Today is the first day of the fall semester! Totally exciting, right? I know. I’ve been twiddling my thumbs waiting these past few weeks for school to start. I took the paperwork from the school and wrote my schedule on the calendar – Statistics Mondays from 9-1 and Anatomy and Physiology Tuesdays from 1-7. Yesterday was Labor Day so there was no class, but today is the first day. Anatomy and Physiology! How exciting!
As it turns out, I got my schedule backwards. I actually have A&P on Mondays and Stats on Tuesdays. Which means… Statistics is happening right this minute and I am at home… writing a blog post.
I haven’t written anything since my awesome vacation, and it’s been nagging at my brain that I want to write. There have been lots of things happening, but nothing that I really wanted to write about exactly. Today provides an excellent opportunity to write about something that I have tons of experience with. No, it’s not proper time-management, nor is it a lecture on the importance of paying attention to the details and ensuring that no mistakes are made. Rather – today’s blog topic is all about giving yourself a damn break.
You see, when I awoke this morning and logged onto Blackboard, the online tool for students to check their assignments etc, I realized my error and I almost burst into tears. I was sitting in my boyfriend’s apartment while the most sinking feeling enveloped me. My mind began racing – how is it possible that I could have screwed this up already? I angrily gathered all my things and came home to look at the paperwork the school gave me, hoping that perhaps they made a mistake. (Don’t feel bad for laughing at me, I am as well.) I figured that must be it because I sat at my dining room table with the calendar and that paperwork to write down my schedule.
So, I get home, and of course the paperwork is right. That just means that when I sat down with the calendar and wrote down my schedule, I looked at the paper and saw Statistics on Tuesdays and wrote it on every Monday on the calendar. I’ve been referring to the calendar ever since, so my dyslexic moment caused me to miss class this morning. Les idiot.
As I’m driving home this morning, I also realize that the modeling gigs I booked for every Tuesdays morning (due to the incorrect schedule I had in my mind) would all have to be cancelled (meaning they would have to find another model for the class) because I’ll be in school on Tuesdays at the same time. This caused me to feel even worse. Not only did I miss the first day of Math class, but now I have to tell the art professor that he needs to find a new model on Tuesdays. The sinking feeling, urge to cry, and anger at myself double at that idea.
I’ve really gone and made a mess of this, haven’t I?
Then I realize that I have to explain to my parents why I’m not in school, and that just about does it. This thing that I was so excited for and supposedly really cared about… I couldn’t be bothered to make sure I had the simplest detail – time and place – right? Real-life grownups don’t pull shit like that.
At this point, on my drive home this morning, I took a deep breath and considered my options. Stay angry at myself and continue this cycle of mental flagellation, or let it go. The mental flagellation is something I’ve been doing my whole life – I push myself so hard sometimes. I have such high expectations of myself and I never really give myself a break. Failure isn’t an option for me, I have to do everything right and to the best of my abilities. As innocent as the whole scenario is, making a mistake when writing down my schedule and getting the days mixed up just isn’t an option for someone like me.
When I told my mother, who is a saint, what I did – she told me that she missed a meeting this morning for work. Just completely missed it. Somehow, this helped me to realign my universe and see things in a new way. First of all, even the most badass of persons make errors. I am, after all, a human being. Sure, feeling bad about it is appropriate because I don’t want to be flip about my life, but to take it to the extreme where I completely meltdown because of a silly thing like this is probably a waste of my time and energy. Just fix the problem.
I abandoned my mental flagellation (which was super hard because I was resisting a pattern of behavior that has been in place my ENTIRE life) and took deep breaths to calm the anxiety. What can I do? I thought to myself. Time to make an action plan. It’s too late to be a responsible adult and attend class on time, but I can absolutely go to the school when the class ends and apologize to my professor, in person, and get the syllabus and assignments. I know the professor because I had him this summer, and I know some of the other students because they were in this summer’s math class as well. That’s the best I can do, hopefully it will be enough.
I changed the calendar as soon as I got home so reflect the accurate schedule – not that I need a calendar at this point because the error will cement my schedule in my brain. And, I emailed the art professor about modeling and apologized and gave him the name of someone else that should be able to pick up those classes in my place. That actually kind of works out, because she told me yesterday she wanted to work this month but I had already been booked for the classes.
Last step, actually buy into all this irresponsible crap and give myself a damn break already. I have a really bad habit of coming down way too hard on myself. The reasons for that vary… and aren’t all that relevant because this is who I am, regardless of where it came from, so it’s on me to be different if I want to be. And, as my mom put it, the key is to come down on yourself… and then stop. Just fix it and let it go.
Now that I’ve fixed it, I can let it go. This may seem a little (read: a lot) neurotic to most people, but the other over-achievers will understand. Funny now that I have written it all out and actually dealt with it, I feel pretty silly that I was so miserable in the first place. On the to-do is changing my reflexes… when I make a mistake, shorter guilt and disappointment in myself and more forgiveness.
Be my own best friend. =)