Falling over my own feet

Submitted into Contest #114 in response to: Write about someone grappling with an insecurity.... view prompt

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Coming of Age Speculative Creative Nonfiction

I don’t feel like I……. 

This is the most frustrating sentence I have come across. I have heard it from others many, many times and have had to use it myself quite a few times. But still should I begin the sentence now, I still find myself in front of a wall. 

I don’t feel like I am the person for this job. A job I have never tried.

I don’t think I will be able to do it. In response to something I had heard for the first time that day. 

I don’t think I will be a good fit. When I was job searching. 

They all precede things I haven’t encountered before, and yet, I seem to have this certainty within me that stops me from going further, from trying something that could change my opinion. 

I wondered where it came from. What exactly had I done that made me so sure that this was something outside of my capabilities. Tonight, I will question myself again, “ Who am I? Who is Linnet?” Maybe, I will have a thought if not an answer.

*************************************************

“ Ms. D’Sa, where do you see yourself in three years?,” the man interviewing me asks. 

“In three years, I will be working as the head of HR at a Fortune 500 company. I will also have successfully completed my Master’s in I/O Psychology and be halfway through my MBA.” I reply, not because I believe I will be at that point by then but because that is the kind of response that garners a more positive outlook towards my application. Or so I read while researching interviewer perception. 

“You plan to pursue two Master’s degrees. Why? If you are given the job and as such work here over the next three years, how will these two degrees help in particular?” 

“I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and have always wanted to pursue a career in Human Resources. I wanted to do so because it is a field which combines the areas of people and tasks. Depending on the position, a person would have to be more of a task oriented or a people oriented person, or a 49-51 combination of the two. While I have an idea of the people side of that equation, I am mostly unaware of the task or business side. The two degrees should help fill in the gaps as I learn while working. Also, the degree in I/O psychology will show me what psychometric measures are available in order to find the right fit for the job.” 

***************************************

The interview ended soon after that. While I could see their expressions while assessing me, I was too flustered to place them. 

On the way home, my head was full of thoughts. Did I do enough? Were my answers satisfying? Was I too wide eyed? Did my nervousness show?  Will my lack of work experience be a major factor? 

I wanted to cry. I think I did but they were hidden by the rain on my face. I hadn’t checked the weather forecast today. I cried some more as the rain soaked me. 

I took a hot shower when I got home, yet the nervous chill that swept through my body made me tremble a little. I had only a little time left. If I couldn’t get a job, I would have to go back to a place where I had no prospects. The thought left me colder still. 

I had to eat even though I had no appetite. I reheated some leftovers and ate while I watched a drama. While it didn’t save me from drowning in my thoughts of my ineptitude, it was distracting enough that I found a breathing hole. I used that respite to focus on the things I had to do the next day. More resumes to be sent out, more follow-up emails to be sent, more rejections to be sorted through; the list went on. 

After washing the plate I had used, I went to bed. My thoughts followed. The interview was all I had to promote me. I didn’t have the grades nor the work experience. My dream of being head of HR one day seemed further away than last night. 

I pressed my eyes closed. I didn’t want to cry again. Not at night. Ma used to say it is important how we go to bed at night, it sets the tone for the next day. I wiped the moisture in my eyes away and began with my nightly affirmations. 

I will get a job. 

I will be financially independent.

It is taking longer than others but I will also get there. 

I will not take the rejections personally.

I will not lose faith in my ability.

I have a potential.

I am not useless.

I had to repeat them a few more times than usual tonight. I seem to be more on edge than normal. I was sinking again. I put on some music to divert my mind. It took a while but it worked. I smiled for the first time that day. Through all the ups and downs I have had to go through, music has never failed to make me smile. Despite having a hard day, being able to smile at the end of it seems like a good end to the day, I think Ma would agree. It sets a hopeful tone for tomorrow. 

Holding onto that thought, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, the sound of rain coming from my phone soothing my bruised mind. As the drowsiness set in, a few remnant thoughts of the day passed through my mind. Had I given my best? Had I shown them that it was something I was passionate about? 

As the last of these questions disappeared, last night’s question came forward. Who am I? Who is Linnet? I had a response this time. In two weeks, Linnet would be accepting an offer for the position of HR assistant. Maybe…

And then I fell asleep.

October 09, 2021 03:37

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2 comments

Tommie Michele
01:02 Oct 14, 2021

This story is short and sweet and I love it! The constant questions and self-doubt is definitely a relatable theme and I loved your take on the prompt. The ambiguous yet hopeful ending was perfect for this kind of story. If I had to make one suggestion (and this comes from a purely stylistic standpoint), I would recommend italicizing your narrator’s inner thoughts. (ex. The first “who am I? Who is Linnete?”). It would add a little more clarity to the narrator’s thoughts. Nice work, Wren! —Tommie Michele

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05:50 Oct 14, 2021

Thank you Tommie! And for the suggestion as well. I have seen it a lot but never thought to use it myself. - Wren

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