I normally don’t go on Facebook unless I want to share a blog post or check a particularly persistent notification. Yet, yesterday, after posting a link to my latest blog post, I found myself wandering along those cobwebby e-paths. One of my old classmates had posted something in our alumni group, so I hobbled over there to take a look. It was a link, to the last edition of our school magazine that was published before we graduated. The person who posted it was the editor then.
Seeing that link was two parts annoying and one part amusing. I was amused because, prior to that post, I hadn’t thought about that magazine in nearly three years. The real meat of the funny was that this magazine that I hadn’t thought about in three years, was the reason why almost four years ago, I had cried all my tears, starved myself, doubted myself. A silly little magazine.
You’re probably confused right now. What am I going on about? I’ll tell you.
When I was in SS2, I applied to join the editorial team for the school magazine. I was more than confident that I would be accepted. I mean, I had written one or two articles for the magazine before that, and the editor knew me. Knew that I could write. I mean, basically everybody knew that I could write. My teachers knew, my classmates knew, for Heaven’s sake, there was a fucking queue to read my jotter. I KNEW I was going to get in.
What everyone didn’t know was that I NEEDED to get in. The truth was that I had spent five years at that school, and I had achieved nothing. I hated clubs so I never joined one, I sucked at sports, I was a solidly average student (except for when I was spectacularly failing Math and the sciences). The only thing I was a part of was teaching Catechism, and let’s face it, who was going to remember me for that? I figured that if I joined the magazine, I could use the one talent I knew I had to at least make a name for myself.
I remember the day the new members were announced. It was a Sunday, and we were having breakfast before Studyhall. Breakfast was cornflakes, bread and egg. (sidebar: It’s ridiculous the little things that I remember). I remember holding my breath as the names were announced, a spoonful of soggy cornflakes and milk halfway to my mouth. I remember my eyes watering as the list went on and my name still hadn’t been called, I remember the hopeful smiles of my friends. Finally, the bored announcer called the last name- not mine, and then we said grace and went to our classes.
I don’t remember how I got to my class. Here the memory softly fades out, and when it comes back into focus, I am sitting at my desk in my class, crying hard. Tears, snot, the whole shebang. I’m appalled now at how I could have shown that much emotion in public. I ate nothing that day. Listened to nothing at Mass. Not even my favorite teacher could cheer me up.
After the magazine rejected me, I didn’t write a thing for nearly two years. I thought, if I’m not good enough for a silly magazine, what will I ever be good for?
Eventually I forgot about that whole experience, and I started writing again. I didn’t think about it, so I assumed that I had moved past it, risen above it. And then I saw that link yesterday.
I tried to click on it, I really did. But the thought of seeing those articles and stories that I could have been a part of, but wasn’t; it was too much to bear. All the old feelings, sans the tears, came back to the surface. I hadn’t gotten over it. It had merely been buried under a pile of new experiences and memories. This is where the annoyance comes in. I was annoyed because I had, for two years, been sure that I was rid of this old hurt, just for it to bubble back up. I was annoyed that I still hadn’t let go, I still hadn’t forgiven.
And that is my reason for this post. The fact is that, bad things happen. They will happen whether you deserve them or not. You can move past them and let them make you stronger, or you can be like me, and let it take away your joy, burn a black hole in your soul and make you doubt yourself.
I believe that things happen for a reason. I don’t know the reason why the magazine didn’t accept me, but I believe that it must have been a good one. Their not accepting me made me more determined to prove myself, albeit two years later.
And that’s the way it should be. Accept your old hurts. Work hard at dealing with them. Purge yourself. Let it strengthen you. And then get it the hell out of your system.
Thank you for reading.