Until They Tell You to F**k Off
I once won a trophy for Perseverance. It was in 1998 at the Luke's Tae Kwon Do Annual Awards Night. I remember being happy that I won a trophy over hundreds of other students at the martial arts school, but when I got back to the table, I realized that I didn't know what the word 'perseverance' meant, or why I deserved a trophy for it. The next day, I woke up, brought the trophy down to the breakfast table with me, and asked my parents what the word 'perseverance' meant. Not knowing any better, I pronounced it 'per-see-ver-ance', much to my parents amusement. They corrected me (per-se-veer-ance), and told me that perseverance is when you try, and try, and try until you get it right; that you always believe in yourself and never give up until you finally reach your goal, and learn how to improve from the misfortunes we encounter and mistakes we make. It was something that I ought to have been proud about.
Thirteen years later, I have fully grasped the importance of persevering - it can make or break a person. My life since then has flashed before my eyes, and I've only recently developed a conscious self esteem. We sometimes forget that the world outside of us is feedback; what we do in the world isn't isolated, and every action we take, or thought we let out into the world has a response. Sometimes we take the world too seriously and let even the small things ruin our self-worth, which makes it hard to live these eighty-something years (give or take) we have on this planet. I went through a time where I thought life was out to get me, and that it had to be hard, people were harsh, and all I wanted to do was be creative in isolation and not share anything with anyone for fear of unwanted criticisms. There is always fear of not being accepted and fear of not being good enough for others, and sometimes we let that fear affect our perception of ourselves.
If you are lucky enough to break out of these mental constraints, you will realize that if everybody has these fears, then no one really has anything to be afraid of. All criticism and rejection is, is feedback on how to live and produce better - to improve, reach goals, and achieve a personal perfection. I sometimes think that my writing is not good enough to be published in any reputable publication, so I fearfully decline from sending anything to anyone who may be able to help me. One day, a strange man told me that I ought to send my work to magazines all over Toronto, and don't give up until they either tell me to f**k off, or give me a job. So when I got home, I decided enough was enough, and I would put my money where my mouth is and send my work out to every conceivable publication in Toronto, and let my positive attitude reel in a positive universal response. Today, I didn't get a job, but I did get an invitation to pitch freelance articles to a popular magazine in Toronto. I'd say that's better than nothing. I'll continue to sell myself to them - to persevere and really earn the right to have that trophy I won all those years ago - even after they tell me to f**k off.