The lights have gone out in the bathroom and my roommate and I have yet to fix them. At the moment it’s being lit by candlelight. I don’t know if I’ll change it any time soon. I probably won’t. The effect seems to fit my life, which always sounds so dramatic when I tell about it that I laugh at the recanting. Occasionally, I even laugh when it’s happening. Drama seems so funny in real life. It just looks so out of place. And yet, it’s sort of all I really know.
Though drama befits the circumstance, I’m not actually thinking about anything all that dramatic. I was thinking about being someone. Whomever it is I’m supposed to be. I was thinking about how to become that without throwing away everything about me that I’ve spent my whole life trying to be. It sounds deep and thoughtful, but I think it might be more of an excuse to prolong my enjoyment of the candlelight.
I was thinking about rejection. I applied to be commencement speaker this year. I’m graduating college. I didn’t get it and that wasn’t surprising. I think at this point, I’ve applied to and gotten rejected by so many things that I’m a bit numb to the feeling. I see the words “I am sorry to…” give a polite, “oh okay”, sit back down, and finish my tea. If I’d decided to believe in purpose this week, I would’ve said that all of my rejections these past few years have been a plan to rid me of the fear often preceding them. I’m not sure I believe in that this week though. This week I just feel like the universe is being a bitch.
Every thing I go for gives the remarkable impression of being right outside of my reach. I can touch the glimmer of success with the tips of my fingers, but it never glows close enough for me to feel it’s warmth. They told me, as they usually do, of how very close I was. They told me, as they generally do, that the attempt I made was a phenomenal effort. They told me, as they often do, that they enjoyed it so much they were working to give me a consolation prize. I smiled. I thanked them. As I ordinarily do. My stomach fell to my toes (it’s very comfortable there) and I all but laughed aloud at the familiarity. They brought me in to tell me this. They wanted to reject me personally. My inner me keeled over in laughter. How often does something have to happen for it to be routine? How often in my life will I be great, but not great enough?
How is it that I can be everything I want to be and give everything I have to give and it still not be worth anything tangible? I do not feel devalued. I’ve spent too much of my life growing my self esteem to knock it down with things so slight, but still… Occasionally, I have to wonder: what it is about what I want to be that is not great enough to be seen as worthy? If I can do better then so be it, but who is it that decides what is best? Why is my idea of great so different than yours? What is it that you see? What is it that you see in me that’s wrong? Who should I ask for the final word?
I guess it always just reminds me that I’ve gotten more being likable than I have ever gotten from being seen as highly merited. It’s both amazing and slightly disappointing to be seen as less than you see yourself as. It’s humbling as well as discouraging.
My brother says that merit is too relative to certain people to be discouraged by its judgment. “It’s not that you’re not great, it’s that your type of greatness has yet to be seen by the right people.” And then both playfully and seriously he references the history of most great, dead artists…
It’s a funny thing, candlelight. Even playful words seem like painfully dramatic endings…