Thank you all for your kind words on facebook/here about Miss A and the spectre of perfection. She gets her spelling test back today; we'll see how she did and how she handles the results. She had a great experience this weekend participating in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workshop for girls so I'm hopeful that her confidence in her abilities is strong.
On my last post MTL left a great comment/suggestion:
"Maybe you can dig up some old stuff of your own that was less than
perfect and let her see it..she'll see how well you turned out in spite
of it. Of course, assuming you ever did bad on anything :)"
I loved it because: hahahahahha, which of my failures to choose?
I have a few very clear memories of failure from my pre-adult life.
remember when I was five I entered a footrace at the local park on the
Fourth of July. I knew I would win because I was SO FAST. Turns out I
was actually a sweaty chubby kid who reached the finish line last,
gasping for breath with her ponytail askew.
when I was eight performing in the school talent show with my friends
Claudia, Tara and Stacey. We carefully choreographed a routine to "Girls
Just Wanna Have Fun" that crescendoed with my three friends doing
cartwheels one by one while I followed with a somersault. I couldn't do a
cartwheel and it didn't matter until I heard the audience laughing as I
tucked my triumphant face into my belly and rolled...rolled...rolled.
remember being in the "smart kid" classes my whole life until seventh
grade when I was tracked into an "average kid" math class. From that
path forward my math and science classes never lined up with the rest of
my smart-kid friends' classes.
I remember failing my driver's test.
I remember failing the open-water swim test at summer camp.
remember the sting of not winning the academic award for foreign
language study in high school, an award I was positive was MINE until I
sat in the audience and saw several of my friends lined up onstage at an
assembly. They marched on to spot-lighted success while I sat on a moldy chair in the dark.
And of course the biggest failure of all.
I remember getting into a very prestigious women's college. I
remember the pressure to go to the best school I could get into. I
remember showing up and discovering that I was no longer automatically a
"smart kid" because EVERYBODY was a smart kid. I remember how it felt
to not be the smartest, or the prettiest, or the most damaged anymore. I
remember how binge drinking and flirting with boys became the only
currency I carried to prove my worth. I remember crouching in the window
frame of my dorm room smoking cigarette after cigarette with my
roommate (also a smart, good girl adrift).
I remember sleeping through class because it was easier than
getting out of bed and asking for help. I remember making stupid
choices. I remember being asked to take some time away to get my
academics back on track. I remember sobbing in my station wagon on break
from my summer job at the community pool, trying to figure out how I
would tell my fellow high-achieving lifeguard friends that I had bombed
out of college.
I remember running away and never going back.
So yes, many examples of failure to share with my little love. And so many examples of success amid the ruins to share as well.