Fulfillment is a concept that I deprecatingly tell myself that I don’t know much about. I am a career procrastinator, a never finisher, a somebody with no accomplishments to their name. It’s almost as if I spend more time figuring out ways to cope with my lack of accomplishment than actually doing something to fix my life. It’s times like this, where I scramble to get projects done and submitted on time, that I wonder where I could truly be if I gave it my all. My thoughts send me back to elementary school. I was in the gifted and talented track, but I was never very good at cursive when we learned in it in the third grade. Beaming at the stage, it was gratifying to compete in the 2nd grade school spelling bee, until I was given 2nd place after fumbling over the word “argument”. My fingers still stumble slowly over the letters, as a remnant of the anxiety I faced that day.
I consistently deal with my own lack of fulfillment in all aspects of my life. Earlier this year (and last year, and the year before…), I compiled up a list of New Year’s Resolutions that I told myself that I MUST complete, for them to become FACTS. I scoff at the commercialism of New Year’s Resolutions because I feel that it’s wholeheartedly ridiculous to try to become a better person just because of a number. Somehow, every time, I find myself creating a list of them, though. This time, it was something about makeup, something about grades, something about music, something about writing. I think it goes to show that I never finish anything because I can’t even recall what I resolved to do. It doesn’t matter anyway; I’ve never been a nonfiction writer and I don’t necessarily want my ideas to fade into fact. At this point, what I write doesn’t even feel like it should be considered art anymore. I exceeded my artistic capacity within the past years of my adolescence and there are no more expansion packs left in stock. From now on, I will be feeding the populace with my brain vomit. My metaphorical innards are splashing among my keyboard and it’s not even the good kind. My fulfillment is the subsidized store-brand version, but it is all I have to declare for because I live a life of artistic pauperism.
When fulfillment does not appear, in comes coping. Coping seems like a less confusing process. For example, I do not do well in a Physics test or I am having major writer’s block. What do I do to recollect myself? Eat ice cream, cry, repeat, or so the teen magazines tell us. But when in that cycle do I begin to rot at the realization that I am nothing, this is nothing, nothing is being helped? The key is to let it all out, as cheesy as it seems. Eat that ice cream and watch that sad romance movie; who cares how stereotypical it sounds? In my darker days, all I ever did was clean out boxes of Oreos and listen to as many new bands as possible until my head hurt. Give yourself some time, even if that means letting possible success be pushed aside for a minute. I’ve always been a negativist, but I believe in the power of transient sadness. It doesn’t last.
Coping may have to start with the a gradual redefinition of fulfillment. What made me feel accomplished in the past may be much more than what I could ever deal with at the moment. In between my messy handwriting and unorganized school folders, I would never nominate myself as a perfectionist. But that was the very word that came out of my 4th grade art teacher’s mouth when I was teary-eyed over a collage art project that I didn’t finish at the deadline. I am a virtual perfectionist, yet I know one needs to take time and look at what they can and CANNOT do. Your mental and emotional stability will always be so much more important than your accomplishments being engraved in gold, silver or platinum. And the basic knowledge of that is fulfillment in itself.