*I know the post is long. But I promise that it is totally worth reading.*
I went to one of the biggest, most prestigious colleges in the country to graduate from. The admission in this college can be secured only and only through a competitive exam. Because my parents had money and also because they had brought me up keeping enough focus on studies I qualified the exam in second attempt. Somehow I have never been able to call my selection my own achievement. I want to. But I can't. I can't bring myself to accept my selection in that exam as my own, as mine. As one would suspect I had higher, much higher expectations from myself. Something got fragmented there. A part of my self lost, forever.
I tried to redeem that lost part while I was at the college. In the due course of my life, I have abandoned so many I parts of myself here and there that I never feel like a whole. If one performed exceptionally well, at college exams, like cumulative grade 9 and above on a scale of 10, one could get a chance to study in the engineering branches that top ranked candidates get to study. I expected myself, forced myself, tortured myself to get there and I managed 6.11 at the end of first semester. My grades at college never went past 7 in any semester. I never scored an A (10/10).
Now while I was a below average performer, I never considered myself one. I always told myself that something has gone wrong with me and that something has to be undone. I came across the Enneagram much later to realize it was only a part of rejection of oneself. Now the dilemma is, after reading the Enneagram I realize that my self-rejection was wrong. But that self-rejection because of happening over and over again also became a part of me. So completely ignoring myself I rejected myself for two and a half years. Much later I rejected my own rejection in attempt to accept my old self. Logically or linguistically one would comment - the need is to accept, and not reject the rejection. But I don't know what that means to me for real, what that means practically for me. I have no ****ing idea.
Then on, things have always been attempts to undo my past, more attempts to undo the mistakes of my past and the harder I tried the more messed up I got. And these ways were very deceptive in that the inspiration for them came from humanitarian causes, causes that I felt should have been addressed while I was studying. Nobody ever told me that it was okay, that I was okay with whatever I was performing. To this day I crave that word to be associated with me - Ok. :-) Once a colleague at an office said that to me, while I talked to her and cried. I wanted to hug her, wanted to thank her, wanted to tell what that means to me. She said it in a way as if she deeply meant it.
But why am I telling you all this? My life is in a better shape. A year and a half ago I decided I will study English Literature, systematically and now I am doing that. With no strings attached from the past. For a while my writing was chained to undoing the past but that too is gone now. I have a very specific reason to tell my story here.
A young boy in his final year of college. Completely detached from all his classmates. He fears they will make fun of him the way they did all his college life. Also that he finds them boring and mundane in that none of them is trying to look into the bigger questions of life, something that he had got deeply interested into. Nobody, he connects with not even a single person. Not just that, even the college feels alien to him because none of his experiences were ever completely the way he wanted them to be. He knows, is acutely aware of the place, that college where he is but he doesn't know why he is there, what he is there for. What is his purpose there? Education definitely is not it because he did not get education there. One thing he is there for - one responsibility is solely his, even if he doesn't want it - the engineering major project. He has worked very reluctantly on it, being depressed and all and his work does not merit being given a pass grade even if it is a minor project. He knows it, in his bones and blood. Sometimes he prepares to go to the head of the department to accept a fail grade and getting determined to work on the project in the extended semester. At other times he is going frantic, what to do, how to hide the fact that he has not worked at all. There are many different variations to this dream with many different details and when I wake up I feel the determination in me to do something, to stand up and to work on that project all over again and get a deserved pass grade. As it happened just now, after waking up I even forget what I felt determined about. Only the feeling is there. As much as I love the feeling, it is based on a past, a past to be undone. I think something has gone too deep into me out of the actual experience that happened with me at my B.Tech major project.
I had not worked much, had almost not worked at all apart from making 3-4 very basic computer programs. But the rest of the class, 50% of the rest of the class had done fraud things in their project. That was particularly appalling for me. That stopped me from going to the head of the department and asking for a failed grade. At some level I knew that the project would not mean anything practically for me (That is how it goes in engineering colleges in my country). I was not aware how much it would mean emotionally to me. So much that I would keep having the same dream for 5 years (and more to come) after passing out from college. I have a funny feeling that this dream will last all my life.
While I did not like begging for a pass grade, a part of me was proud that I was convincing in this miserable way. I grew better and better at showing myself as a victim of circumstances for various reasons and hide the effects of depression on me. I tried to talk to many people about what or how they find life meaningful and nobody ever had an answer. This search, beyond my college has taken me to many places. Now that I have written a shameful aspect of my story I feel like glorifying myself so as to present a favourable image. :-D But I will not do that. I don't think any kind of therapy or talking can help me. I already meditate so please do not irritate me with that suggestion.
Coming back to my experience of my project, towards the end of it my project guide said to me that a sweeper on the street is better than me. While I knew that she meant it as an insult to me, I felt why is a sweeper supposed to be better or worse than me or anybody. I wish I could have said that to her then and there, but then I was too low energy out of my depression back then and even the thought of saying what I felt did not cross my mind then. A few days later as I begged another professor to help me not getting my degree extended by not pressing for attendance (initially he had mentioned that attendance won't be compulsory in the course) requirement he said that I should be thankful that I am even getting a degree. While taking these offences to my self-respect, self-esteem I did not know that they will haunt me for so long!
I feel this is related to my incapacity to work hard on my current endeavour. And I want to work hard. I do. But I can't. Before writing this thread I did not even know that this has something to do with hard work. But now I know. But I don't know how. Can somebody help me? Can you see a pattern, an insight that is evading my perception given the intensity of experience?