I Return, Though Not Triumphant

Welcome back, everyone! (That is, if I actually have any readers beyond my program. I sincerely doubt that.)

I know I said I was going to delete this blog over the Summer, but I never actually got around to it. That’s fortunate in a way, because I have to update it several times again this semester. Y’all can expect some more senseless blogging that I would never do under my own motivation.

Today, we’re going to talk about success. This? This, I do not consider success. This is a disappointment and a sharp increase in my stress levels—but I digress.

Success has perhaps a simultaneously looser and yet let forgiving definition for me than it does for many other people. Success is a thing that I strive for, of course, but often only as a side-effect of my struggle for perfection, or the closest to perfection that I can reach.

Because I’m a perfectionist, success on an assignment means a final mark of eighty percent or higher. A percentage in the seventies is cause for alarm. If a re-test is available to give those at my mark any chance of improvement, I will take it at that point. A mark in the sixties is an outright failure and will send me into a hurricane of internal self-scolding, anger, and distress.

100% completion is its own form of success and perfection. A satisfying completion can come in the form of 100% completion of a video game’s quests, side-quests, and collections; finishing a new chapter in a story I’m writing, even sometimes finishing the story itself; or even meeting and completing all the requirements of an assignment.

There are other things that I can consider success as well. Success is earning a detailed review on my personal creative writing or art—not just a positive one. Success is finishing something before its due date—or on its due date, before it has to be handed in. Success is being able to do something that I really want to do—for example a piece of art or writing. Success is bypassing something I don’t have to or want to do. Success is hearing someone use the correct pronoun in reference to me (‘they’ or ‘them’). Success is being perfectly calm for even a little while. Success is finishing a musical composition and listening to it for days on end in victory.

Because really, that’s what success is to me in the end. Success is a victory. Life is a war and everything I do is another battle large or small, another struggle to conquer, another victory to be won. Vene, vidi, vici is often the way things go for me; my desperate compulsion to be the victor means that I try harder, I do better, and I succeed. And the definition of that ultimate success includes others’ visions of success as well. Success is doing something well—and haven’t I done well so, so many things?

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