And someone might ask you one day, “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?” And when you don’t have an answer for them, you think, maybe it’s because I’ve never done something so difficult, so taxing, so incredibly grueling and painful that to live through it is a memorable marathon of an experience, a melding of personal resilience and any sign of success. Or maybe you have, and you’ve blocked it from your memory.
I’ve lived through so many hardships. So many. But were they the hardest things I’ve ever done? When I was “completed” with those hardships – bullying, particular types of abuse in forms I care not to mention, losing people never to be regained again, wondering if or how I would be hired, be fired.. I never learned much. I learned about myself as a pusher, as someone who refuses to give up or give in and just keep going. I learned about memory – its power, its prowess, its ability to linger and stalk your every thought and whim. But did I succeed after these experiences? No. I don’t think so. I think success following something agonizing, is a marker of “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
I just did that. I just did that and maybe I was successful and maybe I wasn’t. And maybe I still have so much to learn. But, I made it through. I made it through scrutiny, disrespect, being overworked and under-slept and so exhausted my brain hurt. I made it through being told, “You can’t” and standing at the front of the room feeling as though I had no concept of what was going on or how to fix it. I have made it through irresponsibility and trying to be the role of a parent, a pusher, a mentor, a villain and a democratic ruler. I have made it through a lot. And overall, was I successful? Sometimes I felt it. Sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I questioned my abilities. Sometimes I didn’t. But did I make it through? Without tears, without quitting, without checking out, without whining?