Ashlee's Story Shame In Expectations

When I think of shame I don’t always know how to define it. Google defines it as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior”.

I remember when I graduated high school and was deciding what my next step would be.

I did not want to go to college, but I wanted to move out of my parent’s house. I had a lot of friends who were moving a few hours away to a college town.

I decided to move with them, and I made a lot of new friends as well upon arriving.

I spent my days working and my nights hanging out and going to parties with friends. Hardly any of the parties involved drinking or anything crazy, but some people were so baffled that I would “party” on a school night.

Like I mentioned before, I did not have a desire to go to college. I had a great job, making better salary than many of my college graduate peers. I felt like I was doing great things with my life.
That is, until I started hearing what people were saying.

People were talking about how I was wasting my life by not going to college and just partying my early adulthood away.

When I first started hearing it I did not know what to think. I wanted more than anything to defend myself. I worked hard. I worked every day.
I wanted different things than everyone who was in college in the town, but now I felt so much shame for having different dreams than everyone else.

At first I defended these things, but after a while I started to feel as though I should feel shame for not being in college. Fall semester rolled around and I felt so bad about what people were saying about me, that I decided I would enroll in fall classes.

I was doing something I did not want to do, spending $5,000 only to combat a shameful feeling that judgmental people had put on me. That semester was the worst three months of my life.

My relationships failed, my effort at work slacked, and so did my grades.

I was not in a place that I needed to be.

Lucky for me it only took me one semester to realize that I was not doing this for myself and that I needed to stop wasting my time and money on something I had no desire to do.

At first that was hard because I knew what people were going to start saying again, but my happiness was more important.

I started focusing more on work and really investing my time there.

A few weeks ago I was able to have an experience that really made my decision feel right.

There was a job that became available at the company I work at as a Project Manager of Engineering.

The job posting was looking for someone with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, something I did not have, I applied anyways. I interviewed with three different people.

In my final interview the hiring manager said to me, “we know you do not have a college degree, which would be very helpful in the position. What we do know is that you are one of the hardest workers we have ever had at our company. You are a quick learner and we are confident that you can handle any task that is presented.”
After that they offered me the job.

I am glad that I didn’t listen to the terrible things people were saying about me being less than them because I did not attend college.

I am glad that I was able to prove to myself that I had what it takes by doing what I wanted to do and what I knew was best for myself.
I am glad that I did not let the shame of feeling like I wasn’t meeting others expectations, control my course of life.


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