“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” – Japanese Proverb
I realized fairly early on in my twenties that I am prone to moments of existential crises and bouts of panic. When you’re so motivated to move into your destiny but frustrated by your apparent lack of progress, thoughts about your purpose do tend to strike.
I had this happen to me directly after graduating in May.
The job search is a weird experience, especially coming out of college with a career plan that had been formulated through years of work and testing only to find out the real world honestly doesn’t really care about your life plan. Life in general doesn’t care how you’ve planned for an event or if you’ve decided to follow this particular career path. It throws curve balls at you that you couldn’t have possibly planned for and it’s up to you to just roll with whatever punches and come back swinging.
That’s the place I found myself in now, clawing desperately for employment after being rejected time and time again for jobs I felt I had earned at least an opportunity to perform. My stubbornness kept me afloat although my emotional state and depression were catching up. As I’m writing this, I’ve been rejected from every editorial, proofreader, copywriter, copyeditor, etc. job that I’ve applied for despite having multiple years of experience in this area and dedicating my entire college career around learning the ins and outs of this system. Back in July, in what seemed like a final act of desperation, I was sitting in a hallway, waiting to be called for registration for a teaching position.
Never in my life did I want to teach, only barely entertaining the idea a few years ago. After getting my B.A. in English, “Are you going to teach?” had become a triggering question because I felt it limited the scope of what I wanted to accomplish in my life by getting an English degree. I could see myself using my ability to research, write and express my points in so many avenues that I could see myself controlling a publishing company in years. Yet, I haven’t gotten an opportunity anywhere in that field.
The biggest question then was if I was even qualified to be a teacher. I hadn’t trained for it. I didn’t (and kinda still have very strong reservations about) wanting to be a teacher. It’s a challenge, trying to positively impact the lives of children, especially in Baltimore where all of these kids, no matter how talented and intelligent, could be pulled away and disillusioned by the system in place. Even I, without living in the city, was annoyed by school because I’ve felt it was useless as the government and history books that talked about Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush like he was still in power. Education, information and positivity have to come outside of school but the question most times is how?
I face this issue now, trying to be a positive male role model for my godson. He’s highly intelligent, funny and charismatic and I try my best to curve those attributes into something productive. I made a pledge not to be the one that promotes toys in his life but books. It doesn’t feel like it’s making a difference since a new Incredible Hulk or dinosaur toy still excites him more than a picture book about either of them does but I’ve been persisting because he reflects how I was at his age so much. Reading at an early age impacted me greatly and gave me an advantage when it came to not only schoolwork, but areas outside of school as well. I want to do my part to help prepare the next generation, until I actually have children of my own.
Like I discussed in fear. hope., I’m deathly afraid of failure and I’m even more afraid of the idea of failing kids I’ve grown attached to. Yeah, I’m a sucker for the kids and I get attached quickly to things then detached when it doesn’t seem they may work out and that attitude can never fly as a teacher.
Fear is a debilitating thing and I hope that by writing it out and presenting my thoughts that I can learn why I have these fears and help myself conquer them.