To my former Sith Lord self,
Written by Sara Harless
First of all, I’d like to say that I’m sorry that everything hurts. The career you spent the past three years building has fallen apart and everything feels lost. Your depression is back in all her anxiety-causing, hopeless, defeating glory. While you lay in bed paralyzed with the thought that you are a failure, she dances around you singing your shortcomings.
You know that you need to get up and do something to try to resolve this, but your depression is suffocating, and it won’t let you move. If this finds you on one of the days that salty tears are streaming silently down your face while you try to hide your meltdown from your boyfriend in the other room, please find comfort in how much he loves and supports you, even when he doesn’t understand.
As rejection letters fill your inbox and tissue boxes empty themselves around you, you are going to feel that you have lost your identity, because in your mind, right now, your identity has been one with your success.
You’re the girl that made it out of a small town with $200 and no help, who put yourself through school and got a job doing something you love. Now you’re the girl who has played Stardew Valley for a month straight because you couldn’t bring yourself to do anything else. The girl who complains and whines and curses the people that did this to you and who knows none of this is helping but can’t seem to do anything about it.
I wish I could push through the fog of your depression to tell you to look past the surface of those successes, but you’re not going to be able to until your boyfriend, in response to your nightly lamentations says to you “only Siths deal in absolutes.”
This nerdy statement is where you will realize that you have only given yourself the options of Success and Failure and left no room for yourself to be a non-perfect human.
You’re going to realize, finally, that your identity wasn’t in the successes you had, but instead in your unyielding determination, your curiosity and dedication to learning, your resilience in the face of hardships, and in your empathy for others.
You will recognize this moment for what it is: a setback. Then you’re going to get back up and put yourself out there even though the fear of more rejection is still a raw and open wound. Within six months of this realization you will take yourself to a place in your career you thought you wouldn’t reach for years.
Most of all, you will know that life in the grey area is where growth happens and this is going to have the wonderful side effect of making you unafraid of the future. You will walk away from this experience knowing with a calming certainty that should you fall down again, you will catch yourself and grow from it in the process.
A wiser Jedi Knight bringing balance to the Force
Sara Harless is a User Experience Developer and Illustrator. After growing up on a farm in the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains, she moved to Texas where she spends most of her time hiding from the sun. Sara is a published poet who loves to read, is an avid gamer and enjoys writing front-end code. She believes that User Experience and empathy go hand-in-hand and should extend beyond the web to impact everything we do. Sara lives in Austin, Texas with her boyfriend and dog.