I had a little outburst in class today. My instructor was handing marks back, and mine sucked. It was my second consecutive bad grade in this particular class. "Why am I doing so badly in this class????? Why do I suck so bad at this?"
Yes, I said that out loud right in front of my teacher.
Then, my neighbouring classmate said, "Does it even matter?"
The whole class laughed. It helped me simmer down. But the dark cloud stayed with me until I got home. I HATE getting bad marks.
You see, I hang a lot of my identity on being "smart." And when the marks are good, this identity is able to swell and grow.
When the marks are not so good, though, my carefully fondled ego takes a dive. If I'm not good at this, it must mean I'm not good. And oh boy, have I tried really hard to be good. Good enough.
When I got home, I noticed that I felt self-conscious. Not just about getting a bad mark, but about a lot of other things too. That's when I realized there's a significant part of me that believes feeling good depends on external validation.
So there it is. Flaws. Flaws in the system. Flaws in me. And the hustle to hide them and keep them at bay.
Yes I suck sometimes.
Yes I have outbursts because of untethered emotions.
Yes I get humbled about my desire to appear smart, over and over again.
This won't be the last one. I will suck a bit more in my lifetime. But I won't stop putting myself out there because of it. And I won't let my sucking ruin too many of my minutes. And you shouldn't either.