They say confidence is key. Key to what, I wonder as I put on my beige dress. Here I am getting ready to graduate at the top of my class from a great university and I still wonder how did I get here? I never thought I was the sharpest tool in the box (is that how the saying goes?) and I never really did so great in school; and yet I got accepted in the state university on a full scholarship. I remember joking with the counselor who insisted I apply for the scholarship telling me that I was a great student and all universities would love to have me. I thought he was joking but I got nudged into it by my mom who held the camera as I played the violin. I missed a few notes but didn’t feel like redoing the whole thing, so I sent in the tape with all the mistakes.
A few months later, I got the acceptance letter and felt ecstatic. Scared, but happy. Then my complex kicked in: am I as good as they think I am? Am I really worth the money they’d be throwing away?
I walked around campus those four years trying to keep to myself most of the time but it was evident that things cannot go unnoticed. My high grades got me on the honors roll and I was turned into one of the university teaching assistants and library buddy. I was also playing the violin in university performances and was given awards for “best performance” and “Classical music guru”. Yet I kept wondering what they see in me. What can they see that I can’t?
When things go against my will, I understand. I live in that unknown and thrive in knowing nobody is watching. Then I excel, and everybody watches… and I start questioning.
Am I a fraud? Am I an illusionist who has everyone scammed into believing I am made of something that I am not?
Then I look around, and see people who have accomplished less than I have, look half as good as I do, and are less talented but who are booming with confidence. I choose to keep quiet in seminars, even though I know the answers before anyone raises their hand. I try to live in the shadows of my doubt, to live behind those who are in their fuschia and turquoise dresses, screaming for attention. I choose to stay in the shadows where only those who are looking for perfection would find me, could find me. They would take me out, polish me a bit, and stand in awe at who I am.
And then, as I stand glistening in the sun, I will still wonder if I’m a real diamond… or a fraud.