HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT The Musings Of A Jewelry Designer:
Doubt / Self-Doubt
The beep-beep-beep was heard over the loudspeaker. The principal was about to make an announcement. It was high school advanced literature class. About 20 of us were paying half-attention to the teacher. The interruption was welcome. Our eyes moved up and to the right at the speaker near the clock and above the door.
The principal began by announcing the National Honors Society inductees in our class. He read off the names, slowly, clearly, one-by-one. I listened very closely. Hoping to hear my name. Not sure I would, but it would be some kind of vindication, some recognition, for all the hate I had endured in that school over the past 4 years.
He got to the end. My name wasn’t called. Nor was Dean’s, the other Jewish student with straight A’s and a record of community service. Nor was Chen’s, the only Chinese-American student, and also with straight A’s and a record of community service. Of course not.
My first emotion was embarrassment. I immediately thought the other students in the room would notice that my name wasn’t called, and would look at me. But they were oblivious. No one cared. They would only have reacted if the National Honors Society roll included someone who wasn’t white, wasn’t Christian, wasn’t advantaged.
I was 18. It was the end of the school year. I didn’t tell my parents. I was too ashamed. I didn’t trust that they would be supportive. I didn’t make an issue of it with the school, which was actually a little out of character for me. The second emotion that hit me was doubt. But I had given up. I doubted whether I could/would ever measure up. I doubted whether I was good enough. Whether I had what it takes to get recognized. Whether I had what it takes to get ahead in life.
This doubt stayed with me for months. By the end of the summer, before I entered college, I decided that, as a Jew, I was second class, and had to accept that fact. My doubt led to fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it in life. I’d never be happy. I’d always have to settle. I wanted to escape — get away from all and everyone.
It became my master. At least, for awhile.