Monday, October 01, 2007

Sucky Day

As I headed home from the airport, my eyes welled up. I flew home last Friday to prepare for my road test only to fail it the following Monday in a spectacular display of ineptitude. Murphy's Law? Perhaps. In any case, disappointment doesn't begin to describe it. I don't know whether I was assigned the prototypical fem-bitch examiner, though it's too late to do anything about it now. The unforgiving morning traffic barreled all around me as fast-moving vehicles relentlessly charged ahead. "Why did you do that?" she'd scold before turning her lacquered finger on me. I felt like I was juggling multiple instructions at once, so I panicked and lost my confidence.

I feel like a failure, like I wasted everyone's time. I flew home for the weekend for the sole purpose of getting my full license, and instead, returned with nothing but mooncakes as a consolation prize. My parents tried to console me with various degrees of success.

"All four people ahead of you failed too," my dad reassured me.

That made me feel better.

"What's the big deal?" my mom asks me. "It's not like your livelihood depended on it. You'll just have to come back and do it again."

That made me feel worse.

It's not that I don't recognize my own disproportionate reaction to this event. But failing this test hurts so much because I feel like I wasted their money, time, and efforts. Like they misplaced their faith in me. And I hate that, completely hate it. Straight As, regular recommendations, complimentary meetings with professors, I've never really given my parents anything to lose sleep over. (Like all rebellious teens, for example, I wanted to move out. Except I worked extra hard in order to be accepted into a prestigious out-of-province program so they'd leave me alone and happily pay for tuition. Practically Keith Richards, I know.) Self-scrutiny is like a fungal outbreak: it bleeds through the walls I've erected and torments me even in miniscule amounts. I'm my absolute worst critic, perfectionism at its lowest. The pain of failure stays with me and overpowers rationale. And today, in the midst of a rather public humiliation, I cracked. KA-POW!

My parents' verdict? "You just have to grow a thicker skin."

My boyfriend's verdict? "Maybe it's because you're on your period."

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