To Embrace Mediocrity



There are two columns in my life. One, where all the good things go: my charming, almost witty conversations with people I need to kiss ass to to make something of myself in life, impressing parents with how good I am with their infants, having really pretty hair, and maybe being able to turn around an argument to suit myself. Then the other column is stuff that I am really really bad at: maybe, everything else in life. This second column, I keep hidden. It has things like my inability to relate to or communicate with people, taking stress,being incapable at working like a cheetah or failing to achieve the grades in academics that “smart” people tend to achieve. I push the stuff down in my conscience, so that I don’t have to look at it until I have to, and more crucially, so that others don’t have to look at it either. I hate, absolutely hate, being mediocre. It riles me up and makes me feel pathetic and makes me think low of myself. I HATE it. I don’t get the point of doing something if you aren’t going to do it good. I don’t get the point of being something if you’re not going to be excellent at it. FYI, I am not a perfectionist. A perfectionist is someone who aims and struggles to reach perfection. I know that perfection is not possible. I do not want that. Instead, I am an “excellentionist”, or at least a “good-ist”.

I don’t feel like blogging. I don’t feel like coming to this sad little blog, to write something sad so that I can get almost no likes or comments. I hate the fact that my post has not yet been selected for Freshly Pressed. I am a writer. Or, were a writer. In school I was often known for how well I wrote. There is no way then, that my writing sucks so much that it is not considered up to the mark for Freshly Pressed. And maybe, just maybe, this is why I want to stop writing? So that I can sustain the false ideas of myself being a good writer in my head? What you don’t look at disappears. If you keep your eyes closed to it for the longest time, that thing gets sick of wanting you to look at it and sulks away. That’s what most kids do when they felt the presence of boogeymonsters under their bed at night. They refuse to look under the bed, eventually falling asleep, only to wake up to find that the monster went away sometime during the night. I, on the other hand, wasn’t like that. It was important for me to give myself the painful torture of making myself squat next to the bed and take a look under the bed to ensure myself that there was nothing there. As far as I was concerned, it was better to see it than keep wondering whether it was there. Whenever I felt that someone was standing behind the curtain as a kid, I made sure that I crept towards it, heart beating furiously, and drew the curtains to show to myself that I was wrong. I do the same thing now, as an adult. I write and see that I am not all that good. I am bad, actually. I hate reading other excellent blogs and seeing how easily words come out of their mouths and fingertips, how beautifully they form into sentences, and how quickly the writers gain fans and followers. It makes me crazy jealous. The difference though, is that when I did this thing of facing my ugly fear as a kid, I always found there to be nothing. I realised that when I looked at it, it disappeared…the boogeymonster wasn’t there, the mysterious killer behind the curtain wasn’t there, the person behind the door in my bathroom wasn’t there… as an adult though, the more I face it and the more I try to accept it, the more the resilient bitchy little thing stares back. This blog will not get better: this is who I am, I write how I write. It will not improve or become better. And I hate it! It makes me furious at myself that I have to be this average, or this bad at something. The only solution that I then see is to close my eyes, to delete the blog, to stop trying to cook, to french manicure my nails, or to try and take pictures with this weird mysterious little thing called a DSLR.

A few days back I hit an element of inner truth. It felt solid, round and heavy. It was that I need help. A couple of days back, I received my result for my academic exams which I had given. As friends and colleagues around me celebrated passing and being relieved that they would not have to repeat, after the first hour of feeling grateful to have passed, I started feeling horrible inside. I feel ungrateful and guilty for being ungrateful but I started realising that I’d performed average.. less than the minority of my class who had achieved beautiful grades. I felt empty inside, I felt like I had little, and I felt like I wanted to persecute myself for not studying more or studying better. Deep down, I know that my grades are still good, as this is a difficult course to study and most people got either the same scores as mine or lower. But the fact that I am not one of those who are shining makes me feel a bit pathetic, and a bit sad that I wasted my time. I knew then that I needed help because. trust me, just passing this year is a hell of an achievement, and something to be thankful for. It does not come easy, and in many cases, does not come at all. Yet, I feel like a victim because I remember days where I spent reading and rereading simple stuff but being unable to understand the content whereas my peers had moved on to more complex chapters. I was perverse to the memory of my depression standing between my studying and me. But more so, I felt like persecuting myself for not raising up to the occasion or trying hard enough. I know I need help because I need to feel good..I have a reason to feel good and I deserve to feel good, and yet I am continuing either feeling bad or feeling nothing. I don’t want to live my life in an absence of feeling positive or happy inside.

How do you deal with mediocrity? Do you embrace it or manage turning it into something better? What does it make you feel?