Facing the Giants

I had about my worst week since the start of University and as I sat in the classroom, it was really the last straw.

Since Monday, my schedule has been packed to the brim, and I sleep no more than 4 hours, trying to complete all that I had, to the best of my ability.

I confess- I’m a perfectionist and I just cannot stand to see myself perform less than what I know that I can. While that means that whatever work that I produce, I know it is with confidence and good faith that I try my best, it also means that I invest a lot into what I do- time and effort both in equal portions. Perhaps that is also why one can finish their work one/ two days ahead of me, while I am still working on it.

But today, I sat in a room where I was the youngest, the most inexperienced and the most clueless as to what is going on while all the Year 2 and 3s went on about their views on the subject matter. I did my readings, I prepared my work. But next to them, I was as good as unprepared and that just made my heart sink.

It brought me back to a conversation I had with D over lunch one afternoon. We were lamenting about how we feel like we’re constantly struggling and lost in this huge institution and she said,

“I feel like a guppy in the ocean right now”,
“Then that makes me a plankton.” I retorted immediately and instinctively

That is just how insignificant and small I feel.
I guess there is just one word I can sum my journey up as a 4-week-old freshman, and that is Inadequate. It seems like I can never prepare enough, I can never know enough, I can never be good enough. In that classroom, I felt like I was surrounded by sharks and whales and I just have no where to run- every effort seemed fruitless. I just listened as much as I could, with a side-wonder of how in the world can I ever be able to come up with similar arguments.

Distraught, I dragged my feet to my church’s prayer meeting- I was burdened, tired and extremely exhausted from trying.
I’m not about to turn this into a post where I impose my religious beliefs or views upon anyone that stumbles upon this; but I came to the conclusion that every single day is an uphill battle and sometimes, all we need is time alone.  Time alone goes beyond isolating from groups of people that you use to hang out with; goes beyond retreating into your own space and doing what you like-
Time alone, means that you take time to understand yourself, what you are going through, why you are feeling the way you do, and what you are going to do about it. 

Many times, wherever and whatever we do everyday, we are bombarded with information; get tangled in conflicting emotions; confounded by unexplainable events, and often we just chuck it all aside, thinking that it might just be a passing cloud that would dissipate soon enough. But little do we realize that leaving it to fester creates a brewing storm- And when it starts to pour, you just cannot stop the downward spiral.

In the book “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I remember clearly that the author was having trouble meditating. She didn’t understand how someone could sit for one hour and be in that state of calmness and peace.  One of her friend at the ashram told her that you just need to calm your soul down, let it know that it’s position is not threatened and that it’s okay to stop struggling and resisting, to know that it would not lose it’s position of being in control.

And I guess sometimes, that’s just all we need. We need assurance that it would be okay to reconcile with our feelings, instead of running away from them daily. We just need to stop struggling and spend time alone.

So I guess for the next lesson, the plankton just needs to learn that it’s okay to feel lost, and it’s okay to feel small; but perhaps as I go through it, I may survive and perhaps evolve to a guppy next semester. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?


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