School. It's the only thing I've ever been really good at. Studying for tests, completing homework, and making study cards....Yes, I could do that. My grades weren't always as good as they should have been though. I tend to procrastinate and not get anything done until the last minute.
My favorite class in high school was chemistry. No doubt. I loved chemistry.
At the end of the first semester the year that I took chemistry, I was painfully proud of myself for having a semester average of 99 in my favorite class. You know what they say about pride.
My father flipped through the sheets of my report card that evening and took a long time to look at the one for chemistry. I'll never forget it. He looked at the grade, looked at me over the top of his reading glasses, and looked back at the report card. Then he asked me. "What happened to the other point?"
Now, if you knew my dad before he passed, you would know that he probably meant this to be funny. He was quite the jokester. To me though, at 15 years old, it was not funny; it was right painful that he pointed out that I had fallen short.
This was a defining moment in my life. I've been trying to earn the other point ever since that moment.
I work hard. I give it my all. All the time. All in an effort to metaphorically earn the other point.
At some point in the last few years though, I began to realize that earning the phantom point wouldn't make me happy. I was trying to please someone else. I have been punishing myself for decades for falling short of the expectations that others had for me. What about my expectations for myself? What about doing what I want to do with my life? What about making myself happy? These were things that I had ignored all in an effort to live up to the potential that someone else thought they saw in me.
I am chronically ten minutes late. I am 20 pounds overweight. I rarely have a clean house. My car looks like "scary homeless guy" lives in it. I think there is a hole in my shirt I am wearing at this moment. I sometimes yell at persistent telemarketers when they won't take a polite "no" for an answer. I work a part time job that pays a third of what my husband makes. My children are wild and bounce off the walls. I let them stay up late at night. I've been known to drink far too much wine and be ridiculously hungover. BUT. I am happy. I am learning to give up on a point that doesn't really matter. I am learning to focus on the utter perfection of my life. Because, It IS mine. It IS what I want. And if you don't like it, don't say anything to me about it. I'll probably give you the finger.