Measuring up

“You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting” ….

Ouch!   That is one of my favourite scenes from the movie “A Knight’s Tale” spoken by the evil Adhemar.     It is a horrible feeling to know that you don’t measure up; that others find you inadequate.  We struggle our whole lives to avoid this feeling.  When we feel inferior we tend to keep our heads down and try to blend into the background.  We don’t live life to its fullest. We steer clear of challenges.

One of my earliest memories is of not measuring up.  It happened when I was in grade two.  It was the last hour of class before summer holidays.  The practice in my school was to use this time to meet your new fall teacher.  My current teacher (her name long forgotten) stood at the front of the class and read off names. Two lines were formed, each assigned to different grade three teachers.  There was lots of squeals and chatter. Eventually everyone was organized and filed out.  Everyone but me. I was left behind having failed grade two. I sat at my desk, smiled bravely and waved goodby to my friends.  A few quiet minutes later the future grade two students pushed into the room.  They were babies coming from grade one, my new class mates.

I’m not complaining.  Failing me was the correct decision.  I was too immature to move on. My issue is with the school’s lack of sensitivity.  Being singled out like that was brutal to my self-confidence and left a deep scar.  Ever since that day I have been trying to prove my worthiness. I have spent my life seeking reassurance.  I’m no dummy. I catch on.  I can be of value.

The flip side of my earliest memory is my proudest moment. It came on graduation day when my parents witnessed me crossing the stage and being handed my university diploma.     This achievement was a public testament to my ability.  It was affirmation that I could do it.

I have been blessed.  I have always been surrounded by supportive and encouraging influences.  My parents and later my employer have both generously handed out praise and created a safe environment for me to develop, accept change and take risks. Because of their positive influence my personal life and career has been very satisfying.  There has been steady achievements,  personal growth, and recognition. I have always loved my life, and felt appreciated.   Time and time again I proved to myself that I was worthy.

The game has now changed. I have retired after 27 years.  I have left behind my old identity and earned reputation. I’ve  stepped away from a full and fruitful life. ….hoping to create something even better.

My new world is still being formed but I understand my needs and what it takes to make me tick. In retirement I will still need personal growth and challenges.  It will not be enough to sit in my garden and watch the world go by.  To be successful at retirement  I must continue to learn new things and challenge myself. I have bravely waded into  unknown water seeking new adventures.

Creating this blog was a big step for me. All on my own I learned new software.  I took a short course on photography to improve my visuals.  I struggle to improve my writing skills and be true to myself.  In return for my efforts I have discovered my voice.    Expressing my inner thoughts and publically posting them out there is scary but exhilarating.  I love the adrenaline rush and have quickly become addicted to the feedback  readers give me.

In October I started volunteering at the local theatre’s box office.  What a steep learning curve.  I’m back in grade two again. I’m slow to learn, making mistakes, and often confused by procedure.   I’ve never managed cash or worked point of sale.  All of it is new for me.  I feel under pressure while patrons wait patiently for me to complete a simple transaction.  Again with the adrenaline.  This type in a bad way. Some afternoons I come home and just crash. I’m exhausted. I’m hoping in just a few more shifts this will all become routine.

Regent Theatre Box Office where I work as a volunteer

Regent Theatre Box Office where I work as a volunteer

My last example of accepting a new challenge happened just last week.  I responded to a Kijii advertisement.   An author was  looking for someone to illustrate a book.  I responded and provided examples of my portfolio.  Again, I have never done any thing like this before.  I was putting my artist abilities out there to be judged.  I had feelings of self-doubt.   High fives all around when the author replied that he loved my work.  I’m going to be his illustrator and be published.    How cool is that? Another risk that has paid off.

Everyone has failure in their lives and at times feel inadequate.  Maybe it is a divorce that haunts them, a past employer who laid them off.  Everyone has been rejected at one time or other.  The secret is to keep trying.   Don’t give up.  Don’t hold back.  The rewards of eventual success are sweet indeed.

About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
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14 Responses to Measuring up

  1. Sandi Nicholls says:

    The range of emotions I felt reading your post were amazing. This is by far, your best blog to date. I am honored to read your work :).

    Kudos on the ‘soon to be published work’


  2. cathie king says:

    Congratulations – way to go!!!

  3. Susan Petite says:

    Diane, I agree with the earlier comment. This was a wonderful post – so
    honest and inspiring! You are amazing!!

  4. excellent post – I failed once in school too, and I too went on to graduate from university — I agree with you philosophy to never give up

  5. Janet Levis says:

    I too am worried about not measuring up, or failure. Luckily I have a very supportive husband. He “pushes” me into doing things I would never normally do myself. Because of him I joined a soccer team for women over 30, and I have my own woodworking business. I don’t think I would have been brave enough do do what you did and submit my art for consideration as an illustrator (Congratulations).

  6. Donna says:

    Diane – I ditto Sandi’s comments. I look forward to all your blog entries. And a BiIG Congratulations on your new endeavour as an illustrator. I love it.

  7. Pingback: We are one year old | westlakemusings

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