"It's the little things that kill,
tearing at my brains again."
-Little Things, Bush
lyrics by Gavin Rossdale
While in the shower this morning I realized how much of an emotional struggle my life has been. I remembered the time when I was in the 3rd grade and we were doing one of those timed multiplecation tests. On one side there was multiplcation and on the other side was division. I ended up doing the wrong side. By the way I was feeling, you would have thought the world was coming to an end. This burning sensation came up from inside of me and stopped in my throat. My face became red and hot. It took everything I had not to cry in front of the whole class. Instead of just settling for the F, which only my teacher and I would know about, I raised my hand and explained what I had done. Turns out I shouldn't have worried so much. I was fine. My teacher understood that I had made an honest mistake.
This feeling I had inside, caused by embarrassment, whether my peers ever knew what was going on or not, happens to me at what I believe to be frequent intervals. I always feel like I've done something incredibly bad, or irresponsible, and because of it, my life, or more realistically, my future career or semester grades are going to be done with. Most of the time it turns out like the above situation. No one really notices and everything turns out okay. After thinking about this, I realized that maybe I'm the one, not the world or the situations I've been in, who is causing all the stress in my life. I've never been one who feels compelled to commit a felony and I have, for the most part, stayed out of trouble. Maybe this is why I fear these small, and usually honest, mistakes. Essentially, I'm afraid of getting into trouble, and more so than anyone I know. Now, my first question is, how do I get over these things? How to I brush off these mistakes and relieve myself of a lot of unnecessary stress? I had not even reached a conclusion on these questions when I came to the second big question: Is sweating the small stuff what got me to where I am today? Think about it. We can all show up to class, but only those who study for the exam are going to get a good grade. And those who study really hard are going to get the best grade or the extra 5 bonus points from correctly answering the bonus question.
This takes me back to my sophomore year in high school. I was in the honors classes. The year before I had been at a prestigious all-girls school in the city where my 9th grade English teacher had a Ph.D. After my parents moved me to the rural town where they grew up because they wanted to raise their family in accordance with small town values (or some bull crap like that), I was one of the most advanced students in the sophomore class, if not the whole school. Well, that year, at my new country high school, my sophomore English teacher tested us on Julius Ceasar. On the test, one of the questions was "How many times was Ceasar stabbed?" Well, I didn't know. I didn't think that was relevant or important information. Therefore, I overlooked that tiny detail while studying. So, during the test I took my best educated guess. I figured he was stabbed once by every person who was present at his death. Therefore, he was stabbed as many times as there were people in the room (I had an exact number, but I can't remember it now... this was like 8 years ago). Nope. Wrong. The answer was like 21, which was more than the number of characters in the scene. Where did this number come from? Why is this important to the study of Shakespear? I didn't know the answer to that, but what I did know, is that if I would have made the effort to research the small stuff, I would have recieved a better grade on the test, and possibly a better grade in the class, which would have increase my overall GPA. Do you see how the small stuff matters?
I don't know what the exact point of this entry is. What I can tell you is that I've beeen having these stressful feelings of public embarassment more often since I've been in law school, and this is only my fifth week! Maybe it is good that I'm sweating the small stuff and not overlooking anything that seems simple and non-important, but really is the important detail. However, maybe it means that I'm making more mistakes than I'm suppose to and the aggregate effects will cost me gravely in the end. I don't know. Right now, the only thing I can do is to take preventative action. It may seem like a lot of work or take a lot of time just to understand or learn an obscure detail or lesson, but it is worth it if in the end if I never have that awful feeling again.