I believe it’s true when people say the worst enemy in life is yourself.
My whole life I’ve been doubted. Although people like bullies teased and doubted me, that didn’t affect me so much. Those are just people. They don’t know you. But once this doubt came from my family, my self-doubt was born and grew bigger as the years went on.
I’d say my self-doubt came in to really kick my ass when it was college applications season. I’ll admit, I slacked off the first few years in high school, and that was my fault. Although it seemed too late to catch up, I still felt like I had a really good chance of getting in a lot of schools. I remember asking my mother to help pay for my UC applications and she saw the list of schools I was applying to, and she said “I doubt you’ll get in.” It didn’t set in until all the rejection letters came in. Rejection after rejection, I started to wonder if my mom was really right. I wonder if the people that laughed at my aspirations were right. Maybe I’m not good enough for anyone or for anything. I was starting to think about what the plan was gonna be when I got the rest of my rejection letters. Then the most important email in my life came.
That moment made me the happiest I ever felt in my whole life. This was the dream I wanted to live in. Ever since I was set on this school, I started to pick myself up and making up for the slack I displayed before. Seeing all this hard work pay off felt amazing. None of the other rejection letters mattered, this was what I wanted all along. When I showed my mother she didn’t seem too happy. I knew she didn’t expect me to get accepted, but it also foreshadowed that something bad was bound to happen.
A few weeks later, my family told me that since NYU was too expensive, I wouldn’t be allowed to go. I mean, I had a feeling this was coming, but I didn’t think it would hit me this hard. It just didn’t make sense why my sisters weren’t forced to go to community college, but I had to (not that community college is bad). We’re even making more money than we were years ago. I soon came to the conclusion that my mom just didn’t think I was worth the investment. Maybe it’s because I’m not as smart as my older sisters. Maybe it was because I’m not so much of a kiss-up (something I don’t regret). So even when I tried so hard to prove to everyone that I was great, even my own mother still didn’t believe in me.
I was in a really bad place after that. It sucked having to tell people that I was going, and then later telling them I wasn’t going anymore. I think some people probably thought I was lying in the first place. It was hard having to keep a positive face on while seeing all those people say where they were going for college and how excited they were to be going to their dream schools. I ripped up all the mail NYU kept sending me (except the VR headset, that was cool), trying to forget the moment I had to pass up on this opportunity. I was questioning why all these bad things always had to happen to me. I felt like whenever something good came in my life, it would always go away right after. I knew I didn’t deserve what was being thrown at me right now. My self-doubt was there to remind me that nothing good was probably ever going to come my way. Maybe what those people said about me was really true, and I guess they were right about me all along. I guess I wasn’t good enough to deserve the good things that came to me, so that’s why I was getting all these bombs dropped on me.
I think my turning point came when I was talking to my friend Jaria. She was talking about whether or not she wanted to apply for colleges. She was also talking about her family not wanting her to apply and she was doubting herself on getting accepted. I pretty much begged her to apply, because in all honesty, I really do think she has a chance to get accepted, even if most people didn’t think so. I couldn’t help it, she really reminded me of myself. Sometimes in life, you’re gonna need a lift from someone else when you’re not strong enough to lift yourself up, and I want to be the person to believe in everybody else so one day they don’t end up like me and having to battle their own self-doubt. This is one of the main reasons why I love helping others. So when people want to tell me they want to get into Harvard and Stanford or they want to be a pro athlete and all that, I’m rooting for them all the way.
The most important and hardest mindset to have is knowing you’re capable of doing anything you pursue, even if you don’t agree with it. Everyone deserves to feel that they can achieve anything, even what seems like the impossible. And that’s why I’m appreciative for the people who have had my back. Y’all know who you are.
Honestly, I still have a really hard time believing in myself, but I’m slowly getting there. Right now, my dreams are still dreams, but I know that one day they’re all going to come true, even if it takes a lifetime. I just can’t wait to share them with the people who were there for me from the start.