FML. I’m sure most of us are familiar with the phrase, and if you’re not, oh well you’re SOL. I’m not positive I can actually spell out what it means in this article, or the second abbreviation. LOL.
Back to the topic at hand. The above phrase has been tossed around all the way back to my high school days, and I for one have definitely used this expression on many terrible occasions, instances, or circumstances that took place in my life. As I said I have had a number of “oops” moments, but I have three specific ones that definitely changed the course of my life for the better.
Lesson Number ONE:
I flunked out of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. I was one of the very fortunate ones that was directly admitted into this school right out of high school because of my academic achievements. Then like most newly liberated 18 year olds I took too much for granted. By my sophomore year of college I was out, and there was no way around it.
I had to change my major to English, but I was still granted the privilege to take some journalism courses over the summer. However, I did not graduate with a journalism degree, something I have longed for since I was in the seventh grade. Yes, this was of course very depressing to me, but as time progressed I realized something.
Just because I did not do what I was supposed to do in college does not mean I still can’t achieve all that I want out of life. I still plan to become an investigative reporter for some publication, and I still plan to use my skills as a journalist to impact a community. After hearing “no” so many times from academic advisors and professors, I realized no one is in charge of my future but me. Not a soul (Maybe God but that’s neither here nor there).
From my failures I discovered how persistent and diligent I truly am. I still have not given up, and it has taken a lot for me to prioritize what really matters to me.
Lesson Number TWO:
I use to have a difficulty of fully expressing myself. Some could say I held a lot in, others could say I was a push over. Whatever you want to call it, my lack of transparency and honesty prevented me from experiences some real joys in life.
And yes, some of these joys consist of the cliché elementary and high school ones. *Cue eye roll.* I was bullied (a lot) and because the words and actions from kids created such a powerful impact on me I did not allow myself to be truly happy with who I am. To this day I still have an issue with self-love.
However, I would say the biggest mistake from all of this was not telling anyone. No one ever really knew the literal pain I was in every day waking up as myself. And I wish I would have been more honest about it, then that way I would have known how to process and deal. At the age of 24, I now allow myself to feel, and I allow myself to express what I am feeling instead of constantly suppressing years of sadness and despair. For example writing this article alone is taking a lot out of me, but I’m still doing it. *shrugs*
Because I missed my beat with him, I have made a solemn vow to never allow fear to control my emotions.
Lesson Number THREE:
Last but not least, do not be afraid to tell someone how you feel. I know, I know very cheesy. I am riddled with clichés right now, but this is something extremely truthful to me.
When I was 18 years old, I had the opportunity to express myself to someone, but I never did. I remained closed off and distant, aftermath results of my childhood bullies. Anyway, this person, who of course shall remain nameless, never had a clue of my feelings and still does not. Obviously this is a regret on my part, but luckily my relationship with him remains…pleasant.
Of course it is nowhere near what it once was, but it is comforting enough to know I still have him in my life in some form. Because I missed my beat with him, I have made a solemn vow to never allow fear to control my emotions. In that moment, fear snatched so much from me that I never got to experience some real joys.
On those rare occasions where I feel my fears creeping back up, I do not allow them to have control. In fact, I embrace the fear, acknowledge that it is there, and with that it somehow turns into a sliver of confidence; and it is the perfect amount for me to take that leap of faith I need.
By Abena Bediako, University of Missouri-Columbia Alumni
Twitter: @bediakovernita / Instagram: rastaxgoddess / Blog: smalltalkbigthoughts.com