So, my absolutely biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest failure in life is getting fired from Cornell University, which happened in 2015. Cornell was my very first job right out of college. I was supposed to graduate from college and then go be an assistant to the professors at a summer course on black studies and black art history at Cornell University. Then I was going to move to New Jersey with this kid Sammy, one of my best friends from high school, and start a grad school program in fashion studies at Parsons--The New School for Design. That plan kind of got thrown to the wind when, barely week into training for Cornell, I got fired.
It's been two years almost to the day exactly since the firing, and my life has honestly been a mess, an experience of aporia and anomia, since then. I have really struggled to know how to define myself, how to function and socialize, how to get up in the morning, how to really live since then. I have at times tried putting the Cornell experience on my resume, and I have at times tried the approach of taking it off my resume and hiding it. I have been so utterly confused and bewildered, not knowing what to do. Feeling very numb. Dissociating from reality. That means pretending that what is around you is not real, is not there. It's sad because I really spent most of 2016 honestly just hiding in bed and wishing I was not alive. It's only recently that I have started therapy and have started on a path toward reclaiming a healthier, more integrated self.
The essence of BPD, or borderline personality disorder, is that you had a fucked-up childhood experience, which I did, were chronically mishandled by your parents, which I was, and therefore have trouble socializing in a normal way as an adult, which I do. People with this condition have trouble finding the happy medium in friendships and relationships. We are either too intense, outpouring all of our emotions at once in a way that can be overwhelming for the other individual, or too internally dead and emotionally vacuous, devastated by experiences of rejection or perhaps closing ourselves off from other people for fear of being hurt again. I have been misdiagnosed as other things from time to time, but I am fairly certain that I have BPD.
I was fired from Cornell during one of my intense emotional outpouring phases. I remember feeling a lot of anger and having explosive outbursts that were upsetting to my coworkers and that definitely were not appropriate for someone who wanted to be in a role model/ leadership position like becoming a Cornell staffer/ junior faculty member. I consider this firing experience one of my biggest failures in life. It just wasn't part of the plan, and I don't fully know how to recover from it. Since the firing, I have transitioned from pursuing a career in fashion and art history to pursuing a career in finance. I am definitely on a path to earning way more money than I ever would have earned if I had continued on the path I was on before. I have gotten into one of the best universities in the world for graduate school. I have met new friends whom I am so grateful to have met. Yet I still have trouble accepting my life since Cornell as okay, as anything more than a cosmic freak accident.
BPD can be successfully treated and completely cured, that is the good news. The treatment for BPD is called dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. I have a great therapist who is kind of walking me through the steps that are involved in DBT. One day Cornell will be a distant memory in the past. For now, though, yeah, it's one of my biggest failures and tragedies in life.