This is me trying

A reflection of someone's eyes on a shard of mirror

Grieving the girl I once was. 

Miss Swift and her magical mastery of words have, once again, done an incredible job at capturing what it feels like to no longer be that person you once were that everyone celebrated. The unbearable weight of trying and trying and trying.

I stumbled upon a clip from Taylor’s long pond studio sessions recommended to me by YouTube (which felt like my YouTube algorithm guy was psychoanalysing me). It was one where she talked about her song “This Is Me Trying” and one particular part of the clip made me pause the video and sit in silence for 3 seconds. It was when Jack Antonoff (producer) expresses how isolating it must feel to know that you’re really trying your best and yet, even that is not good enough. Honestly, I know that feeling all too well. 

Prior to being a university scholar, I was an over-achieving and “academically-inclined” student who had a thirst for doing exceedingly well in class. I was almost always walking across the stage for a trophy and certificate. I adored and fed off the validation. It was all that I’d ever known. I say this not with the intention to impress you because really, what’s the point of that now? I’m 21. I haven’t been that girl for ages. However, it has been hard coming to terms with the fact that I’m no longer that girl. That even when I’m trying my hardest, it’s never going to be my best or that I feel like I could do better.

I think if you grew up in a community that heavily emphasises academic excellence (or excellence/perfectionism in general), then you would understand how I feel. The guilt and shame of scoring anything less than an A have persisted within me up till now. Looking back at it, you realise how absurd and unhealthy it was to adhere to those expectations but trust me, I’m trying my best to unlearn those things now. Relearning how to feel content instead, that I've tried my best and accepting the fact that sometimes I'll succeed and sometimes I won't and there’s no shame in falling on my face at times. 

To finally have the courage to say goodbye to that girl I once was but gosh, it’s been a tough journey and I don’t think it’ll be a quick and easy one either. I will persevere, though, because it’s time I focus on nurturing the girl I am now instead of comparing her to the one she once was. It reassures me to know that one of our generation’s greatest songwriters feels the same way and I hope that this little piece of my heart that I’ve just poured into this page would offer you the same reassurance too. Remember that there’s courage and merit in trying itself. 

Tagged in What messes with your head, perfectionism, academic validation, Taylor Swift