I yearn for the excellence I do not bear

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I can’t achieve everything now; I’m hopeful for the future.

I am not the person who has profiles written on them.

I lack a voice for singing, legs for running, a hand for writing, a face for beauty, fingers for painting, a brain for academics, and a soul for acting. I do not have a single exceptional feature—except, of course, the lack of exceptionality in itself.

Although I realized this many years ago, a new layer was recently added to my already jumbled mindset. In my economics class, we were taught about how specialization is more efficient than being a Jack-of-all-trades.

I would gladly be Jack any day. If I could be mediocre at multiple things, or even just one thing, I can’t help but fantasize that my life would be so much better and that I would be a happier person.

Since childhood, I was desperate to find my talent, but none was not present. From soccer to volleyball, softball to painting, and even right here in TCT, I have failed to find something that caused the crowd to gawk in awe at me.

Every time I would try out for a team, whether I made it or not, my heart would feel as though it was dropping into my stomach. I would instantly regret setting myself up to fail. When I didn’t make the team, I would want to permanently quit the sport.

From soccer to volleyball, softball to painting, and even right here in TCT, I have failed to find something that caused the crowd to gawk in awe at me.”

A lot of the time, I did.

Even in extracurriculars that don’t involve tryouts, I somehow feel behind in every way. My stories are average—they’re mostly publishable, but they don’t exceed standards. They rarely trend, and even if they do, it is brief and mostly unnoticed.

The feelings always seem to hit at the most inopportune time. When I finally draw something I am proud of, I get a critique from my peers or see a friend’s art that makes me want to crumple up my paper full of chicken scratch and throw it away. I finally get the hang of the course I am jumping in horse riding, but then I pick up the wrong lead.

Deep down, even when I take pride in my work, I have that nagging feeling that I do not compare to others. Even if I am considered to be at the same level as someone else, my work is sloppily pasted together rather than carefully woven.

“There’s always someone better than you.”

That’s what everyone says when I am spiraling into a slump of self-disappointment. I know, I know, I know that; that’s not why I’m upset. I wish that, at just one thing in my life, I could be the best person in the room or in the group, no matter how small.

I am purely running on dreams at this point. Whether they are achieved or not, I am pushing hard only to see what comes next. I can’t help but secretly hope I will discover something I can do well once I make it to college.

Getting accepted into a good college is my goal now. It’s a more viable option than exceeding in an art or sporting event—I might be able to achieve this one. When I lay at night feeling the pit of my perceived failure, I close my eyes and try to picture opening the acceptance letter to my dream school.

Beyond school hopes, my plans dissipate back into the fog that I cannot grasp. Since I am such a person to be overlooked, my soul pulls me to a path that will make me well-known or interesting. However, I know neither of those will be reality. Everyone surrounding me has an ordinary job that they were able to accomplish with their skills. My own parents, who are some of the most brilliant people I know, have jobs that are far too predictable for my liking.

I need to escape the quicksand of an unremarkable life—I have lived it too long without hope of being released.

I want the fog to condense; I want to be able to hold my dream in my hands and splash it onto my face. I know, one day, the air will cool and my hopes will be tangible; perhaps not in the way I expect, but tangible nonetheless.