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You’ll never make it

Today, on a friend’s Facebook profile, my friend Marina wrote a reply to my comment:

Anansi said “Anger gets shit done” but I guess spite is a great motivator too.

Yes it is.
The subject was those characters we often meet and have no compunction in telling us we’ll never make it. We can’t make it. Not worth the bother.
I’ve met people like this all my life.
Oh, mind you, I was pretty good at school – top marks in every subject but Maths.
But they told me I would not make it. Bad attitude, you see – reading strange books and not being “a good team player”.

I was also pretty good in university – I once took nine exams in one year, with an average evaluation of 28/30. But they told me I would never make it anyway.
Too many interests, not athletic enough.This was, I think, the year a group of students proposed to set a physical test for geology students – “to weed out heart conditions, asthmatics and weaklings.”
What a bunch of assholes.

One of my teachers told me “people like me” (whatever that meant) could only hope to scrub floors in the Geology Department in Turin.
That’s when I snapped.
After all, what I had to lose?
I replied he was right – but his students would be studying for his course on my textbooks within five years anyway.
Five years later to the very day, I was holding a post-grad course in the same Geology Department.
I went to the guy’s office, but he was on sabbatical.

And on an on – my courses, my research, my stories.
My very survival this last year.

You’ll never make it.

It’s hard.
You are doing your best, and someone comes and tells you you will fail.
They usually do with a smirk.
It’s hard, and it’s painful, and some days you just want to drop everything and curl up and rest.
There are days I would just love to disappear.
But I found out that

Just watch me.

is an excellent reply for these guys.

So maybe they are right, out there, when they say I am a spiteful old man with a long memory.
The desire to scrub the self-satisfied smile off the guys’ faces, when they tell me I’ll never make it, is a potent motivator.
The trick is always to remember we are not doing it for them, we are doing it for ourselves.
Showing them they were wrong is just a bonus.
So hold on tight out there.
Don’t let the bastards grind you down.


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