Am I right to be disappointed?

It’s Saturday afternoon and I sit outside with a glass of Chardonnay listening to Coldplay’s The Scientist. I can feel the impact of the 14-day nationwide lockdown taking its toll and my heart finally coming to terms with the hurt that’s been weighing me down. I think I have finally found the courage to deal with the anger, bitterness and disappointment that’s crippled how I’ve been showing up over the last few weeks. The strange thing, however, is that I’ve felt a lot of shame for feeling disappointed because I knew in my heart that things would not work out as I had imagined.

Picture taken by Titan Lens Photography

“Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different” Rachel Wolchin

I know how the system works, I have seen it happen before. The data, patterns and findings confirmed time and time again how the story will unfold, but still I had expectations. I still had hope, optimistic that things would be different this time around. Boy, oh boy, could I be further from the truth.

At first I didn’t want the opportunity or at least so I thought. I knew in my heart that even if the opportunity was hand delivered on a silver platter, I still wouldn’t accept it. But somehow when the delivery man didn’t show up at my front door to deliver the opportunity I “low key” wanted, I was left feeling very disappointed.

I spent the last year and a few months showing up and working hard to maintain stability. It was hard carrying the load and responsibility, keeping a smile on my face, trying to stay engaged. I kept showing up despite my imposter syndrome tearing me apart, testing my resilience and competency. I continued to put myself out there, working hard to prove to myself and those in power that I am a worthy contender. My mornings were the hardest and trying to get out of bed was torture. I spent time motivating myself, trying to remember why I was doing all of this, why I was dealing with all this stress (wait was I dealing?) when I didn’t have to.

Picture taken by Titan Lens Photography

The truth is, I enjoyed being in control, momentarily. I had tasted what it’s like being captain of the ship and I loved it. I enjoyed being in the know how, able to say what will work and won’t; a subject matter expert if you will. I was thrived to have a voice, using it to influence decision making and having a seat at the table. Gosh, I loved the preparation that went into this; the confidence I had and the “oh you did very well” remarks at the end of big meetings. For a brief moment, I was ready to change my mind about how I felt about the opportunity. I was warming up to it, ready to step up; but I guess it wasn’t mine to start off with . It still came as a shock when an announcement about who is to be inaugurated was made.

Picture taken by Titan Lens Photography

Looking at the track record and accolades, it was easy to understand and support the decision. Although this made a lot of sense, it still didn’t stop me from feeling disappointed. All the hours spent preparing and the sacrifices made were in vain, or so it seemed. The idea that I foolishly entertained for a brief moment amounted to nothing but a lot of disappointment.

What amplified the disappointment is how things were handled. The approach was cold and clinical, leaving scars that run deep. The riddles and blame shift made it harder to come to terms with the new reality. The insincere remarks, compliments and thank you added salt to the wound. I honestly imagined something different, something magical; sadly the foolishness is the reason I am where I am today.

What has this experience taught me?

The first lesson this experience taught me is to never reduce or trivialise my feelings. I need to be okay with feeling what I am feeling. There is no reason to be ashamed about feeling disappointed. We need to recognise and acknowledge how we feel and then work through the feelings. The second lesson learnt is to be unapologetic about what we want. We can’t have one foot in and the other out. If there is an opportunity we want, we need to stop second-guessing ourselves.

We need to go out there, seize the moment and grab the opportunity. The third and last lesson for me is to have clarity of what I want. I know where I want to go and who I want to be. I allowed myself to be distracted, lost focus and got disappointed. I believe that exploring, taking risks and trying new things is okay. But when you’ve found what you want to do, focus on that and keep working towards it.

Am I right to feel disappointed?

Yes I am.

What matters, however, is how I deal with the disappointment, pick myself up and move forward. Let’s normalise talking about how we feel, but also put in the work to heal and move on. My healing has started which is great and I am looking forward to becoming who I’m truly meant to be. It takes time, trust the process and keep your eye on the prize.

Picture taken by Khotso Monyamane

Stay home, mask up and stay safe!

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