So much potential
When I was young was often told that I was bright. I didn’t really see much in it at the time; I wasn’t exceptional in any way, as far as I could see, but I did talk a lot, especially at school. I don’t remember my teachers being particularly flattering, but every so often I would hear, “Sarah, you have so much potential.” But what exactly did that mean? It sort of sounded like I was a bit special, but not quite. Or maybe ‘potential’ is the teachers’ cop-out when they don’t quite know what else to say. Who knows?
Then one day…
A competition was announced in school asking entrants to design a machine that would clean up the streets. The winner was promised £5(gift voucher) and a chance to meet the then mayor of Newham. Feeling very unsure of my drawing capabilities, I quickly ruled myself out of the competition. I Knew Steven Henman, one of the best artists in the school, had this one. But lo and behold, I entered anyway–and won! At this point I finally began to get a grasp of the meaning of potential and that it was a good thing: someone sees something in you and that something could be really great if acted upon.
Feeling like a failure
I had big dreams when I was at school and winning that competition made me believe that I could achieve them. But this was a long time ago and I can’t really say that I feel I’ve fulfilled my potential. I’m pretty sure that my sense of success is warped: somewhere I got it into my pretty little head that to be successful you need a great job, a home you own and be in a cosy relationship, etc. I can’t check any of those boxes.
Now I’m sure my friends or anyone who knows me well would say, ‘Hey Sarah, hang on a minute. What about all the things you’ve overcome; the projects you’ve initiated or been involved in that have helped people.’ Yes, this is all true. But what I’m saying is, not since I entered that competition at school and again when I did my A levels, have I got a real strong sense of what it meant to realise my potential: that inner sense of accomplishment you get when you achieve something ‘really special.’
Having a baby didn’t really change any of those feelings. I was still trying prove myself to myself. Kai was simply an addition to my life and he just had to fit in. But finally after ten years of motherhood I finally get: at this point life is calling on me to be the best mother that I can be, and that’s the priority. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have dreams and ambitions, but motherhood is no ‘lesser’ occupation that I should feel that I need something better to bolster my ego. It’s hard work, especially without the support of a partner and harder still when you choose to take full responsibility for their education and home-educate. But it is what is; I don’t think it’s meant to be easy. But whatever happens, I hope to be able to tell my son when he’s older that I did my best( which hopefully he’ll know), and however my accomplishments as a mother transpire in his life’s successes I know that in one area, at least, I would have fulfilled my potential.
Picture 1 credit: crazymessybeautiful.com
Picture 2 credit: techtalk