Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

Everyone has bad days. It took me a long time to accept this….to start to accept this. On the road to recovery, it is normal to take two steps forward, one step backward. It will never be a continuously forward journey, no matter how hard you try. That’s why it’s called recovery and not fantasy. But as long as you are moving forward to compensate for your falling backwards, you are making progress. Sure, it may be slow progress, but isn’t it better than nothing at all? Have patience in the process. It’s easy to say and almost impossible in practice, yet essential to accommodate.

I had an extremely bad day recently. Two days ago to be exact. I know I preach about how numbers don’t define us, but the truth is, it is so difficult to accept this reality. I try to spread this message in hopes that one day, maybe I’ll believe it, maybe I’ll cut myself a break. But two days ago, I made the mistake of reverting back to my extreme perfectionist tendencies. And ironically, because of my desire for perfection, I inadvertently pushed myself toward failure. Those forty minutes of streaming tears and staring hopelessly at the clock all resulted from my being unsure of a four-point question on my math test. I became so panicked when I couldn’t answer one question, when I realized I would get less than 100, that I completely shut down. I had a full blown panic attack. I looked down at the numbers on the page and all I could think about was how they controlled me, how they defined me, how they could never satisfy me….Through my tears, the problems on my test became mere blurs of black ink, and I thought about how they mirrored the meaningless of my life. And I froze. I sat and cried and froze. I left every question after that one four-point question blank because I was fixated on 100. I ended up turning a small hiccup into an immense catastrophe.

To top it all off, I spent the next 2 hours crying nonstop in the guidance office until my eyes stung as if I had thrown lemon juice in them. So, I guess I would call that a bad day. But it is ok, because in the grand scheme of things, this one bad day will be microscopic. This bad day will force me to get back on my feet. This bad day has made me aware of my shortcomings, of the fact that I must stop avoiding the little part of my mind that still believes that numbers define me. I must confront my problems head on, and I will try my best. Because in the end, all we can do is try and fight and persevere. There will be good days. There will be bad days. There will be days when you are so proud of how far you’ve come, when you think the worst of the storms have passed. There will be days when you feel like a tiny speck of dried up sand in a vast ocean of problems, when you look up only to see forceful waves crashing down on your will to recover. But without recovery, without taking the leap of faith, there would only be bad days. We would be accepting less than we deserve. We would be disrespecting our self-worth.

And so I walk on, two steps forward, one step backward, inching my way toward self-acceptance.