I was the poster child of success. I don’t mean the kind of success most of us desire these days. Ergo, fat bank accounts, fast cars and big houses are not what I’m talking about.
I mean the kind of success where you have never failed. Never failed a test. Never failed an exam. Never failed an interview. Living a mediocre but contented life. That kind of success.
Until, the last exam in my professional life. A high stakes exam which I failed again and again, and again.
I knew the stench of failure. It seeped from my pores into my nose and then out my pores for the cycle to continue again.
“It is not a fair exam.”
“The college in charge of the exam have been sued for failing bright people like you just because of their colour.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“You are very good at what you do, you should not have failed.”
“It’s not about how good you are, it’s a game you need to learn to play.”
“You should really practice more.”
“You should read more.”
“You should watch more British movies.”
And so many other comments.
I applied those I could. None helped.
Those I could not apply not for lack of trying, were left hanging in the air. Thickening the air with every passing second.
Despite the many things to be thankful for, to be grateful for, the many things that were going great in my life, this exam had become the bane of my existence.
In my despair, I became paranoid. I heard whispers behind my back or perhaps I imagined them in my paranoia. I saw the pitiful looks of colleagues. Again, perhaps I imagined them.
The loss of confidence that I felt deep in my core and the loss of hope I felt were too real to be imagined.
Until, hope came again in the form of finding myself. Not losing faith in me. Not giving up on me. Not giving in to the negativity. I prayed, fasted and read. Most importantly, I looked and I saw for the first time the opportunities that hitherto I had been blind to.
I embraced them. Then, I began to shine where others thought dark. When I eventually passed, it did not matter anymore because I had found something else. Something precious that I would not have found if I had passed before my last attempt.
So here I am, no longer the poster child of success as I knew it. But a poster child of survival against all odds.
I have written this for anyone walking through that place. That dark, dark, miserable place.
Know that it is temporary.
It will pass.
The hurt will ease only if you keep walking.
Do not stand still.
Walk fast, then faster.
The darkness will end and the light will shine through.
Never give up.