You know when you get your identity from something, or at least that’s what it feels like? It becomes a big part of how you define yourself. Everyone has their thing, but what happens when you don’t feel good at it anymore?
Attribute it to being recently postpartum. Maybe it was affected by the stress of not knowing if I had a job. Maybe it was then accompanied by the stress of moving a few weeks after I had a baby, of being displaced for a while, of trying to juggle spending quality time with your kids. Attribute it to whatever you want. I just know over the course of the last several months, the thing I’ve viewed as being a large part of my identity has really taken a curve and it has definitely led me to question whether or not I am even good at some things anymore.
My entire life people have told me I was smart. Not pretty. No one has ever commented on my looks the way they do my cousin Autumn. No one has ever really said anything about me outside of “she’s very intelligent.” So that’s what I feel that I am (okay maybe not really smart, I have never thought that, but I don’t feel like I am dumb).
But this semester in my MBA classes I struggled. I struggled good and hard. Where I thought I was doing somewhat okay, I quickly realized that I was actually majorly sucking. In fact, one of the areas I was really failing in was my discussion board posts, which were things that were both not super difficult and came to me with ease. It was brutal. I spent so much time trying to figure out what was going on, but I was also limited in that time. Ryan was working. We were staying at his parent’s house. I had a newborn that was really clingy and fussy and a toddler that was suffering the effects of being displaced and having a newborn sister that was very clingy and fussy. I was trying to keep it together, but I think I finally met my match in these moments and I really wasn’t doing a very good job.
One thing I’ve come to realize about myself is that when my things are jumbled, my thoughts are jumbled. So cue me living out of 5 separate suitcases with no real sense of order even when I tried to create order and you get me – a person who can obsess over nothing but trying to restore order. I have a one-track mind. If my house is really dirty, all I can think about is cleaning whatever is bothering me. I can’t help it. If my desk is cluttered, I can’t accomplish anything. I struggle. There are some things that don’t bother me, but because I also have that procrastination gene, if I can find something else to do that is .000001% more interesting than my homework, chances are you’re going to find me doing that. I’m not proud of it, but I own it.
I suddenly felt amidst all of this change that I was losing part of my identity. What if I just wasn’t good at school anymore? The jig was up. People were realizing that I am a sham and I don’t really know anything. I am going to fail. I have one semester left and I won’t make it. It’s the beginning of the end.
These are my thoughts. Literally.
I am in the last week of my class and I am turning it around. Actually, going back to work the last two weeks of the semester has helped me tremendously because I have been able to get myself back on a routine and a schedule a little bit more than I realized I was missing. I’m still questioning it though. I think it’s healthy to do so as long as I don’t feel an immense sense of self-deprecation. I could work harder. I know it. If you see how I have been working, desperately trying to keep everything afloat, you’d probably agree with me. But it’s been a struggle. I am pending going through a JD program in early spring of 2019 and all this has really made me question myself and my abilities and if I will even be successful in that program. I think I will, but I just don’t know. What I do know is that I need to quit defining myself by my successes because it’s not fair to me. You aren’t defined by your successes so much as what you do in your time of failures. I tout that a lot but I definitely have my days where I have a hard time believing it and giving myself a little grace because up till now, I’ve never met a challenge I haven’t been able to overcome.
Quarter life crises. I guess they come in all shapes and sizes sometimes.