When it feels impossible to measure your own growth.
When it seems like you can’t overcome the demons of your past.
After you’ve watched yourself make the same mistake over and over and over again.
How do you motive yourself to push forward?
How do you find the strength to keep going?
When you feel stagnant and disinterested.
When it seems like you’re the only one uncomfortable.
How do you change your position?
How do you grow?
I’ve always believed that I was meant to have a positive impact on the world.
Regardless of where my path took me, I always knew, I’d give back to the community that enabled my growth.
For many years, I believed civil engineering was the pathway through which I would achieve my goals…until I had an anxiety attack in the middle of one of my core classes. In the middle of the class period, I felt my chest cave in, my breathing became hallow and I couldn’t stop shaking. My body was telling me what my mind had been suppressing all semester. Your body reacts naturally to stimulus and we employ what many refer to as the “fight or flight response” and my body was screaming “flight!”. I looked around the packed classroom as the teacher spoke about something I knew I’d have to teach myself later on. I had thought I was doing a good job at convincing myself that I deserved to attend a school full of students who look nothing like me. I had thought I was doing a good job at convincing myself that I felt safe there, as I sat beside a man proudly displaying the confederate flag sticker on his laptop. But my body knew the emotions I tried to suppress and at 1:45pm, in the middle of Thermodynamics, I had an anxiety attack that didn’t end until 3pm that day. I cried, I gasped for air, I called my mom and I felt overwhelming sad. I knew that I didn’t feel safe at that school, in that environment and for that reason I changed my major 2 months later. After my attack in the middle of Thermodynamics I went to counseling to find the source of that seemingly random anxiety attack. Despite the lack of empathy I was shown, the counselor helped me discover that I am not afraid of failure, I am afraid of existing in a space where I do not feel safe. I rather fail every single day than succeed in an environment where I do not feel welcomed.
So I admonish you today, when you can’t measure your growth, change your ruler. Realign your plans with your goal and push HARD, push FORWARD and stay STRONG!
Happy Self-Love Sunday from the black girl who was hyperventilating and crying during the lecture on The Ideal Gas Law