I was in the middle of writing a different blog post for this week when I got some disappointing news. Those of you that know me personally may have been aware that I was applying for a nursing program to start in January. Suffice it to say, I did not get in.
This brought afresh some feelings I have been struggling with over this past year. I'm 24, I graduated early with my Bachelor's in Biology from one of the nation's best schools, and I still haven't made it to where I want to be. I've been rejected for med school twice already. I feel like all the things I'm good at are things at which anyone can excel. I feel like I'm treading water. You don't need professional training to be a homemaker, or a good listener. You don't need a degree to be an EMT. You don't need any training at all to write.
I am very proud of my accomplishments. I know what kind of person I am. And when I think of the areas in which I have failed, I tend to fear that others will see me for less than I am. I hear things in my head like, "You'll be a great mother," "You do wonderfully with children," "I love what you made, you're so good in the kitchen," which, to me, all sound like, "You don't belong doing anything else."
Please, understand why this bothers me so much. I want to be good with all the things I just said. And without people who took care of children and homes, and loved what they did, the world would not exist. But I don't want that to be as far as I get. I have worked very hard to prepare myself to do more than be a housewife and a mom, and I feel like all my opportunities are being cut off before I get to them.
Here is the reason behind all of this: I'm afraid. And the particularly stupid part about this is, I'm afraid of what other people might think. I'm afraid they might think that I'm a failure. I'm afraid that they might say things like, "Well, it was good for you to try." I'm afraid that they might try and pick me apart to figure out what's wrong with me since no program I've applied to will take me. I'm afraid to be proud of the things that I'm good at, because other people might say, "So you wasted four years of your life getting a degree you currently aren't using?" or, even better, "Oh? You write and cook and crochet and have a blog? Aren't you sweet."
So, here is what I've decided. I will not be afraid of what other people might think about me. And I will certainly not let what they do think about me define me. I am proud of what I have done, successes and failures. I don't need validation from a professional program to be worth something. I will freely admit, it would be nice, especially right now, but I don't need it.
In a letter to Jewish exiles, the prophet Jeremiah tells them that God knows the plans he has for them. God told the Israelites that after seventy years of exile they could come back to their homeland. I read that, and I feel pretty petty for being upset about not getting accepted. But also, I trust that God knows what plans he has for me as well, even if I don't have a clue. "No" doesn't mean "Stop functioning." It just means "Something else."