Wednesday, December 9, 2015


About a month ago some people knocked on my door.
Told me they had to run some mandatory tests that would tell me some mandatory things
Asked me what I thought I was good at and what I wished I was better at and what I knew I wasn’t best at
I filled out some forms and I thought it was pretty easy because I thought I knew what I was good, and ok and not best at.  

Turns out the machine knew more than my list of “thought-I-knew”s

Printing... printing... printing...
Barely above average in soccer 
Middle of the pack in school 
Normal in looks, decent artist 
On point sock game 
Good at church
Successful eater 

and a big fat, Helvetica font,

have a good day

At first I was shaken and I probably called my mom. 
She probably told me I’m special and probably told me it’s ok if I’m not, but I am so don’t worry.

So it’s ok. It’s ok. You’re ok.
And moms are supposed to do that. Supposed to say that. Supposed to believe that.
But there I was with letters looking back at me and I couldn’t help but think about them.

Because there’s a lot of soccer players out there. 
A lot of artists and Mormons.
And there’s a lot of blonde, 5’4’’, smile big, 
good at school (sometimes), sock wearing girls out there.
And we can’t all be special.

So I stuck the paper on my desk and stapled it to my heart till forever.
Some days I held a pity-party for myself.
Handed out a lot of “I’m not specials” just to hear people tell me I am.

Some days I hid the paper behind my shelf
Put in extra time, running, working, studying, prepping, cleaning, being.
Convinced that the next time the machine came around I’d score 5 stars, a 4.0.


But turns out emotions are circles and our hearts are downhill and that circle is really good at rolling
Really good at making the last month a rollercoaster of I’m oks and I’ll prove them wrongs and I’m specials and why am I tryings

Because I want to stop rolling
Because I’m getting dizzy
Because I’m getting lost

Cuz I was always the soccer player
The senior class vice president
The smart one
The smiley one
The one who was going to Washington to do something great

And now the only one I am is a one percent.
A slice of a city that never sleeps

And I’ve been thinking a lot about that paper all day today and I think I need to do something soon.

So tonight is different. Because I’m telling the paper I understand. Telling it I know I’m not special.
Not the best at anything.
That that’s ok because tonight I remembered that’s not what life’s about.

I remembered the way I look at people around me. Listening to what they’re saying and hoping and thinking. Not asking for their paper or test results.

Remembered that the people that mean the most to me aren’t the best at anything either. They’re all just a bunch of average, normal, middle of the packers who mean more than the world to me.

Who are really really special to me.

Tonight I realized for the first time the words on the paper were written in pencil
Decided to pull out my eraser and stop focusing on that word SPECIAL and the YOU ARE NOT before it

Decided to replace it with a list of the people that have told me they love me and told me they believed in me
Decided to stop living life for a better test score

And just start living