Just last year, I experienced a totally disappointing experience I never thought I'd live to tell. For months I have prepared and psyched myself up for this endeavour because that was, for me, when I would finally be living my life independently. I went through the rigours of the application process, spent money and a lot of effort in my application and was able to make it through three quarters of the whole process. I almost had it. My dreams were at my fingertips yet just when everything was right in front of me, things went awry. The life I was dreaming and the plans I have made for myself were denied from me ever so bluntly.
During that time, I felt like everything was a mess, everything I have worked for, everything I've persevered for, all that I have longed for was taken away from me at a snap of a finger. It felt like the rug was unexpectedly swept beneath me. I didn't know what to do. At that point, my train of thought was just how will I be able to go back up? I felt so ashamed of my failure, disappointed at myself, and most of all I could not bear the thought of going back home and answering all the questions why I came back empty-handed.
I had gone through a myriad of emotions. I had to battle the feeling of self loathing. I was so angry at myself for failing. I blamed myself for my failure. Yes, I can be so hard on myself sometimes and during that moment, I was unforgiving. I cried as though someone very dear to me had died. I grieved for losing the opportunity that would have brought me closer to my ambition. For weeks I avoided contacting friends for I felt they don't really sympathize with me, they just wanted to hear about my demise so that they would have something to talk about amongst themselves. Isolation, at that time, seemed to be my only refuge.
But thankfully, it didn't last long. I couldn't bear shunning other people from my life. Slowly, I reached out to the people and friends closest to me. Lucky for me, they were genuine and sincere. They allowed me to go through my ordeal in my own terms, at my own pace. They knew eventually I would go out of hiding once I was ready.
Acceptance is the hardest thing to do for it means that you have to be ready to forgive yourself for not being able to achieve what you yearn for. To me, that was such a struggle. But then again, what could I do? If I kept hating myself for failing, then nothing good is going to happen to me. I would still be stuck in that depressing, pathetic state while life continues to go on, with or without me. It will not pause until I finally "feel better" about myself.
Looking back, I wouldn't call the whole ordeal a complete disaster. Yes, I had failed yet I gained a lot of things during the whole process. During that time, I learned to console and pick myself up after facing a terrible loss. The whole thing was not a complete loss either because at the moment, it strengthened my resolve to try again. I may have lost money, time and effort, but I gained self-awareness and have met some wonderful people. And I shall come back, and this time, more well-equipped, better prepared and stronger and wiser than before. This time I am in it for the win.
Going through life changing experiences that drag you to rock bottom can either make you a stronger person who bears the scars of the struggle or become a forever-wounded person who's too afraid to try again. Some people survive the bitterness of defeat, dust themselves off and pick up and regroup whatever's left of them. Others wallow into the bottomless pit of grief, self-pity and defeat. Whichever path between the forked road one takes, it all boils down to one thing: it's either sink or swim; give up or keep fighting. I choose to keep fighting. I may have lost this round, but I haven't thrown in the white towel just yet.