Light at the End of the Tunnel

So the long, torturous journey into math hell I embarked on back in…August, was it?…is finally coming to a close.  Tomorrow night is my final, and I have calculated that I need a 55% to get a C and an 85% to get a B in the course. Both are “achievable”  for me, as my instructor assured me in an email this morning, and, after hours and hours (five last night alone) I am beginning to feel that maybe, just maybe, it is. At least the C.

Being me, I don’t want to settle for the C though, and I already know I have started to build up these unreasonable expectations in my head about getting that B. Expectations that, if I don’t meet them, will plunge me into a morass of self-castigation and punishment, of “I’m not good enough” thoughts, of “I’ll never be good enough” tapes playing in my head.

I am amazingly vicious with myself, hold myself up to unrealistic standards and then brutalize myself emotionally when I don’t meet them.

A friend, meaning well, said something along the lines of, “Don’t settle for less! You’re good enough to get that B, or even an A!” And while I know that his comment comes from a good place (confidence in his perceived abilities of mine) what I hear when I read that is, “I have high expectations of you!” and I cringe, because I know I will never meet them. Which may or may not be true, but that is the tape that I play in my head: I never meet people’s expectations of me, not even my own.

Truthfully though, my friends, lovers, family, coworkers and even my study partners and math instructor have been so amazingly supportive and positive throughout this whole thing.  Because I am not exaggerating about how difficult it has been. When I say, I am thrilled and proud to have even finished the class, I am being 100% serious.  I have tried to take the class 2x before, and dropped it both times.  I have taken the intermediate level of the class (the one just before “College Algebra”) 3x.  So it’s no joke–this is a HUGE accomplishment, that I didn’t simply give up when it got hard.

(Thinking, seriously, this may be the first time in my life I haven’t. Huh.  That’s something to muse on.)

So. No matter what happens tomorrow night, even if I “only” get a C, or even, god forbid, I should flunk the fucking test, I am proud of myself for having finished it.  For saying I was going to do it, and doing it.  And I owe that in large part to those others in my life that have pushed, pulled, cajoled, encouraged, and believed in me.  Thank you, from the bottom of heart, to each and every one of you!


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