not good…let’s just say me before high school was extremely depressed, and a bit of college I went back to that side and it’s not healthy for me in multiple ways.
    You shouldn’t be worried about being an imperfect human being…I mean isn’t that kind of the point of being human…I know cliché but it is true. If we worried about perfection we would never get anything done. I mean how many things would you still be working on if you waited until it was perfect? I had to teach myself to stop trying to perfect everything and just deal with it.

    Sorry for the long comment (it’s more of a blog post itself) and if anything isn’t worded right or completely related kind of went off on a tangent in some parts. You’ve said things that made me want to say something before in previous post, but I could never word what I wanted to say right but this time I could relate to what you are saying, and you worried me a bit, so I felt the need to really leave a comment no matter how rough or weird it seemed. Hopefully things will be better, (I mean you are in Japan already so it’s a big start lol)I mean you really deserve that much for being a great person…and you better take this compliment appropriately.

    Again this is probably very rough to read…I haven’t written anything like this in a long time.

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    • Yeah. This is definitely a blog post in and of itself. I must say, I wasn’t expecting a wall of text. I think we can summarize it in: sometimes it’s okay to say no. Sometimes it’s okay to fail. Perhaps it would help if others were sensitive and tried not to pressure people? A good push in the right direction is nice. So is encouragement. The right amount of stress is healthy, but constantly expecting perfection is…not good for anyone. Someone will end up hurt.

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      • Yeah…as soon as I hit post I lookedat it and wondered what have I done. (I expected it to be shorten with a drop down option.) Won’t do it again, but I guess it was a good way to just say some things I wanted to say.

        Yeah though you summed it up nicely, especially with the healthy amount of stress since I know having known makes me the laziest person, and the perfection onesince I used to have to force myself to stop cleaning up little projects and just let them be once I finish them. Hopefully next semester will be better!

        Thanks for replying.

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