Sunday, I had a panic attack.
Every past failure rose up from the grave – and met me when I was most vulnerable – to drag me back down. I am familiar with not getting it right, or making unpopular decisions and being unreliable. But there is a brand new level of hurt experienced when you let your own self down.
I was running on empty. Most people see the gas light and immediately hurry to resolve the issue. Not me. I will keep driving–insisting that I can go much farther than mechanically possible. Sometimes, I am annoyingly successful. The person who always seems to slide through the cracks of undesirable situations. At others, I am the broken down car on the side of the road with a T-shirt hanging out the window.
Painfully and publicly aware that I do not have anywhere else to go.
Mistakes force patience down your throat. They invade personal spaces with their uncanny ability to break up your oblivious peace. I thought I could handle all these responsibilities, but the truth is the more I juggle the higher the chances are of me dropping things. Now, I have to stand still and face what went wrong. Now, I have to go back to the beginning when I should have been more disciplined from the start.
The first time I failed a class I was shocked and angry. Shocked, because I thought I did just enough to get by. Angry, because I could have done better, and my laziness reaped a negative result. But I went back and retook that class and the next time I more than passed the course. Eventually, I earned my Associates Degree.
Maybe I thought the next level of college would be a breeze. Maybe I just took on too much and did not understand what was required of me. Or maybe, I am not smart enough or young enough to do what is necessary. When you believe this type of negative narrative you will be hard pressed to succeed at anything. Self-created pressure keeps so many of us from aiming higher and pushing harder when the inevitable difficulties appear.
Sunday, I let my anxiety take the driver’s seat. But if I am honest, fear and the belief that I am undeserving have long been passengers in my now disabled car. I fought earnestly at level one to get to what I knew was mine. Late night papers and canceled plans were the norm of my existence. I have sacrificed fun to pay for school books, gave up countless nights of sleep to get it all done.
And I will not my anxiety get the best of me, not while level 2 is still left to be won.
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