A meme? Really? Ok.
In a meme.
The meme says that I must thank them, so…consider yourselves thanked, ladies.
The meme also says:
Answer this question: if you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
First, I’ve been thinking about this for a week. I think that speaks volumes.
And its weird, because its hard for me to not just jump up and down and scream “GOING TO LAW SCHOOL!!!” Its was a terrible, terrible misguided move that has cost me more than just money. I’ll be paying off my loans for 25 more years. I’ll be broke for 25 more years. I’ll have very little options until the economy recovers, which may very well be never.
I’ve thought about those things again and again, and every single time I find myself saying “I’m forced because…”
And it hit me.
I went back and reread Julie’s post.
I did not see myself as a wholly autonomous actor in my own life until fairly recently, meaning within the last, eh, maybe eight years? Before that, I made wildly dramatic decisions and took risks that would seem to indicate a great deal of autonomy and confidence. But I think that’s called overcompensation.
No, I was pretty much along for the ride in most aspects. I’d make a big decision (e.g., move to New York after high school, borrow a shit-tonne of money to go to grad school, start a business, etc.), entrench myself, fully committed…but from there pretty much let external circumstances or other people define the outcome of those experiences.
Sounds awfully familiar.
One of my biggest frustrations is that…I simply don’t have the inability to NOT expect the worse. I’ve tried. And every single time I’ve failed. I end up angrier and more resentful than before because no matter what, I fail at my goals…no matter how stupid they are.
But everyone else? Gets to succeed. Everytime someone I know ends up getting a new job/moving on somehow/getting something they’ve wanted for some time I get struck with a feeling that isn’t quite jealousy. Actually, no.
I know what it is.
I get resentful.
Because its another opportunity for me to hear from someone else OMG FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! OMG U R 2 YOUNG TO SETTLE FOR SHIT! OMG IT HAPPENED TO ME IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!
While I mostly just smile and keep my mouth shut, the fact is I’m generally thinking of the reasons why this people got what they wanted and I didn’t. My biases become reaffirmed. My hatred towards pretty, skinny girls grows deeper. My belief in white male privilege is strengthened. I think about how someone has a trust fund to fall back on. Or a rich spouse or relative. I think about how they aren’t drowning in debt. I think about how they’re too stupid to see that what seems like a good move now really isn’t. I sit there, I justify, I stew, I get angrier.
And what is more important: I become more convinced that I am, by my very nature, a failure.
And I mean, let’s look at the evidence: Lookswise? As we’ve established, I look like Zach Braff in drag. That ain’t cute, folks. As a runner? I’m in that weird category of being “a little better than average, but still will be racing mostly 50 year old men until I get too fat/injured to keep going.” What business do I have even being out there? I find I’m too embarrassed to talk to most of the local fast chicks because I’m not worthy, and as a result I know at least one of them thinks I hate her. (And a mutual friend made shit worse by saying something like “oh, she’s just anti-social!” So. not. the. case. I just keep to myself and tend not to notice if anyone says anything to me if I’m not looking at them directly because I have the hearing of a 70 year old! But this is a story for another day. ;p) Careerwise? Nothing. Nada. Zip. A job I hate but have to keep. No marketable skills. A degree I will never use and will pay for for 25 more years. No chance to undue the damage because I can barely pay rent. Right now it seems like my only way out is death. Lifewise? Well, I’m writing you this post on a Saturday night at 10PM and I really, truly, have nothing better to do than blog. That speaks for itself.
In sum, I’m so accustom to failure…I don’t know how to seek its opposite. There is something comforting in having an identity, and knowing that mine is one that isn’t hard to maintain? Well, there you go then.
The irony is, much like Julie wrote…its hard for me to see my role in all this. See, I suspect I am rationalizing my life choices. The problem is, I don’t know *what* those choices are. Are they as simple as going to law school and not leaving when I knew it wasn’t what I wanted? Or are they more complex: like never really knowing why I went in the first place and never really doing anything to help myself figure out. I KNOW I’ve made bad choices, but somewhere along the line…I’ve become convinced that no matter what I do, I’m up against forces that can’t be defeated. Whether it be looks based discrimination, a shitty economy, debt up to my eyeballs. I’m so used to defending my bad choices, its hard for me to work up the energy to try and change anything. (See also, this post ).
And that’s? Just stupid.
Here is the bottom line:
We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it?
- Katharine Hepburn
While we all know real change is difficult, I guess my real regret is that I’ve never tried. (Or at the very least, anytime I work up the effort, its short lived.) I’ve seen myself as along for some sort of ride, but I’ve never cared who exactly was driving the car because OH HEY, I’M UGLY AND MY LIFE WILL SUCK REGARDLESS SO WHY BOTHER I’M HERE TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS OF WHAT NOT TO DO.
The damage I’ve done due to this attitude may last the rest of my life. I know. Those of you older than me will shake your head and tell me not to think that way because I’m still young and change is still possible. I know I’m not dead yet. I get that I’m not over the hill.
But I’m over 30. Even if its not that odd to JUST be making these realizations now…the larger problem is that I am do nothing about them.
I don’t know how to.
So short version? The thing I’d change?
I wish that I’d at least TRIED to change something. At least once.
Anybody who wants to answer this.
It may be easier for some of you to answer. But for me? This was a rough one.