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I’m so tired of worrying and feeling like I’m never going to be quite the person I want to be.

Ever since I was younger, I felt like I had my idea of what I wanted to do and be. When I was in high school, I was editor of the yearbook and frequently contributed small editorials to our little newspaper. My teachers praised me as a good writer and a “very intelligent girl.” I did well in school. Graduated with top honors. Scholarships.

When I went to college and attended some of my first honors classes, I was in for a rude awakening. My first honors English Comp paper came back to me with a letter I’d not been familiar with. After talking with my teacher and some serious relearning, I got better. My papers got better. I was praised once again by teachers I revered and respected.

About halfway into my college career, I worked up the nerve to go down to the school newspaper office and say, “I want to write.” I got my first assignment, something simple. I went on to write several more things for the paper. I wrote many stories for reporting and writing classes. One of my in-depth assignments won me an award. My teachers again showered with me with wonderful words and encouraged me to pursue what I thought I wanted—to be a writer. In my mind, I became convinced that my skill was with the editing aspect of things, though I still wanted to consider myself a writer. My senior year I served as copy editor for the paper. I enjoyed editing stories for content and grammar, making my marks and cleaning things up. Classmates would ask me to look over their papers, and I did so gleefully. I enjoyed writing, but there were so many times that I would just freeze and I felt like the right words would never come. I felt more comfortable in hacking apart what someone else had put together.

My dream internship was always to work at Southern Living. I wanted to work with the copy editors, learn more about the business, and really hone my skills. However, I soon became very conflicted as to whether or not this was what I wanted. Even worse, when I became mixed in with all the other interns from around the country, I couldn’t help but feel cheated. All the others (mostly girls) had already completed several internships. They came from bigger schools that had a better focus on journalism and other specialized areas, which didn’t hold up well next my communication degree with a focus in print journalism. Even worse, I felt jealousy pangs for something else that all the other girls had that I didn’t—drive. Determination. Go-getter-ness. Nearing the end of my internship, the others had all had writing assignments, interviews, job opportunities. I had nothing. I had no confidence, no skills, and no interviews.

Fast-forward to now. I got a job, but not exactly doing what I wanted. I feel lost. I feel like the world is moving so fast around me and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t feel like an inspired writer, I don’t think I’m good enough to really do anything, and I just sit in my little pit of despair, wishing I was any of my other friends who have all the abilities I only thought I once had. I’ve had one or two other writing assignments outside of work, but it seems that no matter what I do, it’s never as good as all my other friends who are out there living the dream I always had. I feel like I’ll never be good enough to go places. I don’t have the experience I should have already gotten by now. I’m too scared to go after anything. I wait forever to do assignments because I psych myself out and think I just can’t do it. My biggest fear: I’ll never be the person I always wanted to be. I think too much, too far in the future, and I give myself a headache stressing about things that haven’t even happened yet. I wallow in a cloud of “what-if” and I can’t seem to make any sense out of anything I do. I don’t know enough. I don’t comprehend well. I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. I can’t get these contractions out of my vocabulary. My mind is moving too fast. My head feels full. I just want to live one day without feeling the weight of my own world on my shoulders. I’m tired. I want to be inspired. I want to be talented. I want to be motivated. I want experience. I want, I want, I want. Nothing I ever do is good enough. The worst feeling in the world is to be so proud of something you’ve done only to realize you were all wrong all along.

I wish I had the experiences my friends have had. Work experience, life experience. I wish I had their talents. I wish I had their skills. I wish I had their opportunities. I wish I were a better writer. I wish I was the Summer I always wanted to grow up to be, the Summer my parents always thought I would be, the Summer that all my old friends think that I’m busy becoming. I want to move. I want to get out. I wish I had the prestige and the importance that goes along with the phrase, “I work in publishing.” I don’t read enough of the right books. I don’t know the right authors. I don’t quote the right people. I don’t know enough about history or politics. I don’t know how to state my opinions. I don’t quote the right song lyrics. I don’t listen to the right music. I don’t know enough about current affairs. I don’t even know if I could tell you where India is on a map.

I feel like I’m stuck in a place of always saying I’m going to do this or that and saying it and thinking it so much that I feel like I’ve actually done it, which provides me with the only sense of accomplishment I have. I need motivation. I want to want to do things. I hate always wanting to go to sleep, because that’s the only time I don’t feel like I have to worry about my next move, my next step, my next day of continuing to remain in the same place.

I feel lost.

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8 responses »

  1. You know, you’re a brilliant writer. You and Andy are the two best writers I’ve ever known personally.

    I have a blog, and I’ve tried to post regularly. About three months ago, I kind of petered out and haven’t had enough inspiration or motivation to keep writing. I’m getting discouraged.

