Feling Like a Failure

The truth is, only about 40% of people in my country finish their master’s degrees on time. That means 60% take extra time. I’m a part of the 60. That’s the majority. 6 to 4 majority. 3 to 2 majority. Two thirds majority. That’s not a failure. It’s common.

Then how come I feel so bad? It’s got to be because I don’t fail things. I don’t do things halfway. I never have. I once found out that I had to write a screenplay for the next day, something we could make a short film out of. My host dad told me I had two options: try like hell, or give up. So I spent the entire evening rewriting a short story I made once into a screenplay. We ended up not using it, because another guy in my group wrote one that was more doable, and we used that, but I was so scared of failing the assignment that I did it anyway. I spent all of Christmas break writing an assignment once, because the research required to do it in addition to the rest of my school work took all of fall semester, and it was due in January.

I don’t do things halfway. Not when it comes to school anyway, because all I’ve been told all my life is that school work is the foundation. I have to get good grades in middle school to get into the program I want for high school. I have to get good grades my first year because I want to go on exchange my second year. I had to get good grades there so that I wouldn’t get sent home. I had to get good grades my senior year to get into the study program I wanted in uni. I had to get good grades on BA level to be accepted into the MA program. I got good grades on all of my course work on MA level, and now I have to get a good grade on my master’s thesis to top it all off, so that I can get a good job that I will enjoy and be good at and deserve. But now, I’m not finishing it in May like planned. Now I’m not getting my degree until December.

But I’m gonna get it. I’m gonna figure out how to write 80 pages. I’m gonna figure out how to analyze my data. I’m gonna figure out how to finish the whole damn thing without suffering from panic attacks and depression and the occasional suicidal thought. I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna be a failure. I’m gonna be a winner. Slightly delayed, but still a winner. I’m gonna do it.

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A Note On Love

I’ve spent a great part of my life thinking that, you shouldn’t love someone who doesn’t or can’t love you back. My reason for this is quite natural: it only ends up hurting you. However, over the past several months, I’ve come to realize that I don’t quite like this anymore. And therefore, I wanted to share something with my readers, wherever you are, whatever your situation is, whether you’re in a happy loving relationship or you love someone you can’t have or you think you can’t love anymore because the last person you loved left you in pieces.

Love. Love everyone. Love all the time. Don’t let past experiences make you hard. Don’t let the world make you empty. Let yourself love people. Even if they don’t love you. Only love can fill the cracks and holes caused by loneliness, rejection, and betrayal. Only love can make us whole again. Maybe they can’t because they don’t know how to. Show them. Spread love everywhere you go. Leave pieces of yourself with everyone you meet. Love without the aim of being loved bad. Just love.

“Love until your heart gives out.” (writingsforwinter)

Allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to love. Cercei Lannister was wrong; loving people doesn’t make you weak. It opens you up and makes you different but it does not make you weak. Love is not weakness. Love is strength.

Give your all or give nothing. Devote yourself completely. Love with all you have and all that you are. Just love. When your love is rejected, do not dwell. Give more love, give love to someone else, to everyone else, Leave love everywhere. Love because you know what it feels like to be loved. Love because of what it feels like to love someone.

Don’t cross oceans for people who wouldn’t cross a puddle for you.

No, do it. Do cross oceans for people. Love people, all people. No conditions, no strings attached, no wondering whether or not they’re worthy. Cross oceans, climb mountains. Life and love isn’t about what you gain, it’s about what you give. Tell people you love them. Not to hear it back or to get anything out of it. Tell people you love them to make sure they know you do.

I am a firm believer in that only love can mend a broken heart. Love will make your heart soft. Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness. Bukowski said, how can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them?

And when your heart breaks… Fill all the cracks with love. Love people, romantically or otherwise. And if you can’t do that yet, fall in love with things. Fall in love with music. Fall in love with hobbies. Love. Until you’re able to love again. Love until your cracks become scars that eventually fade completely. Love until you become whole again.

How We Should Protect Ourselves (but never do)

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
– 
Holden, The Catcher in the Rye

Personally, I have a twist on this quote, an idea I would like to share with you. Something I wish I was more capable of controlling myself. It goes like this:

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

What I mean about this is… As people, when we get to know other people, we start thinking things. Imagining things. Creating scenarios in our heads that the people are a part of. It’s all good and well so far. We’re aware that they’re just daydreams and imaginations, they’re not real. But the people are. These imaginations and scenarios are things we want to do with these people. Things that maybe someday will happen. Conversations we’ll maybe have, someday. Places we’ll maybe go to. All good and well so far.

The problem with this, I propose to you, goes something like this: those people aren’t real either. They are our imagined versions of these people. How we want them to be. The things we want them to say. Things we imagine maybe someday they will actually say. We know them, we know how they talk and behave, and all we do is take this a step furter and create situations in our heads. Correction: All we think we do. But something else happens, that we may or may not be aware of. We begin to apply the imagined version to the real person. We look for traits in the real people that fit the fantasy. We begin to believe that the imaginary version is the real person. But they’re not.

People, sooner or later, in one way or another, will let you down. They’ll say or do or be something that doesn’t fit with the imagination. They’ll shatter the illusion. Naturally, we blame them. “This isn’t who you are, you’ve changed, you’ve never been like this before” we might say. It’s their fault. They don’t fit the version that we’ve created. The version WE’VE created. We. Us. I. The individual. Our mind. We are to blame. We created the imaginary version of the real person. We are to blame, not the person. They never promised to be this or do that or say a certain thing. We expected them to because the made-up version of them did. But the actual person never agreed to being who the imagined version them are.

We let ourselves down. We lead ourselves on. We break our own hearts. The person didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t do anythign at all. They just weren’t how you made them out to be in your head. And that’s your fault, my fault, each our own fault, and not the person’s fault. We hurt ourselves. If we didn’t do this, we’d be more protected. But it’s impossible not to. We can’t fight what’s inside of us. Well sometimes we can, but fighting ourselves is the most unnatural thing in the world because we are everything that we are. Maybe. Not necessarily. Other sides of this can be argued (think: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are”). But if you drag that statement into this it becomes a matter of distinguishing right from wrong and knowing the difference. What I propose is that imagining scenarios and creating versions of people is on the light side, the right side, we don’t see anything wrong with it, which is why it’s unnatural to fight this part of who we are.

Before I lose my point completely: the last part of my twist on the famous sentence from the famous book taught in most high school literature classes. If you do, you start missing everybody. People turn out not to be how we imagined them, how we wanted them to be. When we find this out, we have to come to terms with that. Accept that they’re not who we thought they were. And that isn’t necessarily easy. You may feel like you’ve been lied to (by the person, but really by your head). If you can come to terms with who they are, who the REAL person is, then maybe you can have a wonderful friendship (or relationship or whatever it is that you might have). But if you can’t, you’ll probably end up not having anything to do with them. And you may find yourself missing them. But you don’t miss the real person, you miss the imaginations, the fantasies, the daydreams, about the person you have by this point discovered doesn’t exist. Holding on to those is hard to do once you know the person isn’t like that. So you end up missing them, too.

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

This entry was inspired by this tumblr post.

~ Julie