How can I expect you to take my advice when I can’t even listen to myself?
So, scratch that: Dear me.
Throughout my childhood, people told me I was a gifted student and destined for greatness. When I was in middle school, I somehow had the self esteem of a peanut while simultaneously believing I was capable of anything, like some sort of superhero.
In short: I was a cocky teenager. I understood failing was okay, but I never failed — until high school.
In high school, I learned I wasn’t perfect. My grades slipped as I juggled different responsibilities, and I isolated myself from people who could help me. The world of a smart, very privileged, cocky teenager crumbled at my feet.
Through my failures, I learned about real success. I realized the world is complicated and that I am not perfect. I accepted feedback and discovered my passion for telling people’s stories. I learned that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not be perfect.
Or at least I tell myself I’ve learned those lessons.
Last year, I was a mere reporter who eagerly took every possible story, and I burned myself out. My predecessor told me to take care of myself as I entered this new role at The Daily Nebraskan, and I nodded. I knew I should, and sometimes I truly think I am.
But a part of me is still that naive seventh grader. She couldn’t find pants that fit her awkwardly long legs, but she still believed she could do anything. She believed she was superwoman.
Most days, I believe I need to be the one who saves the day and lay down her life so others can survive. If I need to not care about school to make sure the news section thrives, then I tell myself my homework can wait another day. I tell myself that I can spend all day in the newsroom finding menial tasks to accomplish. I tell myself that I am okay.
The truth? I’m not great.
My knowledge about superheroes is very limited. “The Incredibles” taught me that superheroes should not wear capes. The only thing I really learned from “The Amazing Spider-Man” is that Andrew Garfield is very attractive.
But someone recently told me that even superheroes know their limits. As these fictional characters fight crime and save the day, they pick and choose their battles.
They don’t retrieve every cat that is stuck in a tree. They focus on top issues like preventing people from dying. Superheroes use their strengths to the best of their ability, and they know their weaknesses. Plus, they never work alone.
The secret to being super is taking care of yourself first. It means realizing that, yes, you are smart but understanding that, no, you can’t do everything — especially on your own.
So, reader, hold me to this lesson. I like to believe I’m growing and learning to take care of myself, but I definitely could use some improvement.
On the bright side, I’ve definitely changed since seventh grade. I found pants that fit.
Senior News Editor