Friday, May 29, 2009

Ultimatum to Self

So many thoughts running through my head, but it’s after 5 and I have to be at work in 4 hours! Perhaps I’ve been reading too many “far-left” blogs tonight, but I’m enraged. I’m enraged at what the Republicans/Far Right are saying about Sonia Sotomayor as they try to stop her from sitting on the Supreme Court. I’m outraged that Ben Nelson gets to call himself a Democrat though he won’t support a public option for health insurance or direct student loans from the federal government. For that matter, I’m outraged at a lot of Senate Democrats who won’t back progressive legislation because it’s politically “inexpedient” and “it takes 60 votes to do anything”. Memo to Senate Democrats: It only takes 50 votes to pass something, you can make the Republicans filibuster (I’d really like to see them talk for hours on end about why we should continue to increase global carbon levels at unsustainable rates, or why universal healthcare is a bad thing, or how exactly we are going to pay to clean up their mess--God forbid we raise taxes!). Yes, you can. You just don’t want to, and I’m willing to bet it’s because you love your job more than the people you represent, you love the money you get from your corporate/rich donors more than the best interests of the other 99.9% of Americans. I’m outraged.

I’m also outraged at myself. I’m mad that I didn’t make it to the next round of the Foreign Service process. I can only blame myself. I’m mad that I let really good grades at the beginning of the semester slip through my fingers, turning in 2 papers days late and not studying for the finals until the last minute. I pulled through, thankfully, with still-decent grades. But I’m not willing to settle anymore, not willing to say “oh well, maybe next time Isaac” or “at least I got a B”. I’ll still have my fun, but I won’t pass off my responsibilities. I can’t. I still have ambitions that 4 years of Harvard haven’t beaten out of me. Sonia Sotomayor got summa cum laude at Princeton. It’s far too late for me to get that here (not even cum laude, sadly), but that doesn’t mean I surrender to the voices I’ve heard around me and in my own head, that I’m an “affirmative action” pick, that I don’t deserve to be here, that I took the place of more qualified (white) people. I’ve surrendered for way too long, I’ve cowered behind my setbacks, allowing them to snowball into failures. But no longer. I don’t deserve anything from this life, it’s too capricious. But I know I can make something of myself. I may not be a genius, but I am smart enough to be at Harvard. I maybe weak-willed at times, but I didn’t survive a childhood of poverty to not gain any strength from it. I may be out of touch with my faith at the moment, but I don’t keep a bible on my nightstand in vain. I don’t express it often in words, but I return the love of my friends and family from the depths of my heart.

I don’t have definite answers, concrete steps to take, but I know there is an answer, I know there is a path ahead. And I refuse to stay on the ground, licking my wounds, fearing more. My outrage at the circumstances around me can change little, thought I will do the little I can to change things. The outrage at myself is a consequence of the consequences of my choices and actions. Those choices I can do something about. I can make different ones. I will make different ones. I won’t procrastinate. I won’t start papers or study for tests at the last minute. I won’t skate by on “decent grades” anymore. I won’t sleep when I can make better use of my time. I won’t rest on my laurels or expect future ones to come to me. I will chase my dreams, as wildly, yet thoroughly as I did in high school (as oxymoronic as that may sound). I will dream bigger dreams and plan accordingly. I won’t waste any more time not making memories with my dearest friends. I won’t wait for a man to rescue me, but I won’t shirk from the chances to meet him. I will tell my family everyday that I love them.

No more excuses, no more “maybes” or “tomorrows” or “laters”. It has to, and will, start now. This is a blog post for me, but wherever you are, whenever you read this, hold me to this promise in any way you can, but know if you don’t, that I do, and will continue to. These are bold promises, and I can’t say exactly what changed inside, as I’ve had this internal counseling session so many times before. All I know is that something is different now. I’m different now. I only have a semester left at the best university in the world, and I don’t want to waste it like I mostly have the last 7. I will take the fullest advantage of the road I have at my feet, like I should have done since the beginning, instead of psyching myself out. The old Isaac is back, hopefully with the old drive, but with the new attitude. And it’s good to be back.


Brian said...

I really liked what you had to say. You really reminded me of something I learned, especially for those of us that are of faith. In the beginning, I prayed that God could change the world, resolve big issues, etc. Then that didn't happen. Then I started praying for things that were around me, like "oh I wish my friend can realize how he/she hurt me that one time," but then you realize that my friends stay the same. What you end up with is, hey -- God, please change me first.

You're totally right. Change starts with one person, as cliche as that sounds. I will say after being at admissions for three years, you totally DESERVE TO BE HERE. It is ridiculous how detailed they look at each kid. You are here for a reason, and yeah, we all feel inadequate here, but you know what, even through these struggles, you will be able to relate to people even better.

As I am graduating, I will say that I have been privileged to have been your friend. You are a mature person. Hang in there!

lost said...

I'm so sorry I'm reading this so late, because I would have given you a massive hug when we were both on campus. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to give you an additional hug in August when you come back.

From a fellow supposed "failure" to another, I have to say it takes a lot more to rise above from our shortcomings and to 'fess up to it, especially at a place like Harvard where there's so much to match up to. It sucks because I know there's a lot going against you, and there's a lot of circumstances and obstacles that have brought you to the point that you're at right now. And sometimes, it feels like they're just way too hard to beat and they are completely legitimate in putting you down. But I'm so glad you're fighting them, because you deserve so much Isaac. And you CAN do it, and I'm not saying that because you're my friend but because you've proven it everyday throughout your various endeavors (which are not necessarily academic). For the sake of room, I'm not going to list 'em.

It's definitely a good thing I'm going to be in Boston this summer/next year, because if you're ever feeling down, feel free to call me up, because I got your back 100%! And trust me, I'll definitely be kicking your ass if you go back on your word =). Love you honey!