I've alluded to it, lightheartedly, in my first real post. But I haven't talked about it.
My freshman year of university was the lowest point in my life. Left reeling for months after the abrupt end of a turbulent relationship, I lost my main emotional support and "core membership" in the group of friends who had anchored me for six years. I frequently felt left out, excluded, and forgotten: an afterthought, if I was thought of at all.
A growing uncertainty in everything I once believed in took its toll. Feelings of inadequacy and failure were the norm... I saw myself giving up on so much without trying, and I felt even worse.
My own depression was not the worst of it. At the same time, a close family member was suffering from delusional mental illness. My family life was fraught with fear and paranoia, and the colossal chaos of it all was overwhelming.
I am grateful for some things. I was never suicidal. I had two friends who I could always turn to. I somehow managed to make it through my classes.
And with time came healing. Unexpected people helped in unexpected ways. Counselling sessions were abandoned, first because I found a job and later because I didn't need them anymore.
Life was looking up.
Around this time, I started writing my Bucket List.
This List is rather eclectic. To date I have accomplished a whopping three and a half items. But sandwiched between "hold a Harry Potter movie marathon" and "make it through university debt-free" is this:
- Visit space and experience weightlessness
(long shot, maybe, but I’d love to.)
It's there because if I could do absolutely anything, I'd want to do it.
So what do you do when you're presented with a chance... even the TINIEST SMALLEST chance... to make your craziest dreams come true? DUH. YOU TAKE IT.
Last week I discovered that Metro News International is holding a contest. The winner will be one of the first-ever civilians to experience spaceflight.
I nearly went into shock. I've been thinking about this almost constantly ever since, but I haven't told anyone.
I am paralyzed by fear of failure.
The regional finalists are determined by votes. If I had an enormous horde of loyal followers, maybe I'd stand a chance. But I'm not Allie Brosh. I'm not Jenny Lawson. I'm Ellen. Just Ellen, a girl who would rather give up without trying if I think I might fail.
It's sadly laughable. If this were some random iPad contest: "OMG-like-us-on-Facebook-for-a-one-in-a-million-chance-to-win!!1!!11!!!" I'd have entered, no problem.
When you are:
a) facing a contest for something that would really matter to you, and
b) sick to your stomach with anxiety whenever you think about entering
...sometimes you can't help but ask: "What is wrong with me?"
I have nothing to lose but my fear.
I've lost count of all the things I've been too shy, too scared, or too unsure to do. The worst of it was last year, but it's an ongoing trend. I'll get SUPER-excited about something, have second thoughts, doubts, and then decide to forget it entirely. I've had my fair share of times where I've tried something crazy and failed dismally, which doesn't help.
I want to change this, this view I have of myself and the limitations I continually self-impose. Why not now?
But I can't let myself pull off a half-arsed attempt and say: "Ha! There. I entered and no one voted for me; big surprise. So much for that crap!"
And that is why I am sharing this EVERYWHERE, starting now. Here on my blog, Facebook, twitter, and with all the friends and family I can reach. It will mean the world to me if you click here and vote for my submission.
UPDATED: You can actually vote TEN TIMES every day; please do! If you spread the word and tell other people to vote, that would be Even-MORE-Amazing.
(If you believe in me that much, well... I wish I could send you flowers!!! I'll think of something.)
The simplest things in the world are often the hardest to do.
Today's post is the toughest thing I have ever written. This sounds dumb, but it's true.
Will I publish it? There's still time. No one knows about this. I can forget it and move on with my practical life. That's what's comfortable, natural and perfectly reasonable... but empty.
Because sometimes it doesn't matter if your chances of success are one in seven hundred...
...or one in seven BILLION.
As cliché as is sounds, sometimes trying is the scariest part.