When I was a senior in high school, we had to write a thesis about pretty much anything we wanted. For some reason I chose to base mine on vampires and more than once I regretted it. It seems that there really is very little actual information on vampires. I remember going to the school library reference section and finding books with short little paragraphs about the old folk legends. There was precious little information for a multiple page thesis.
Be that as it may, I saw it as a challenge. This was the topic I chose and I was determined to write an insightful thesis on it. At this point I want to remind you that this was back in 1994…computers weren’t common in the home at that time and the Internet even less so. I had to do my research the old fashioned way-in the library.
After many long hours and cramped hands, I churned out my thesis. I can’t remember how long it was (or how long it was supposed to be), I just remember I was proud of my work. I remember smiling when I was done and feeling very accomplished and satisfied in turning what little bit of information I had into a report. When I received my paper back from my teacher (after all these years, I cannot remember his name) I was even more satisfied that my final score was a 98%…an A. As I looked through my thesis to find out where those other 2 points went, I realized I had forgotten to underline some of the sources in my bibliography. Awesome! I thought, since that meant that the thesis, itself, held up to the scrutiny of my English teacher.
At least, I thought it was awesome until I got home. I remember letting my mom know how proud of myself I was that I had written such a great paper. She promptly shot me down. My mother proceeded to give me a disappointed look and scolded me saying, “You should have gotten a 100%.” Well, yea, I should have. But it was a simple oversight that I didn’t intend to repeat. That didn’t matter. She was disappointed. The thesis wasn’t good enough. It didn’t measure up. I was junk.
Maybe in her mind she was trying to build me up in some way and make me realize my potential…but all it really did is make me realize how inadequate I was and maybe forever be. This one thing has stuck with me all these years. Now, at 35 years old, I have a hard time believing anything I do is worth while and will hold up. Everything I do isn’t good enough.
Now, I struggle to feel adequate at anything. I am constantly questioning my own worth. As I write, there is a little voice in the back of my mind telling me that it is somehow not good enough so why bother? There will be some little thing wrong that will make someone throw my story in the fire. That anything I create, writing or otherwise, will only be worth 98%.
I am still trying to get those 2 points.