"I just want you to be happy. I just want you to do what's best for you."
That's all fine and dandy, but I think subconsciously, as I weaseled my way out of my bright future, I wanted one person to look at me with determination and disappointment and say, "I expected better of you." I wanted one person to be completely and totally selfish and say straight to my face, "What you're running to isn't worth what you're throwing away."
I think I would've stayed.
I live a life of lowered expectations. From myself and from everyone else. I always have. I was never punished for having low grades, I was never grounded for not winning something or missing some important date. I was encouraged to do my best, whatever my best may have been or what I thought my best was.
Please know I do not blame anyone but myself for these shortcomings, I'm merely working out what has been eluding me, which is, because I think I'm incapable of achieving my own high standards, I either set myself up for failure, or disappoint those who would see the most promise in me. I preemptively disappoint those I admire the most to save them the bigger disappointment my future actions might cause. Someone expects me to get an A, I get a B+. Someone expects me to come in first, I come in second.
I do this even to myself. I resign myself to slipping by onto third to save myself the failure of working for first and losing it. Part of this is inherent laziness, but most of it is pure and simple basic fear. I fear major failure, so I set myself up for minor disappointment to cushion the blow. I take third place, telling myself I would have never gotten first anyway...even though I really wanted it. I hold myself back from being the best for fear of being mediocre and never realizing it.
It is only now, in this late hour, that I realize that to fail is to learn a different way to succeed.