Every once in a while, I find myself lost, afraid and tired. For whatever reason, and without warning, I’m suddenly consumed with insecurity and a sense of incapability. Every negative thought and emotion possible is overtaking my psyche, and before my own eyes I dwindle from a confident, capable woman into an inept, fragile child. Everything I thought I knew about myself, my life and what they would be are out the window. I feel broken and worthless and as though I’ll never amount to anything. All I want to do is burry myself under my covers and hide from the reality of my life and the potential I’ll never reach.
And as alone as I feel in those moments, I know that those “episodes” are anything but exclusive. But most people don’t opt to talk about their rough patches. Most people aren’t going to upload pictures on instagram of them going through a quarter-life crisis or binge-watching Netflix because they feel too emotionally numb and void of motivation to do anything else.
As hard as it may be to believe, we all have our fears and doubts about the future. Seriously. The really annoying fake-nice girl on SGA on the EBoard of 12 clubs does. The over-achieving teacher’s pet in the class you hate does. And the girl who seems to have everything together all the time from her Pinterest-perfect messy bun to her straight-out-the-salon manicure. Almost all of us are struggling in one way or another, no matter how much fun we seem to be having on social media or how many things we’re “excited to announce” on Facebook.
But what sets us apart is how we deal with this stress. We’re all sleep-deprived, we’re all over committed and we’re all doing the best we can. But we all have a choice to fight or flee; to face our obligations and responsibilities, and do what needs to be done, or to cower under the pressure, and run away from them. These moments, when we have lost all faith, when our backs are against the wall, and will to thrive are tested are the moments that define us. These challenges to our character don’t come to a sudden halt after graduation. And if we can’t conquer them now, who’s to say we’ll be able to conquer them when we’re 25 or 30 or 40, with real bills, real families and real deadlines?
Failing a class or missing an assignment isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean you’re stupid or that you’ll never learn to get it together. But the sooner you harness the discipline to succeed at all costs, the sooner you’ll be able to take the world by storm and resolve any doubts about your competence or integrity.
This has been my favorite poem for as long as I can remember, and I’m sure it couldn’t hurt to share.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.