I made straight A's one semester in middle school- from that moment on, my parents held me to a mantra-"you did it once, you can do it again"
And every single report card, following that one until I graduated high school-my parents held me to an expectation to make straight A's.
I didn't get anything extra, there were no accolades, no rewards- no extra praise, or money or special dinners.
I was simply expected to get straight A's.
-I was expected to-
As if it were easy.
I have more than a dozen memories of crying myself to sleep. I have more anxiety about living up to unrealistic expectations than I have any sort of memories of having fun
I never skipped school as the other kids got to.
I studied. I studied more hours than I didn't.
I got grounded for C's and spanked for having D's.
I can remember feeling like I was going to throw up from the pressure of anguish I had admitting I was struggling.
-trying to admit I was struggling.
I cheated in Math because I just couldn't get it.
I was sitting at my desk thinking about committing suicide because I couldn't understand algebra.
what's the fastest way to die.
what's the easiest.
How can I run away and survive?
I had no idea what suicide was... or how it could hurt anyone else-
I just sucked at math... and I couldn't go home and tell my parents I couldn't make straight A's.
So, I cheated.
I got caught, and my teacher moved my desk-
....and I failed.
I got in trouble.
And the school put me in intermediate math. I went from making straight A's to having a "box" class. That's what they called it-
because there were only about 9 kids in the class, and we got hands-on tutoring from our teacher.
We were also in separate grades- and this was the class that we each needed to pass as a requirement.
This was the class that we all needed help to pass, as a requirement.
At first, I was humiliated.
I felt really stupid. I felt really embarrassed and angry and I felt like it was unfair. It was completely and utterly unfair- and I was mad at myself for not understanding it.
The year before, I was the county representative for winning the National English Merit Award. I was the only person in my county that won this award. I was in the school paper, front page- standing right next to the principal. My face is in a book. I'm a part of the Who's Who of America
Now, I'm crying myself to sleep in an intermediate class.
.... but math was a challenge for me, and I just could not get it.
So I'm here to tell you- There is no way you OR ANYONE ELSE will ever be "perfect" at everything-
you can't be-
In all reality, it isn't fair to be perfect at everything-
and what an absolute boring life that would be.
I'm really glad I didn't take my life. What a small piece of glitter in time-
I would have missed out on every single one of the things that came after- I met some great people in my box math class- and I'm still friends with my tutor teacher, to this day- she helped me understand enough to pass High School,
and now I can use a f*king calculator -
You don't use any of that stuff they teach you in school, anyway-
Every single day, we are faced with something new.
A new diversity, a new challenge- a new victory.
And every single day- we grow.
80% of the success is showing up-
The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.