Sunday, 19 June 2011

Always doubting myself

Tonight I watched the movie Julie and Julia and it really got me thinking about what one of my teachers told me. The students of the Bakhtin tutorial were talking about future plans and such. Almost all of us want to do a PHD so she was giving us a warning on how hard it can be to be a teacher in University. She spoke of the huge amount of work that you need to do, that the pay is not that good, but above all, that you constantly have to prove yourself; you never have the idea that you have made it to the top. Now this last “warning” surprisingly made me smile a little. I don’t know how to explain that type of smile; it was not happy, not scornful nor melancholic. It was caused by a thought that crossed my mind when she said that, namely ‘but I have been doing that my entire life’. My entire life I have been trying to prove myself to others. Ever since I was young people, told me that I was not good enough. In my last year of primary school my teachers actually told my parents that they should not expect great things from me. Thankfully my parents did not agree with that at all and have always stimulated me to work hard and to really bring out the most of me. And I proved those dumb teachers wrong; I got good grades and made it through HAVO with a good report. 

At the end of secondary school I auditioned for the theatre academy. I really wanted to become an actress, preferably in musicals since I also really liked to sing. I have to admit that I was a little astonished by the atmosphere of the academy; I had imagined that it would look a little like the school in the musical fame (since my secondary school really resembled that), but it did not look like that at all... It looked clean, neat and tidy. At that point I started to doubt whether this was the place for me. Yet I did not want to give up on my dream... It was the day of the audition. There I stood, my big moment. I did the monologue they had asked me to prepare and suddenly was given an improvisation assignment. I was supposed to perform the monologue (which was about a failed actress) as if I had won an Oscar. Nothing my teacher ever said prepared me for this and all I could do was stand there and think: what on earth am I doing here? I forgot my lines for the first time in my life and went home a little dazed. I suddenly realised that the world of theatre would never be mine; I was simply not strong enough. I did try to get into a different theatre school, yet there you would be taught in acting, singing and dancing. I did not get through the audition day and I cannot blame them; the only part where I actually stood out was during the singing lessons. So yes, after secondary school I again was confronted with the fact that I was not good enough.

As a result I chose to do something else that I had really liked to do, namely English. And what do you know? I was actually kind of good at it. I grew a bit more confident. Over the years I went from the idea of becoming a translator to the idea of actually doing a PHD. But even though most of the teachers I have had, had faith in my abilities and some of them still do, I keep having to prove that I actually can do it to myself. You see, people saw potential in me; that is why I auditioned for the theatre academy. People encouraged me to try and get in there. But I never truly believed that I could do it myself. Yes it was my dream, but I never really thought that I could make it. Yes, the person that was doubting me, that was constantly saying I could not do it, was ME. People often see me as someone who is always optimistic, myself and happy to be that way and very confident when it comes to school work. But actually... I am not like that at all. Not one day goes by in which I do not doubt myself. In which I do not doubt at least one thing I do, one sentence I say, one word I write.

And now? Now I am at a point where I think this needs to change. I love doing what I do now; I love writing essays and doing research. I have some great friends and a wonderful fiancĂ©. And I am so, so, so tired of always doubting myself. I am finally at a point where I can actually say to myself: hey, look what you have accomplished! Look: there are people who genuinely like you. There is someone that loves you! There are teachers that like your essays and they say you are doing great. So why doubt yourself? It’s ok to believe in yourself. Just go for it! And that is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to stop doubting myself so much... I know that this is something that is going to take some time; it is not something that can be done overnight. However, I am going to give it my all. I am going to just do the things that I love most, enjoying the time with my friends and family without... Going to have a great time with my fiancĂ© without doubting if they like me, if I do everything right, if I am not making a mistake by saying something.... And, very important as well, I am going to get that PHD position no matter what! I do not care what types of obstacles they will throw in my way, but I will get there, because it is something that I genuinely want to do. It is something of which I now honestly believe that I can actually do it. If people think I am not good enough? Well I will show them! I will show them that I am good enough. It will be a piece of cake to prove my worth to them, for there will never be anyone to whom it will be as hard to prove this to, as it was to myself. 

            Well I guess that’s the end of my, rather emotional, blog post. I am usually not one to talk about my feelings, but somehow I really felt that I had to write this out. I really hope that if you, my reader, are doubting yourself, that you will one day have the same feeling that I have. That you will finally be able to look into the mirror and honesty tell yourself: I can do this. For it are not those that say “you can’t do it” that prevent you from doing it... No in the end, that person will always be you yourself. Have faith in yourself and you really can do anything.

This is blackcatje, signing off.