Disappointment is a strange creature.
For some reason, I always think that I’ll get used to it so that when I end up encountering it again, I won’t feel like my chest is about to cave in or my eyes are about to blur with tears or my head is about to explode with the effort of not crying and appearing fine with it all.
Here’s the thing though; you never get used to it and if you do, then something is glaringly wrong. My disappointments in life have been fairly tame. Limited to shiftless boys who trot out idle promises and promptly break them, gifts I didn’t want, hairstyles that turned me into an 80s parody, exam results just shy of what they should have been. Things like that. Naturally, I was devastated when each of these things happened and when they happened again, it was still the end of the world. You couldn’t tell me any different.
This week, I experienced the type of soul-crushing disappointment that actually takes your breath away. I didn’t and still don’t know exactly what to do with myself. When you’ve prepared yourself for something and planned a future (or at least a short to mid term one) around it; when you’ve prayed until your throat is dry and you’ve allowed yourself that comforting luxury of thinking “when this happens…”; when your entire family and a fleet of your friends have been rooting for you and you’re more than sure that this, THIS, is it, the exact thing you’ve been waiting for, the exact thing that your life needs and suddenly you’re back to square freakin’ one, it becomes just a bit more difficult to…well to function. To do anything at all.
I didn’t write about it here before because I was terrified of jinxing it but there was this job. Not just any job. THE job. That job that makes you salivate when you see it listed. The one where you don’t even mind dedicating a cool six hours of your life to the gruelling and tedious application form because you know the job and you know you’re perfect for it and you actually know you’re going to get it because you worked there before temporarily and had a taste of that sweet, elusive nectar that is job and career satisfaction.
It was the job I had been waiting around for; working my way through three versions of relative hell until it showed up again. It was so right. So Right. Distance to my house? Minimal. Pay? Astronomically brilliant. Calibre of the work? Exactly what I wanted to do. People? Beyond fantastic. I was set and I basically spent the last month planning for when I would start there.
Then I didn’t get it and my world crumbled into tiny little pieces.
I can actually still hear my hope and my optimism and parts of my self esteem shattering against the ground.
I’ve been here before. There was another job once; one that I thought was the job but which turned out not to be (although I had worked there almost a year before that realisation came to punch me in the gut with knuckledusters). I feel like I should know what disappointment feels like enough not to let it paralyse me.
But here I am, wondering exactly what it is I’m going to do next.
I think I’ve been through most of the motions: disbelief, searing anger, frustration, tears, denial etc and I’ve been encouraged by my parents and by Mister who always seem to know the right thing to say and manage to cheer me up for a while until I’m alone and I retreat into my own head and take up self-flagellation again. I still have goals that I want to reach but, I don’t know, they seem just that little bit more unobtainable now. Everything else just seems like I would be settling.
I’m in a battle with myself where one side is guffawing and telling me to sit down and learn my place and quit with the aspirations and the other side is telling me dust my shoulders off and keep moving.
I have to do the latter.
I just don’t know how.
Sidebar: Happy Thanksgiving to all my American buddies. I do hope your day is blessed.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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