As a twenty-something female, its probably by birthright to have a crappy reality TV show addiction that includes The Hills. Sure, it’s plastic, scripted, and ridiculous, but it’s still so…easy…to relate to the characters and their dilemmas. Who can forget the time that Lauren chose a beach house summer with her (DOUCHE BAG!) boyfriend over the internship in Paris?
I didn’t choose Paris. Well, more accurately, I didn’t choose the internship at the state capitol. Every year, my school chose several students by application to go to a full paid internship working at the state capitol building gaining valuable experience. My advisor said with my 4.0 GPA and excellent performances in my political science classes, I was a shoe-in. The connections I would make would be invaluable and would help me either have a career or go on to professional school with little resistance.
My parents were ecstatic, and I didn’t mind having my ego stroked. Out of all the applicants, I could be chosen! I had a 4.0. I was smart. But then reality set in. I’d have to leave everything familiar to me….including my boyfriend. We had never been apart–EVER. Any change could rock that boat. And though he never said it, I knew it frightened him just as much as it frightened me.
So I didn’t go. I convinced myself that I couldn’t do it. Sure, I could do the work. But I couldn’t live alone, couldn’t move to a new city for three months. Couldn’t shake anything up that might cause the boat to rock at all. And once I successfully convinced myself that I couldn’t do that, it was easy to convince myself I would fail at other things too. I couldn’t score high on the GRE, couldn’t score well on the LSAT, would get rejected from any school I applied to–so why bother? Anything that was a challenge, putting myself out there, or a change, I convinced myself not to bother doing it. Because I might fail, I might stumble. If my relationship couldn’t withstand 2 hours, how would with withstand separate graduate schools? He was like my air.
I gave up on myself. I convinced myself I was a failure, less than what I really was. So I did everything possible to keep myself as close to the status-quo as possible. I kept the same job I had as an undergraduate student. I didn’t even apply to any graduate schools, though that was a dream I had since I was in third grade. And now here I sit, struggling to make ends meet and I ended up alone anyway.
Sometimes I see girls and want to shake them. “CHOOSE PARIS!”, I want to scream. Choose Paris. Close your eyes and jump, walk into the darkness. Take a chance. The worst that can happen is you’ll end up right where you’re supposed to be.
I have no doubt that I would have ended up here, in some sense, no matter what I chose three years ago. But I wish I had more faith in myself then. I look back and wish I could tell myself how much potential was hidden inside there. That I am breathing today without him. That I needed to love myself first.
It’s not too late. Somehow, I’m still going to choose Paris. Somehow.