Sooo...I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail Organic Chemistry. Well, maybe not. I can't be sure. Irregardless, I am feeling pretty darn inadequate right about now. In an attempt to be a more insightful person, I'm going to take a bit of a leap...and go so far as to say that perhaps my feelings of inadequacy have less to do with Organic Chemistry and more to do with my life. You see, I'm fairly certain that Organic Chemistry is a metaphor for my existence right now. For those of you that haven't rolled your eyes and closed your computers, bear with me.
You see, I didn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life until I was, well, a full-fledged grownup. I can't be completely sorry, as I doubt I would have been as determined and focused in my late teens/early twenties as I am now. But I digress. Like a lot of things in life, Organic Chemistry is something that stands between me and something I desperately want: A degree. Although I would never choose to take Organic Chemistry (you know, for fun), I am told that I must endure it, and do it well, in order to get what I want. It keeps me up late at night, costs me a small fortune in tutoring, tuition, and materials; and keeps me from fully engaging in family time, hobbies, and even fictional reading material. As I write this, I sit at a table strewn with notes and other materials while my husband and son watch a movie in the other room. Did I mention it's a Friday night? Bummer, right? But the point is, no matter how hard I try, I'm not great (or even good, really) at it and probably never will be. So why exactly, do I ask myself, freshly bitter from a brutal exam, am I doing this to myself and my family? Well, there is the typical series of reasons I give myself at times like these and they are as follows: this will enable you to have the career of your dreams (after 3 years of grad school, of course); you are setting a good example for your son; you are proving that women can do anything they set their minds to and still have a family; you are bettering yourself which makes you a better wife, mother, and fill-in-the-blank...
In all honesty, though, isn't all of this true of so many of the things in our lives that we deem important? The final outcome is out of our hands; it keeps us from the people/things we love; we're doing it because someone else told us we must; and we are desperately afraid of failing at it? Then you feel guilty because you're failing, crabby from the frustration, and guilty because your taking that frustration out on the people you are ignoring so that you can fail at the very thing that started all this. It's a vicious cycle and I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
At the end of the day, however, my world won't come crashing down if Organic Chemistry gets the best of me. But it probably won't. Still, years of stockpiled self esteem and confidence can come crashing down in an instant after being confronted with the fact that you're not even average, but sub par; and there's a distinct possibility that there is little I can do about it. I'm never going to be the perfect mother, wife, goat herder, or Organic Chemist. But I should probably come to terms with it and stop making myself miserable in the process. I really don't want to be on stage in front of my friends and family (well, those that haven't disowned me by then), accepting my degree a year from now with a fresh crop of frown lines and an ulcer boiling up from my gullet. It's time I got over my fear of failure and disappointing others...and I'll be sure to let you know when I figure out how to do just that.