    I wish I wrote as well as you do. Seriously.

    There’s a book series I’ve read a hundred times, called “The Wheel of Time” series. In the series, there are three boys: Rand, Mat and Perrin. Throughout the series, each boy gets into many situations with girls, and every single time, one of them thinks they’re total retards. Rand would think, “I wish I wasn’t so helpless around girls. Mat and Perrin would know what to do” and Perrin thinks “This girl is so confusing! I wish Rand were here, he’s always been good with the girls.”

    Point is, you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. It’s apples and oranges. These other interns at Southern Living have been playing this game longer than you. That’s okay! You’re just at a different point in the process.

    You just keep on keeping on, and someday, you’ll have enough experience and know-how to get the dream job that you’ve always wanted.

    I believe in you. 🙂

    -brian

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much…and please don’t think I’m just fishing for compliments, I’ve just been in such a confusing place for the past…while, and it’s hard to get out of sometimes. And it’s so much easier to just sink deeper and deeper…what you say means a lot, and I enjoy your blog as well.

    Reply
  3. I think you are a wonderful writer. Maybe you just haven’t found your real passion. I think that, when things click for you, you’ll develop the confidence to say I CAN do this. Maybe you need to find another publishing-type job. Or just do research into the kinds of jobs that are available in journalism, period.

    Also, I do not think that writing is about “knowing the right authors” or “quoting the right song lyrics.” There is no right. Even the most respected authors have thousands of people who hate them… so what’s “right” is what works for you, what you like, and to which you can relate. If you love Dave Matthews (obv) and can place his lyrics in a constructive, “this is how I feel and I am using an example of how someone else has felt this before” – THAT’S the thing. Make it relevant. Make it speak to others the way it has spoken to you.

    Also, I think you need to have more confidence in yourself and your abilities. Or at least fake it til you really have it. 😉 I know it’s hard…but I also know that you ARE good enough, smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people LIKE you.

    Reply
  4. The comment of not feeling like I know the right this or that was kinda lost in the whole thing…that’s just another part of me just feeling inadequate in a lot of other aspects. But I do appreciate your kind comments. I’m just swimming in my little pool of pity. I’ll get out of it, I’m sure.

    Reply
  5. It’s kind of late commenting on this post, but I just stumbled across your blog.

    Have you ever considered that it is a hereditary condition? I am still a horrible procrastinator and I have always had a desire to sleep as much as possible. I used to say it was because I was a growing boy, but Deandra tells me I’m just lazy.

    Don’t doubt yourself; I just turned 35 and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Fortunately, I found something I’m good at that will pay the bills until I do figure it out.

    –Jeremy

    Reply
  6. Have you been keeping up with the situation over here? Be thankful that you’re employed, girl!

    Reply
  7. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have a job. My problem is just with myself and not feeling like I’ve lived up to my own potential or that I never really had it to begin with.

    Reply
  8. Okay, you know how I feel about your writing. I would read your stuff all the time if you kept your blog updated! (haha) Seriously though, I remember when we were back in Chandler’s feature writing class and we would go over each others stories and I would just sit there thinking to myself, “Man, I wish I had the way with words that Summer does.” (I still have a copy of your “High Heel Hell” and break it out every once in awhile for inspiration.)Or, even when you would write for the paper . . . “View from a Who” – awesome, “Aesthetically Speaking” on Nathan Smith – phenomenal. The list goes on and on. Please, please, don’t ever doubt your talent.
    I do totally understand where you are coming from with the lack of internships concern. I had the same issue with mine. But here the thing, you have to follow YOUR path. Not one that a number of people have walked before you. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else because everyone has different experiences and different expectations from their lives. I struggle sometimes to remember that myself and I try not to think about “oh, well if I had stayed in New York I could be doing this . . .” The truth is – who knows what I would be doing there. At this point, honestly, I would probably be homeless on the street if I had gone back to New York, even though I wanted to make it work so badly.
    I am actually working on a blog (ha ha well I have been for the last week) that talks about how we are never happy with what we have and are always wanting more in life. I think the biggest thing that a lot of us need to try to remember is that we miss a lot of the great things currently in our lives because we are so busy worrying about the future.
    Okay, anyway, I have jabbered on long enough. I just wanted to get the point across that I think A LOT of people feel lost right now so don’t feel bad about it. Hey, and maybe in reevaluating what you really want, you will find your ultimate happiness.
    (I can name one VERY good thing that has happened to you in the last year. Well, ten months to be exact! ;-D )

    Reply

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