You’ve envied them all your life- those students who just seem to nail it every time.
Things seem to be so easy for them. They live in an academic world with zero gravity. Even if the heavy spacesuits of illness, distraction or other activities pull them down for a bit, they’re up and about by the time the next test comes along, soaring even higher than before.
Those A’s on their report cards are like little thorns that pierce you every time you even hear of them.
No, I’m not one of those kids whose parents point out the A’s on others’ transcripts. I’m not buckling under the pressure to get straight A’s. I don’t listen to Simple Plan’s ‘Perfect’ again and again, just because I can relate to the lyrics- I’m sorry I can’t be perfect…
Nope. No. I’m not your heroic Oh-My-God-Why-Does-Everyone-Want-Me-To-Be-Perfect-Do-I-Not-Have-The-Right-To-My-Own-Life teenager who dresses up her red-rimmed-from-crying eyes with tons of black eyeliner and obstinately hands in a report card that proclaims that she falls in the lowest-scoring ten percent in the class, then goes up to her room and slams the door, yelling at her parents to dare her to be somebody she’s not. Nope, I’m not the heroine here.
I tend to get straight A’s. And I think I have a better idea of how spiky the first letter of the English alphabet can really be.
Really. Acing that test doesn’t make your life perfect.
You receive your result. Of course, your best friends are the first ones to find out.
Yes, they’ll congratulate you. They’ll tell you how they always believed in you; how they knew you could do it. They wrap you in warm, bone-crushing bear hugs, and good-humouredly pat you on the back.
But, even though you’re dazed with relief, almost drunk, you don’t miss it. You can’t miss it- that look in your friends’ eyes. The one that says, ‘I’m happy for you. I just wish I were you.’ You can’t deny it. It’s there. It’s natural for them to feel that way. You know you would, too. But it’s painful nonetheless.
Then come the chidings- “You were worrying for nothing. There was no need to worry so much. You get straight A’s. Now shut up.” Yeah, of course. You’re superhuman. Telepathic. Of course, you just knew you’d be getting straight A’s, right? A stands for Antidepressants. Duh.
And then, all of a sudden, you’re unrelatable. You can’t comfort anybody, because (supposedly) you don’t know what failure feels like. You become ‘too good’. Intimidating, almost. “You got straight A’s. Leave me alone. Let my wounds heal.” Of course, nobody believes you when you say that grades don’t change things much. What would you know? You got the good grades. Nothing has changed for you.
Yep. Straight A’s can get you into Harvard, but they can estrange you from your friends.
So much for a ‘perfect’ life.