Im rather appalled when I think of it at how dead my brain has become

It feels like it’s been far too long since I’ve used it at all

I can feel it’s definitely worse for lack of use. It’s essentially like a muscle that needs to be worked or it gets weak

The other day I was having trouble getting my brain to absorb information from my psychology homework. But I decided that if I was going to procrastinate, I might as well procrastinate in a “productive” way. So I opened up my folder full of my novel drafts – finished and unfinished – and plans, with the goal of finding something to work on.

I was – and I can’t find a better word for this – rather amazed by what I’d done. Don’t get me wrong. My work is nothing to shout about and needs much improvement. But … I had written novels. I had written multiple novels. There were a lot of words and a lot of effort put into them.

I couldn’t imagine doing that now. I struggle to write a paragraph of fiction … how am I supposed to write 50,000 words? And yet I did it and I can only imagine the focus and determination that went into it.

I was inspired to brush up on my French language (pretty much non existent at this point) and I remembered how I passed three years worth of French … how I completed Duolingo and was attempting to read classic French stories like Sylvie.

I can introduce myself and order food now (badly). That’s about it. And every time I resolve to learn it for real this time, the resolve lasts a week at most.

I could go on with these examples … how I listen to my old songs from 2015 and haven’t written a full one for months … how I was learning the piano and reached Grade 3 and would sit there for hours learning new pop songs but I can barely muster up the effort to remember how to play my own songs now … how I used to write fricking English essays for fun and I haven’t put a word to my essay for my upcoming exam.

In short, I’ve stopped trying. I give up so so easily. At the slightest sign of difficulty, at the slightest blank of my mind, at the slightest suggestion that my brain will have to work, I run. I shut my laptop. I switch to facebook. I go to bed. I. Give. Up.

I’ve lost resilience and my brain is losing strength. I’m terrible at focusing. You don’t understand how huge the temptation is to switch the tab from this post and go to social media instead, or watch a video.

Yes, social media plays a huge part. I can’t deny it any longer. It does. I still can find a million ways to procrastinate without it … but it gets boring much faster. And there comes a point when my own thoughts interest me more than no thoughts at all … when working my brain becomes entertainment. But with social media, I am constantly entertained by a barrage of …. stuff … that I have little incentive to use any form of entertainment that would require effort. It’s too easy now.

That said, eventually social media too can become rather repetitive and I do feel the urge for something different. I long to stretch my brain … even as I panic because it’s hard and it makes my brain hurt.

Mostly, I need to learn to stop giving up and that’s more a case of willpower than anything else. It’s a mentality that if you start something, you goddamn finish it. No excuses. Because that’s how you progress.

Grades? Ouch

Worthless. Useless. Stupid. 

I can’t stop the voices in my head. I don’t know where it happened but somewhere along the way my self worth got tied up with my grades. I know it’s nonsensical but I feel the misery fall over me anyway. 

Maybe it’s because I used to have the impression that schoolwork was all around easy, so now that my grades are slipping, I’m mad at myself because this is not supposed to be hard. And I know what that must mean … I am stupid.

Maybe it’s because I’m not pretty and I suck at sports. So … schoolwork. Grades. I decided I’d be the “nerd” – the “smart one”. Maybe not so much in those words, but that became my niche. It was something I was good at … something to be proud of.

Maybe it’s because I have a fierce sense of independence and want a scholarship badly so that my parents don’t have to pay for me. And that means …. grades, grades, grades.

Maybe it’s because I used to have better grades and everyone expects them from me because I’m smart. So now that maybe I’m not quite so smart anymore … something must be wrong. I can’t simply be a normal person intellectually who happened to do well in some assignments. 
It must be that I’ve been lazy.

And it’s rather true. I haven’t studied half as much as I could have. If I’d studied more, would I have gotten better grades? Maybe. Probably. 

Shouldn’t I just study harder then? That’s the answer, isn’t it … study so hard that I HAVE to achieve full marks and I escape that debilitating sense of failure?

There are some people who just don’t seem to care about grades. There are some people … I can’t imagine them going home and staring at textbooks miserably because they thought I should have studied more. I am a useless person. I wish that I could be like those people. 

Good grades are … good, I suppose. They can show you are a hard worker. They typically show you have skills such as critical thinking and a good memory. And, they lead the way to university, which can lead to higher paying jobs and an intellectually stimulating and informative experience. 

But …. it’s so frickin hard to aim for good grades. Heck, it’s hard to get good grades for the majority of people. But then, to get good grades you typically have to study. And to find motivation to study, you need to have big dreams. 

Big dreams like … “I want good grades.”

But big dreams are like a weight around your neck. The sheer pressure of it all can break you. Big dreams … they can crush you.

You can’t control grades … not entirely. And if you don’t achieve the grade you were aiming for, or if you don’t get full marks, or whatever – you’re not a failure. 

But you still feel like one. I know I do. 

In an ideal world, we would judge our performances and ourselves solely on whether we did the best we could … or we did better than we did before. But that can’t be quantified. 

Some people are ok with grades. Some people even thrive on them. But they can be dangerous. There’s the good about grades, and the bad … and then there’s the ugly.