I actually used to tell people that I was the mistake. I use to tell people that Harvard made a mistake when they admitted me. I didn’t have the perfect SAT score or the straight A average. My college essay was about the first play I ever directed and at the time Harvard did not have a theatre concentration (they do now)!
As I remember it an older Harvard student told me I was a mistake freshman year because of these reasons and I just went with it. Everyone seemed smarter, more impressive, better at everything. Even though I came from St. Paul’s that didn’t seem to matter much. I was the mistake.
It doesn’t feel that way anymore.
Recently someone was trying to persuade me to do something I didn’t want to do. He told me that I should do things his way because I’m “better” than other people. I immediately replied that no I am not. I I never think of myself as better than anyone else because I’ve been on the other side. When you have a mental illness many people believe, act, and treat you like they are better than you. And just because I can hide in plain sight now doesn’t mean I forget how that feels. But after he said that to me I did feel different. I marvel at the turns of life. Everyone is under the impression that I am where I’m supposed to be but no one can tell what it took to get here.
I realize when I doubt myself the most I am not looking into my past. The strength and ability to do things I want to do in the future rests on a foundation. The foundation is filled with setbacks and breakthroughs, laughter and pain, accomplishments and absolute failures. But it is like a foundation beneath the ground. I rest on it. I build upon it. It supports me when I cannot support myself.
I have to admit I remember very little of what I read when I was younger. I’ve stopped attempting to do any kind of math in my head. And pretty much every class I’ve ever taken boils down to a blur. But these things aren’t important to me.
What has stuck with me and become stronger as I’ve gotten older are things like time management, thoroughness, and how to achieve long and short term goals. I did not use all of these things all throughout my life but now these lessons and others have come back to me and it’s not like I’m doing it for the first time or rekindling a flame. The actions come with the memory of having attempted to do these things before and that memory only makes me stronger.
So someone tells you something that sounds horrible to you and you can’t understand how they can deal with what they are dealing with. You want to give them advice but you know that nothing you say to them is going to make them do anything different. So you give up on them and trying to get them to change and you say,
“If You Like It, I Love It”
It’s the new way to call people stupid. – FYI