In an attempt to get to know me better during (what I thought was) a casual conversation, one of the editors at my internship asked me, “Liv, what has been your biggest accomplishment in life so far?”
And I was automatically speechless. My mind wandered but there wasn’t anything memorable that I wanted to bring up to him, so I simply shrugged my shoulders.
“Think about it and get back to me,” he said.
So, I went home on that rainy Monday afternoon and I thought about it. I drove myself crazy, sifting through almost a hundred journals that I have filled up over the years with my quirky thoughts.
I’ve been doing this sort of unconventional thing since I was 13, where I write in a journal everyday (well, most days) and when I’m finished with my entry I put a small “W” for win or a small “L” for loss on the top of the page. At the end of the year, I rip out all of the pages that have an “L” placed at the top, and I either burn them or tear them up.
As I was looking back through my journals, I realized that it was difficult to distinguish what was really an accomplishment, if I couldn’t compare it to my worst days. An entry about a good day at school seems miniscule when I can’t read about how I had an awful anxiety attack just the day before.
Needless to say, I’ve decided to keep all of my journal entries from this year on, but I was still on a search for my biggest accomplishment.
My search then took me to all of the articles I’ve ever written. From sophomore year of high school to now my final semester at Mercy College, I looked at them all. But the answer wasn’t there. Sure, I’ve written some amazing pieces but are any of them my biggest accomplishment? Sadly, no.
When I got to my internship that Friday, he smiled and asked me if I had figured it out yet.
I told him I needed more time and he said not to stress it too much, but for me, it was my top priority.
The day went by in a blink of an eye and it was on my hour-long commute that my mind wandered to dark places.
Maybe I haven’t accomplished anything; maybe I never will.
I went back to my internship exhausted and completely defeated. I explained to him that I haven’t accomplished anything that notable. I didn’t have anything to tell him.
And all he did was shake his head.
“You’re thinking about it way too much. Step back from it and think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be a thing.”
What did he mean by outside of the box? This is about me, why would I think outside of myself?
And then, it hit me. He meant that it didn’t have to be an exact moment, but more of an overall feeling or a culmination of moments.
I am my biggest accomplishment – I thought to myself.
I know, that may not make sense, but it’s the most logical thing to me.
Being a strong woman is tough, even in 2018. There are still people that don’t view women as equal and we are still fighting for our rights.
Just last year I had a guy tell me that, “smart women aren’t attractive.”
And at that moment, I stood up for myself, and for all of the smart women in the world. I told him that it’s fine to feel threatened by my intelligence, but eventually when he has a daughter of his own, he will praise her for being an intellectual.
I’ve stood up for myself on dozens of occasions, whether it was changing my major to something I was passionate about even though everyone told me “I would never make any money,” or writing a column about how reproductive rights should be left up to women and only women.
I walked into my internship with the biggest smile on my face. I finally figured it out, and I was so excited to tell him.
“I’m a strong woman – that’s my biggest accomplishment. Being a fierce woman and standing up for what I believe in is the part of myself I’m most proud of.”
“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” he responded. “Congratulations.”
My biggest accomplishment has always been right in front of me.