Tomorrow is the is Miting de Avance of ACOMM, the organization where I currently sit as Vice President for Projects. I know there’s a lot of heart going down tomorrow, especially with more than one person vying for spots. So much has been invested by so many different people this year.
While it moves me to see so much dedication to the org I’ve really grown to love, it also scares me a little, because I know how easy it is to lose yourself midst the titles. So, I’m re-posting something I wrote last year in hopes that you, my fellow orgmates who are reading this, the future of ACOMM, remember that no matter what happens, you remember why you were running in the first place. Good luck!
I dislike titles. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. President. Valedictorian. Director. Deans lister. Lead. Secretary general. Honors. Sumacumlaude. Winner. Loser.
I dislike how they can define you, how they compartmentalize your infinite capabilities with a finite word or phrase. It’s a misleading concept because most of the time you’re either less or more than what was bequeathed to you by someone else, or groups of someone else’s. Then we get consumed by either trying to live up to the title, or prove that we are worth it in the first place.
Back in high school titles played a big part of my life. I wanted to graduate top of my class. I wanted the lead in the school play. I wanted to be President of my class. I wanted this award. I wanted this. I wanted that.
Back then I really wasn’t used to not getting what I wanted. At least not until junior year ended and I didn’t get a couple of things I felt that I was entitled to have. When my ego-self was stripped away of my titles I was left with a no-self. For awhile it made me feel lost. It’s as if these titles were my only self-defining bylines.
Self-entitlement is a hard feeling to overcome when you believe that you deserved what you didn’t get or that you’re just as good as those who did, maybe even better. It’s especially difficult when you firmly believe that good things happen to good people who work hard, and you’re the one with the dark eye bags and a bruised ego.
But really, why do we need these “titles” to feel self-entitled to in the first place? Because it feels good to win. Because it feels good to belong to something. Because it feels good to be affirmed for your talents. And that’s precisely what I dislike about titles the most, because as much as I dislike them, that single phrase does in some way anchor who you are in the world. It makes it easier to steer your life.
For a lot of things we aspire for outside of ourselves ,whether that’s acing a test, winning a competition or getting a job, it’s towards a set of criteria. It recently occurred to me that it might seem unfair at first, to have to mold ourselves to fit and then feeling bad about it afterwards when we don’t. But actually, what’s unfair is thinking there’s only one mold, and defining your worth at how well your key fits their lock. Maybe you’re just knocking on the wrong door of opportunity.
Generally I still dislike titles because they constantly threaten to attack that vulnerable spot in my ego, but I know that it has nothing to do with my true-self. The difference is that titles don’t play the same definitive role they used to play in high school anymore. I work towards my own standards, and if i’m lucky, they coincide with the world’s. For titles only define my ego-self. It’s my true-self that matters.
* Title inspired by Mej Del Rosario
Original post on February 27, 2011