Like many, I have spent most of my life mired in grueling academia, buried under high volumes of coursework and even higher expectations. As in fashion where you are only as good as your last collection, students are graded on their successes. You’re only as smart as your last exam score. It’s easy for identity to be intertwined with accomplishment. You can lose yourself to standardization. I did. And as that fog is lifting, I’m still having difficulty separating what I do from who I am.
Repetition is both the key and the lock. What you do consistently can continue to open doors of opportunity or just fasten a ceiling to your capabilities. Subjecting myself to external pressures obscured what was and is intrinsic to me. My quirks, idiosyncrasies, and intimate aspirations were all hidden by an image I sought to secure. My personality was misplaced. The true ‘Thierry’ would make occasional cameos, but would almost immediately be repackaged, boxed in by what I thought people wanted to see, hear, and know. Repetition.
This behavior defined me: the longing for acceptance and avoidance of exposure. But like puzzle pieces, the duplicates get discarded. What fits best is unique, valuable, and integral to the complete picture. I’m humbled by the opportunity I have now to rediscover myself, under the right circumstances.
I’m taking my time.
And that’s “good enough” for me.