I’ve forgiven myself for not being ready

When I was in college, I was in the debate team, and I wanted to become at least a national champion. Early on the upperclassmen debaters spotted my talent and encourage me to gun for higher ranks in the team, but they said this with a caveat, “You can do that if you fix your manner”.

Every debater is evaluated for two things: manner or how you speak and matter or the information that you know and can deliver in your speech. I was good with matter because I allotted 30 minutes per day to read up on different things. When it came to manner, sometimes I was confident but sometimes I’d stutter through my speech.

I wanted to fix my manner as much as my debate mentors wanted me to, and throughout my career, I was frustrated by my futile struggle against it. In the end, I had some successes, the highest of which was being fourth best speaker in Asia, but I did not meet my goal of becoming a national champion or higher than that.

Recently though, I was rereading my college diaries. I realized that there was no way I could have solved my manner problems during that time because it was rooted in deep-seated insecurities. I failed because I didn’t address the underlying issues that caused my problem. So no matter how hard I tried, the issues were too complex for me solve.

After reading those passages, I decided to forgive myself. I had long felt guilty for how people believed in me and how I wasn’t able to step up. I had long felt ashamed that I wasted their belief in me. Now I see that there was nothing that I could do during that time. I was just not ready.

These days I feel that I have grown, and I am proud of the person that I’ve worked hard to become, but I also want to forgive my past self. I want to look back at her with kindness, and I want to send her a message of hope: someday, it will get better.

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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.

All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations. 


6 thoughts on “I’ve forgiven myself for not being ready

  1. This is beautiful. Love the grace and understanding that can come with hindsight. And love how old writing (a record of your past self) helped.


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