Friday, 30 October 2015

What if?

Have you ever had the thing you wanted the most in the palm of your hands, only to have it slip  away in a blink of an eye?

A few months ago I decided that it was time for me to put all my insecurities aside and try out for a job I've always admired, but never had the guts to admit I did. To get into the Air Force.

Let's put it this way, last year I decided I wanted to try to be a flight attendant. I got through all the exams and interviews, even went to an Emirates open day, and got called back to do a course of roughly 5 weeks. I was ecstatic for a while and everyone was proud of me. But it wasn't what I wanted, not really.

My cousin had gotten into the Air Force a couple years back. We're only a few months apart, and she's more like a sister to me than a cousin really. We grew up being compared constantly. It's what families do, right? So when she got in, I would get the usual "you wouldn't be able to handle it" or "what about you?" comment and I'd simply laugh it out. That's what I do, I laugh things out. Or roll my eyes. But in the back of my mind I'd be like - yes, me too. And what is this about you thinking I wouldn't be able to handle it? Don't be stupid.


So, a few months back, on a car journey with my aunt, I turned to her and asked "Do you think, if I tried out, I'd get in?" and she said yes. Sometimes the only thing you need is to have someone, other than yourself, believe in you so you can snap out of it and get your ass going.

And we did. The following week I sent out my application, a month or so afterwards I got a call back - the try outs were starting. They usually last a few days - you have a day for the physical exams, two days for the psychometric exams which include an interview at the end of the second day, and the last day are the medical exams. You only know you're going to the next phase if you pass the one you're currently on.

I passed all of the them. I even got to the whole 'oath' side of things. The next phase would be waiting to find out whether I would get called back to do the recruit.

This is where I was extremely naive. And stupid.
I thought that was it - I could finally breath, I was pretty confident in myself. I had been fortunate enough to spend those few days with people I still keep in touch with. I also told everyone, especially those who had doubted me from the start.

Usually when you get through all of those stages, if you don't get in right away, you'll get on the 'waiting list' - this either means that if one gives up during the first week of recruitment, you might have the chance to get called back as a replacement, or you'll have to wait for the next recruitment month (Which means you don't have to go through the try outs again.).

Then I got a call saying they were sorry but my degree wasn't good enough for what I had applied to and I wasn't eligible after all. And to try again next year. Meaning, I had to go through all of those stages again with the embarrassment that I had been denied the first time. Not because I wasn't good enough, but because my degree wasn't. If the person who got in my place gives up, I won't even get called to go instead. I simply don't exist to them anymore. I'm not even an option. I'm sort of the chewed gum on the sole of their shoe.

I felt my world crumbling down. I had a dream ripped away simply because of a degree. Like, what the hell? I never felt so stupid in my life as I did in that moment. And I'm not a crier but that day, I cried it the fuck out. Let's call it a bundle of emotions - stress, disappointment, sadness.

I'm still thinking about it. I mean, if it had all gone well, I would be starting on Monday.

I had finally been able to breath, to dream, to plan things out. I was calm and genuinely happy, I would have a job, a job I knew I' love and I'd be okay. Life wasn't so bad after all. These are the things that still 'haunt' me. Now I have nothing. I'm limited to sending out curriculums to places I probably won't like, to do things I won't enjoy as much and I'll always be plagued with the terrifying 'What ifs'.

What if I had gotten in, where would I be? What if I was there right now, what kinds of things would I be doing?

I keep thinking, some people have it worse. I got far, I should be proud of myself. I accomplished something a lot of people didn't think I would be able to. That was a slap in their face. Well, I got slapped right back. Hell, I'm allowed to hurt too, yes? I don't have anything figured out anymore. There's nothing to look forward to. My dream was taken away when I was so so damn close.

Disappointment hurts. Knowing you could have had another future hurts. I could still try out yes, but that's only next year. And in the mean time? What do I do?

I'm not giving up, but still, at 22, believing your life is screwed up screws with your head.

Ella x


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