#42: Because There Is No Plan B

Foresight has never been my strong suit.  This is surprising considering how much time I spend wondering and panicking about the future.  This week I had a lot of time to think about life.  This means I spent three days off work, apathetic about every aspect of life, and basically living from meal to meal, and shower to shower.  I watched movies, television, ignored my family and friends, and put my libido on hiatus to bathe myself in what can only be described as the most cliche 72 hour solo-pity party I've ever hosted for myself.  However, cliche as it was, I learned a lot about myself and my behaviour, and think I needed that time alone to feel better about the future. 

Anyone who has ever paid me a compliment will notice the look of surprise and bewilderment that spreads across my face - almost a look of embarrassment.  Well, it's because more often than not, I am totally surprised that anyone sees anything in me.  I think that I can do a lot of things well, but I've realized that the only person I've had difficulty convincing in my abilities is none other than myself. God, why is she such a bitch?!  I came to this realization whilst watching an episode of the hit TV show "SUITS".

Now, "SUITS" is a law dramedy about Mike Ross, a brilliant but lazy young man impersonating a lawyer in a top Manhattan law firm.  Throughout the show, I've seen several similarities between Mike and myself.  We are smart and entitled to a fair shot at life, but feel like we are unqualified for the real world, and its only a matter of time before someone discovers that we are frauds.  So, why do I feel like a fraud?  There's no reason for it, but there's a little part of me that always tries to undermine the part of me that is absolutely certain and secure in myself.  I'll call her "Gretchen".  Gretchen thinks that I'm not as smart or as good as I am.  She thinks that anyone else can and will surpass my ability, and sometimes she stops me from doing things because she doesn't want my feelings to get hurt if it doesn't work out for me.  Gretchen is always in charge of plan B, and Plan B is always in case of failure.

Well, I have to say I'm pretty tired of Gretchen.  She's miserable and she doesn't dream with me.  She never wants to know what its like to succeed, to be happy, and to achieve.  This week I took some time to think about what life was like when I first started University.  I remember talking to my best friend on the phone, crying about how I didn't think I was good enough, and that I was scared that I made a mistake going to such a serious academic institution.  I thought about how embarrassed I'd be if I failed, and felt sick because Gretchen told me that I wasn't prepared or cut out for the kind of hard work University required.  This was the first time I ever stood up to her and told her that I could do it. 

I worked really hard to stop all my bad habits, and get down to work.  I set the highest goal for myself, and for the next 4 years, I strove to graduate with High Distinction.  I sat in the lunch room of Coast Mountain Sports, stared at the course calendar awards, and said: "I want that", and there was no turning back.  Over time, I stopped being the "impostor" I thought I was, and started being the learned and educated girl I knew I could be.  I started not belonging, not having any friends, not having the slightest clue what the word "fundamentalism" meant, and ended owning University, and slightly knowing what the word "fundamentalism" means. 

Sometimes we have to stop worrying about what's expected of us, and the expected result, and focus instead on the things that we really want and pursue those things no matter what anyone thinks or says; sometimes you have to be the champion of your own dreams, and sometimes despite yourself.

Gretchen has returned, but only because I'm on the verge of something new, and it's incredibly easy to sell myself short.  This time, I don't have a course calendar to guide me - all I have is a moral compass and my own will and ambition to succeed.  So right now, I'm having another profound moment.  I've just showered, put on some clean clothes (not pyjamas), and sitting in my Dad's workshop with my older brother and cousin before I have to go to work at Rona.  I'm setting my sights unrealistically high again because I know from experience that hard work and determination can get you just about anywhere - it can inadvertently lead you straight to real achievements, self discovery, and true friends.  I want to entertain people for the rest of my life.  I want to do this. 

I want to write, deal with various kinds of media, and interact and socialize with people forever. 

So once again, Gretchen is going to have to fuck off and get over herself, and see that even though I don't have a starter's manual to life with a detailed table of contents, index or appendix, Plan A is that there is no Plan B; I'll be writing it as I go along.  

Arianne Tong1 Comment