Today’s post is by our Brave Writer, Angela Giles Klocke
I wasn’t going to tell anyone when I started school again.
I didn’t want to talk about how I failed before. Which isn’t exactly true, because you have to finish something before you can call it a success or failure. So, really, I’ve been a quitter. A “this is too hard/scary/things are going too well” quitter.
Two years ago, I transferred from community college to university. I was excited and full of hope, taking a full course load, sitting among students close to 20 years younger than me. The excitement quickly wore off as I realized I was in over my head — way over my head. Students would stagger in, chattering on about how tired they were from last night’s party, and then they’d still hand in their homework. I, on the other hand, struggled. My readings were half-finished, and sometimes my homework was barely touched. I didn’t understand how this was happening.
As I struggled, the whispers of my past began to break through all the barriers I thought were in place. They said I wasn’t smart enough, and I listened. They said I couldn’t succeed, so I listened to that too. And when they told me I should just quit, I grabbed hold and let them be the voice of reason, instead of calling them out on the obvious lies they were telling me.
With fear filling my heart and mind — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of whatever — I became paralyzed. I quit. I found myself unable to move past any of it. I recognized the pattern of fear and self-sabotage, but I felt powerless to stop it.
I never went back. In fact, I was so afraid of contacting my advisor to let her know I wasn’t coming back, I ended up having to pay for something I never used. One more mistake, one more bad decision.
I immediately found a counselor who helped me unpack the baggage I’d been carrying around for over a decade, and over the last couple of years, I’ve worked hard on ME. I’ve faced my demons, stared them down, and challenged them. I’ve called out the lies and tossed them out. Oh, the whispers still come by sometimes, but they no longer hold power over me. I recognize them for the monsters they are.
So, as the first day of school approached — this brand new attempt back at the community college where I started — I was tempted to sit on the news, wait until I finished so I could announce I was graduating versus trying again. But I decided that wouldn’t be genuine of me. Because the truth is, if I quit or fail again, that’s just what happens. Life isn’t about being afraid of trying. True bravery is getting up from each fall to make another attempt, taking steps without knowing how far we’ll go.
Will I fail or will I succeed? I don’t know. But I’ll keep trying; I won’t give up.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” -Michael Jordan
Angela is a writer, photographer, speaker, activist, and princess living in Southern Colorado. She spends her days with family, friends, dogs, an old cat, words, pictures, and God. She can be found online at: angelagilesklocke.com