I’ve been Missing In Action for the past three weeks, and here’s why: (1) I had second thoughts about my choice of field, which pushed me to quite a break-down, and (2) my ideas kept showing up at very, very, very inappropriate time.
That comic explains (2). Because I’m quite a perfectionist and I’m obsessively organised, I can’t stand not having everything done in order, that means the untouched ideas just keep piling up and roll me over like a gigantic snowball in an avalanche.
Now, about (1). I’m a terribly introverted person, and I always feel like I’m not a good communicator, not even a decent one. And because I’ve been having this impression that to study Communication and Media, I have to be very outgoing, outstanding in the crowd, great at networking, etc. And I don’t enjoy being any of those things at all, nor am I any good at any of them for that matter.
A series of unfortunate things happened about a week ago, and they really demotivated me. I kept pondering over whether I’ve chosen the right path, because I’ve tried so hard to be acknowledged academically but it always feels like I’m never good enough – I’m doing something heavily language- and culture- based and of course, being an international student, I’m 20 years behind my domestic friends in terms of those two aspects. I have this basic, fundamental belief that leads most of my choice and actions, that once you face your fears, they disappear – or at least they would be times less scary than what you thought they’d be. With that mindset, I’ve been pushing myself to do what is in complete contrast with my personality – initiating conversations, networking, putting myself out there; but at points it became unbearably stressful, and I wondered that day if I was wrong to think that those fears will ever go away. I wondered if I could keep on doing what I dislike so much for the rest of my life, and never be great at anything, never stand out, never have my own spotlight.
The deus ex machina of this story is a Viber call to my Mom, who is 7000km away from me right now and right then.
She told me stories, and about this picture in particular:
Mom told me I was too busy focusing on seeing that old woman in my picture, that I forgot my privileges and blessings in life. I’ve achieved so much, I do have my talents, I’m smart and well-mannered, and most importantly, I have my loved ones around me always – my Mom and Dad, my little sister, my closest friends and my boyfriend, and a lovely landlord with her fluffy cat who likes me endearingly in his feline way.
She told me other things too, like how I’m so much like her but way more resilient, how she herself went through the same anxieties and worries I was, and how much she believes that I’ll shine through those hardships.
And I believed her. I started to recall the times I was good at doing those things I hate even when I had to force myself so freaking hard not to run and hide, times I proved myself worthy of recognition, times I was being patient and brave. That’s how I knew I’ve made the right decision and that past week was just a bound-to-happen bump on the road, because after all, nothing worth having comes easy.
But I’ve also learnt to come to terms with the harsh truth that not everyone is meant to do something “great”, something life-changing, something transcending time and space. The majority of us, myself included maybe, must learn to appreciate the little things we have and do the limited little things we can, wholeheartedly and contentedly.
And that, to me, it’s what greatness is actually about.