Broken Glass: Detrimental Determination
A while back, I shared my a part of my story when I was struck with extreme disappointment. I had just received my LSAT scores and to a girl who thought she wanted to be a lawyer, they were the worst scores possible. After breaking every glass in my house, I slept in the bathtub contemplating the idea of drowning myself to escape this heartache.
But the next morning, I woke up and I had a plan of action. I reached out to my professor from undergrad and asked to meet. And that meeting was very eye-opening and I left that meeting thinking and understanding my life was not over because I did not get the scores I wanted. There were other ways for me to accomplish my dreams of changing the world one mental health policy at a time.
I left Starbucks feeling rejuvenated and ready to create a plan of action. So much so, I decided to go ahead and start studying for the GRE so I could at least be ready to get into grad school and then maybe the next year be able to get into law school. Since i had this plan of action, I threw myself into studying. I had a month to study and then my test date. I scheduled my test date in time for me to get my applications turned in.
This was quite a bit of pressure that I put on myself. No one told me that I "had" to go to graduate school right after I graduated undergrad; however, that is all I knew. I had watched my friends and sisters go straight into programs after undergrad. Why should I be any different? I felt like such a failure to myself that I wanted to prove that I could bounce back. I also remembered at my graduation dinner that my father made that comment that I wasn't going to go off to school afterward. I was just gonna stay in Texas and be complacent. Those words stung. I still remember that comment like it was yesterday. And those words rang in my head as I pushed myself to study for the GRE and get my applications in.
I threw myself into studying and completing applications that I did not give myself any time to truly cope with what had just happened less than a week ago. I didn't think that was what I was supposed to do. Why should I dwell on something I couldn't change, at least that is what!
I never knew that my determination to further my education (and prove a few folks wrong along the way) could be detrimental. And to be honest, while I was in the middle of it I did not see it as that. But after I completed my GRE a month later and got the scores I needed, it all came crashing down.
I felt empty. I felt like I had no purpose. What was I supposed to do now? I got the score I needed but what if it was not enough to get me into a good program? What if it all was going to play out like my father had said at dinner that day?
Not only were these thoughts going through my head, others were swirling as well. I realized I had thrown myself into studying not only to get into graduate school but to forget about the heartbreak I experienced from a guy. A guy who did not have the decency to call to tell me but instead post a pic with a new girl on Instagram.
While I was studying I did not even have time to think about it. I did not want to think about it. But now that the test was over and the applications were in, I had all the time in the world (outside of work) to think about it. I had all the time in the world to address it. And I realized that I once again felt broken. Even with the possibility of my academic goals being met. I didn't understand how I could feel so broken and empty when things were externally working out for me.
I looked in the mirror of my bathroom one morning and I wondered how could anyone love me and all my failures, completely negating all the things I had accomplished. I wanted to break everything in my house again; however, I was out of glass and out of other things to break.
I wanted to die. I felt so abandoned by everyone. At that moment I began to feel like my worth was only tied to the things that I could do and do for others. My worth was only as good as my father's praise. My worth was only as good as the graduate programs I got accepted to. My worth was only as good as the man who loved me. I felt like I had all these things inside of me that I had not dealt with and they were bubbling o the surface.
I wanted to die. I wanted to fade into the night and never return. I know how melodramatic that sounds but it is the truth. I just wanted to be the best version of myself and I did not know how to do that. I did not know how to be myself without tying my identity to things I accomplished. I was so focused and determined to get to the next box on my checklist that I didn't acknowledge that I couldn't continue if I was not whole.
What happens when your determination is the same thing that is hindering you? When you thought if you worked really hard and didn't focus on the past or things you couldn't change that that would make the journey easier? The real question is, what happened to me? What happened to me, the girl who seemingly had it together on paper but still wanted to die because the pain of the past hurt was just too much?