I had really good Chinese speaking and language comprehension as a kid. I was always in the advanced classes and had classmates who were in junior high or high school when I was only a 5th grader.
I didn’t understand the maturity and behavior of those older kids, but I did see that she was perfect on everything she did. Every single test she scored perfect on. I eventually gave up on keeping up with her, as she was untouchable with her test scores and everything else that we are evaluated on in life.
The entire Chinese school gossiped about how she scored perfect on the PSAT, SAT, and that she was going to MIT. She was on full scholarship and was just perfect in every way. Even her stunning height and model-esque features of physical beauty went along perfectly with her academic resume.
Fast forward to 2010, my other classmate, Cathy, told me that Margaret had committed suicide. I was in disbelief at first, because Cathy and I were a mess on the outside. I always got in trouble, and she was always a social misfit who didn’t fit in….yet, we were the last two standing in the 3 girls from the original class.
Upon pondering it further, I wasn’t surprised. I looked at how much energy and work it took for me to be perfect, and I wasn’t even close to measuring up to Margaret. I think sometimes when one is perfect, there can be enormous stress and self demand imposed on oneself.
Personally, I truly believe Margaret wanted out. She wanted all the madness and exhaustion to end. And I don’t blame her. She was operating a perfect framework of upholding her reputation, and it had to be tiring.
I’ve been trying to look at how I run my life, and I realize I have many nuances of my life that are “Margaret-esque.” I’ve been very unforgiving of myself in the past, and incredibly demanding. I’ve listened to the critic far too long.
It’s time to free myself.
A good friend of mine also said something incredibly deep about all of this, something definitely worth sharing here:
“Do you want to hold your humanity on the outside of who you are, or on the inside?
Do you want to work hard to submerge your queerness under a veneer of perfect or normal, or do you want to let it be on the surface and keep what is within strong and potent?
There are lots of reasons people choose to look right on the surface and keep their own human quirks buried, but it’s usually to meet the expectations of others who are so shallow that they can’t see the depths of humanity.
Demanding denial to show a face you believe others will love means that you can’t love the messy, human you at your heart.
Listen to yourself, gorgeous. Breathe and listen to your instinct, your wit, your heart.”
Very wise words of wisdom to live by and follow.