In an obsessive-compulsive sort of way, I felt overwhelmed. Our tiny, one-bedroom apartment had somehow gone from neat and tidy to mirroring a whirlwind in less than 48 hours. The desk where I usually sit and do homework was buried in a stack of random handouts and at least five different textbooks. In our living room, hundreds of vocabulary flashcards were somehow strewn all up and down our pull-out sleeper. To make matters worse, our bedroom area had been invaded, by fair means or foul, either by a highly skilled army of piled clothes or someone’s highly irresponsible inability to clean up after himself. I mean, I knew my research week was going to be busy, but I sure didn’t foresee any reason the apartment should suddenly refuse its ability to maintain its own order. In utter rebellion for all the ways I had ever cared for it, I couldn’t believe how rude the place had so soon become.
After I realized that the guilty culprit had made himself out to be me, I went from feeling overwhelmed to feeling self-pity. The feeling was the same as when I have felt ugly, useless, slow, or foolish in the past.
Wrestling to correct the problem, my mind recalled a quote hanging in my high school Psychology classroom saying, “The forest would be a very quiet place if the only birds that sang there were those that sang best.” A fog was lifted. I made the simple switch from self-pity to confidence, remembering that my image reflects the one who designed it. From now on, when this emotion strikes, I will determine to do something nice for someone less fortunate than I am.