Step up to bat and look the pitcher in the eye. The game has begun.
Useless. Stupid. Childish. Waste-of-time. Failure.
The words cut like a knife as you replay that phone call over and over again in your head. “You got an interview for medical school? Why? Who would take you? You’re being stupid.” All your life you’ve worked so hard to please that man. To make him proud. You’ve almost killed yourself from stress (literally) just to obtain those ever pleasing As but not once did you receive praise. Eventually you stopped looking for it and rejected them from people around you. I can do better. This isn’t good enough. Anyone can do this. But this time it was different. This time you waited until he returned home because you were excited. All of your hard work may have finally paid off.
Getting excited. That was your first mistake.
You’ve started a fundraiser. You want to go to Nepal to help with relief efforts over the Christmas break. You have some experience in restoration and can be an asset in the medical field. Yes, this is my way of giving back to the world. I can help those who cannot help themselves. You’re adrenaline starts to increase.
You check your email. A school has messaged you, “Congratulations! You’ve passed stage 1 of the application process. The next step is a formal interview at our university.” You did it (well sort-of but it’s a step in the right direction). You have an interview and you’re mouth is grinning from side to side as you eagerly await to tell him. But you don’t want to say anything right away, this is your moment and you want to keep it all to yourself for a little bit. To embrace the magic and make sure it isn’t a dream.
You’ve been stressed for weeks, sleep has been lost, meals have been neglected, and you’re barely keeping it together. You’ve gone a maximum of three days without shedding tears but it was a struggle. You avoid mirrors with the entirety of your soul because even the slightest glimpse of your reflection would set of you off. It takes a lot of energy to hate yourself this much. That the very thought that other people must look at you when they are walking down the street will result in a crumpled version of your body by the bathroom stall. You don’t want to leave your bed but you know that you have work to do, so you create a plan. First train in the morning, last train at night. Do not leave the office for lunch, do not talk to others, keep your head down and become invisible. It’s for their own good; no one should be subjected to this awful face and lard of a body. I’m saving them from the trauma of encountering something so hideous that they may have nightmares. I hate myself. Your boss calls you into his office and you walk in keeping your head down. He looks at you and starts to tell you about this new project he wants you to work on. You nod in agreement and then he tells you something that you weren’t expected. “I’m really pleased with your work and I was able to talk to some companies who are willing to pay you for all of your hard work.” You can’t help it. You look up with tears forming in your eyes. Finally. You thank him profusely and feel the excitement grow inside your stomach.
Third strike, and you’re out.
The phone call was quick. Pleasantries were exchanged and all seemed to be going well. You tell him your good news, the interview, Nepal, the job, and even let it slip in that you’re grades are doing well and that you’ve been traveling. “You travel too much. You’re wasting away your life. It’s time for you to grow up. That interview is stupid, it’s too far and besides, why would they take you? You’re getting paid for a job? That’s not a big deal; stop acting so childish for goodness sake. There’s no way you’re going to Nepal, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” 5 minutes. 5 minutes is all it took to leave you a mess in an alley way with tears streaming down your face. You’re heaving and can barely catch your breath.
No one said baseball would be fun.