I think I’m damaged. I shutter when I hear “potential”. Oh sure, I had potential. Heard it all the time growing up. “She has so much potential, if only…”
My birthday is coming up soon. 40 is sneaking up quick. Since childhood, I have wanted to be a writer. I dreamed up story after story. I lived to create. It was my favorite activity.
A young child doesn’t understand the depths of potential. I’m not entirely sure my teen daughter yet understands the depth of potential. It can mean everything or nothing. As a young child, I was dragged to parent/teacher conferences year after year and listened to the teacher complain to my parents about my wasted potential. I didn’t understand what the teachers were talking about, yet I knew it wasn’t good. I hung my head in shame, sat trembling in the cold, hardwood chairs that plague all schools, and listened not to the words my teacher was speaking but to the tone of which she spoke. Disappointment. Frustration. Concern.
I don’t know who my teachers felt these things for when these things were expressed to my parents. Today, as a woman with five children of her own, I hope the teacher’s disappointment was meant for my parents and not me.
Who the teacher meant her disappointment for doesn’t matter. What mattered was what I felt in my heart and soul.
I was a failure. Potential in the tone that my teachers voiced must have meant I was no good. That’s what potential was. Potential was another word for “nothing.”
Yep. Damaged. It would take a novelette at least to replay all the events of childhood that explain the damage that was done to me at the hands of others. I don’t want to write that story. I lived it. No one else should have to live it, not even vicariously.
I need to be repaired. I think that I’ve done some repairing already. It’s not enough though. Not yet.
I hate potential.