I’m not special, neither are you

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph | Staff Writer Soondos Mulla-Osman argues that your “gifts” mean nothing unless you challenge yourself.

Rejection letters. Waitlists. Unanswered emails. No callbacks. I’d like to think we all have our egos fed at one point. We probably sometimes tell ourselves, at least subconsciously, that we have a faint shot at succeeding in the things we attempt. One person will look at you or your application and see the “special” thing in you. They’ll pluck you specifically from the trash heap, not the other Joes, because they’ll see that one redeeming thing you see in yourself—the thing that makes you stand out.

It’s a baseless, arrogant and futile belief. First of all, that “one special thing” you might see in yourself doesn’t exist. Allowing yourself to believe that it does, even with that thought tucked away in the crevices of unreality and tapped into for the sole purpose of instilling dopamine-born glimmers of hope, will tear you down more than it would build you up.

I was one hell of a cocky kid. I went to a super small private school in which having blue eyes was a complete anomaly because of student demographics, and yours truly happened to have them. I often got compliments on how pretty they were. What else could I have felt other than a little special? To make things even better, I’m left-handed—even though there is no known history of that occurring in my family. This alone came with all sorts of perks—having special reversed desks just for me, special scissors and special assistant teachers who would come to me during physical education classes and demonstrate to me the mirrored version of what the actual teacher was doing.

It was great. It was awful. It was both. I had been wanting to pursue some sort of creative career for as long as I can remember, and a belief that had been widely popular for a long time is that left-handed people are “more creative.” I also had pretty notable ADHD until about puberty. It made me feel like an outright Percy Jackson character when my middle school language arts teacher encouraged me by saying that kids with ADHD were very gifted in creativity.

The thing is, I believed it—I believed everything. All the special treatment, all the praise, I soaked it up. I became convinced that there was no way I could get turned down in anything. I would be that one prodigious prospect, and rejection letters would be mere distant fairytales to me. I would achieve the things I tried because the existence of my “natural gifts” meant I was entitled to have positions and fame handed to me. I was supposed to get them, and if I didn’t, it was wrong. It was a mistake on their part.

As I found out the hard way, this had all been my single grandest self-delusion.
My traits are nothing. My conditions are nothing. Every bit about every one of my circumstances is nothing. It’s good for them to be nothing, and they should remain nothing, because they all mean nothing by themselves.

A $5,000 treadmill will do nothing for you if you don’t step onto it and jack that speed up to your limit. I used my “natural gifts” as an excuse for me to rarely practice and challenge myself. I would tell myself I didn’t need to spend as much time on those things as other people because I already had what it took. I was already better than everyone else. This logic is clearly fatally flawed for many reasons, but it was especially self-destructive because it meant that I would never have any hope of reaching my full potential.

If you want to get noticed, if you want to get recognized, throw your entitled delusions out the window, put on your gloves and work your ass off just like everyone else who want what you want just as much as you do—if not more. I’m not inherently special, and neither are you, but with enough dedication, you just might prove yourself.

Soondos Mulla-Osman is a junior DIFT and English double major. She is a writer staff for the Newswire from Cincinnati.