Have you ever dreamed about something for so long, just to realize it wasn't what you thought it was going to be? In middle school there was the cutest boy that sat beside me in a couple of my classes. I was starry eyed for the longest time. I always saw him as really popular, and was always so thrilled when he'd give me a moment of attention. I do think he genuinely saw me as a friend - but probably wasn't gushing over me like I was for him.
A couple of years later we finally arranged to get together outside of school, and I was so nervous. My mom dropped us off for a movie and the mall (it was the 80s, ya'll!). I even have a couple of pictures from that day because it was a really big deal (before cell phones, using up actual film!). But I look so sad in those photos, because I realized after all that time of pining after this guy, he really wasn't all that interesting. I was disappointed with the day, but more importantly so disappointed that I had wasted so much time. I had wanted it to mean something.
Much more recently in life, and on a much more important scale (although I am not sure you could have convinced middle school Brandi at the time that more important things would come along), I had a situation arise that I had really longed for. I had worked so hard for this situation to come to light. I had taken so many steps to be a success and receive this certification so to speak. The process was daunting but I poured my heart and soul into it. When I got to the final step, I knew the answer might be no, not now. I was prepared to continue working hard toward my goal. But - that final step was handled so poorly, so heartbreakingly bad, that my dreams were definitely dashed. Those in charge compared me to Wilbur the pig in Charlotte's web, told me God doesn't call us to work with children, said they wouldn't have read my paperwork if NASCAR hadn't been rained out, even actually suggested I lie to get what I wanted... I'm telling you - this was BAD. SO, SO bad. These are actual quotes from that last meeting. It broke my heart. I had wanted it to mean something.
I knew there was an easier way to get there, a way that didn't involve the heartache but also didn't matter as much. Just a few months ago, I finally ended up taking those steps. It took less than four minutes and cost me $45, which is a significant amount less than the therapy the other situation caused me. I kicked myself for taking so long to do this, but also felt embarrassed that something I cared about so much was just not even a barrier. It still feels kind of icky, but that is my own stuff to work through. I just wanted it to mean something.
In life there are often roadblocks that have no reasonable meaning. You did your part. You studied. You served your time. Your heart was in the right place. Your dream was big and you took all the right steps. You missed out on other things in your efforts on this dream. You were so dreamy eyed at the possibility that you missed an alternate path. The universe guided you in a different direction. You wanted it to mean something. But the answer was no.
Situations like these can leave you feeling imposter syndrome, feeling depressed, feeling confused. I hope there is a time you can look back on those circumstances with fresh clarity. Thank goodness things didn't work out with the middle school crush. Thank goodness that job/school/relationship/fill-in-the-blank didn't work out. Thank goodness for unanswered prayers.
My mentor friend Kelly said to me recently that rather than feel like an imposter, lean in to the broken spaces that make you relatable. Those broken places are THE THING that make you able to relate to, encourage, and love others if you let them. It is a gracious thing to share with others that you are scared, that your relationships aren't perfect, that you are trying to learn just like everyone else.
I hope that whatever is broken in your life might be turned around into a new mindset. I recently heard the quote, "There is a blessing in the breaking." And while we never wish for the heartache, we can allow it to mold us into a better version of ourselves. And THAT is the thing that truly means something.
She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery, put back together by her own hands. And a critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.
― J.M. Storm