lessons in adventure, aimlessness and alchemy

I wonder when I’ll be done.

“I wonder when I’ll be done proving myself to myself.”

I think I was an undergrad in college when I saw this scrawled somewhere–whether it was on a postcard or on a wall in the library, I can’t entirely remember. What I do remember, what I’ve always remembered is the quote itself.

“I wonder when I’ll be done proving myself to myself.”

Not only do I remember it, I’ve etched it on the walls of my mind. It sits there quietly for the most part but occasionally decides to jump violently out of the shadows and DEMAND a response.

In these moments, there is no period at the end of the quotation. It is a belligerent, aching, throbbing question:

WHEN will YOU be done proving yourself to yourself?

It presents itself in an unfriendly tone–like some pissy authoritarian from my primary school nightmares. The question has teeth. The question bites.

But I have no answer.

When I doubt myself, I try to quell myself with qualitative proof about myself.

This resembles what can most closely be called a parade–a MYSELF parade for MYSELF parade… and the parade is written entirely in resume rhetoric. It uses words like ‘dedicated’ and ‘tireless’ and ‘thoughtful’ and ‘proficient.’ It uses words that have no business being in a parade or anywhere near a parade.

But ‘myself’ likes the parade and is cheered by the parade and leaves the parade feeling thoroughly proven to.

But proof is an elusive thing and when another situation presents itself, the parade bubble bursts and I am left with the writing on the wall.

“I wonder when I’ll be done proving myself to myself.”

I wonder when I’ll be done proving that I’m good enough and smart enough and wise enough and bold enough and funny enough and talented enough and worthwhile enough and special enough and different enough and fierce enough and confident enough and pretty enough and stylish enough and serious enough and not-too-serious enough and loving enough and loved enough and caring enough and cared for enough and enough, enough, enough.

I wonder when I’ll be done proving myself to myself.


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