The past few years have been tough for me, but these past few months have been a real struggle. I’ve taken a year out of uni, but I’ll be returning in October. I can hear you asking, why have the past few months been such a struggle then? It comes down to this: I’ve been at a crossroads and the thought always running through my head like a broken record is, why am I never good enough?
I always knew that fashion was going to be very hard work, but I never realised how hard, until I went to my dream university. It was tougher than I even thought it would be, but I buckled down and gave it my all. This was what I had to do, as I was enrolled on a great fashion course, without even having a foundation degree. It appeared that I must have been good enough.
However, as the terms progressed, it started to go wrong. I was giving so much to my work that I stopped having enough time for myself and my faith. My motivation was waning. I felt physically and emotionally drained. I wanted to leave my course after the first term, because I was so unhappy. Never in my life had I been part of an institution, but felt incredibly out-of-place and that I did not fit in, at all. Feelings of deep sadness and depression were a regular occurrence and I shed many tears, but I continued to persevere.
Despite all these negative emotions, the hardest part of all was feeling that no matter how hard I worked or how many changes I made to my work, I was never good enough. My grades were falling, especially for the design/creative projects, and I felt that I could do nothing to change that, despite taking the feedback from my tutors on board.
It is difficult enough trying to give design tutors what they want, because everyone’s creative mind is different, but it is even harder to find an internship in the fashion industry, especially with limited experience. Searching for an internship to carry out during my placement year was one of my hardest ever endeavours, as I was consistently ignored, rejected or forgotten about. I really wanted a placement in a bridal company, which are quite limited because it is a niche market, but I searched and searched for possible placements. I searched hard for internships, with little help from my placement officer, but to no avail. I was not good enough again, but this time it was for a work placement in a fashion company.
Not finding an internship really knocked my confidence and cut me deeply. I didn’t want to face it and I avoided talking about it at every opportunity. It was incredibly annoying to hear people keep saying, “You’ll be fine, I’m sure you’ll find a placement”, when you just feel like you’ll never be given a chance. Nonetheless, I had to face facts – I wasn’t going on a placement year, but I could not handle going straight to final year. The only option for me was to take a year out, which I never saw myself doing. However, this was what I had to do, otherwise I would have died inside or broken down.
Taking a year out was not going to be easy though. I still needed to find an internship to gain experience, find a job to earn some money and practice my skills at home. This put me into further difficulties. I could not find an internship that I thought may accept me and I did not apply to many out of fear of rejection. I’ve struggled with finding a job and I keep avoiding working on my skills for uni, because I don’t want to face anything in relation to it, and I still don’t feel any better about going into my final year.
But the hardest thing of all is the constant feeling that fashion isn’t for me anymore – well not design anyway – and this scares me, because this is an area of my life where I’ve always been in control. I feel stuck, wondering if I should pursue my passion for writing, go into fashion management or even return to university at all, but I can’t give up now, not after all the work I’ve put in.
I’ve cried many times over these tough decisions and spent a lot of time speaking about it in prayer. It gets to me when my parents put the pressure on me to get a job, when I’ve been trying and they don’t know what I’m feeling. I hate that my friends always want to talk about my situation, when I really have nothing more to say. But more than anything, I hate when my older family members ask or speak to me about my situation like they are disappointed in me or in a judgemental tone.
The place I am in right now is harder for me than they know and they do not realise that the more they speak to me in this way, the more I feel like I am not good enough in their eyes. They do not see the pain behind my smile, the crying in my heart or the feelings of self-doubt in my mind. They do not know that almost every day, I feel like I am not good enough, whether it is in regards to my friends, a guy, my parents, my sister or in this instance, finding a place of work. I wish they could understand me better – in fact, I wish everyone could – but what I really want is to start feeling like I’m good enough, so that others may see it too.
After reading this, I hope everyone will understand how I think and feel just a little bit more. Maybe some of you feel the same way. Feel free to share what’s inside your head below…