Last night Katherine and I took a filing cabinet that we purchased the day before and started going through old files so we knew which ones to put in the cabinet and which ones to recycle.
I came across my old oral examination files. My acceptance to the oral exams notification. My list of files they requested when I presented myself at the examination center. My results. My better luck next time packet.
I'd kept all those things because they reminded me how close to something that really mattered I'd gotten. Don't give up, they urged.
It was with a heavy heart and a few tears that I let them go. I remember my interviewers sitting down with me after I didn't pass the oral exam years ago. How impressed they were with me they said. Keep trying, they advised. But I'm not. I'm not trying any more. That road has never opened up for me since then. Not even a glimmer of hope. Just the disappointment of passing the written exam time after time and being told "No." without any explanation as to why not.
The work people in the State Dept do to me is beautiful. I'm sure some of them are goobers, but many of them are some of the finest people this country has got. It would have been an honor to serve among them and hang my hat there.
It is with the deepest regret that I withdraw from the field, having come and gone so many times. The possibility that perhaps there was some way I could have succeeded pains me too much to really fathom. So why not persevere and keep trying? I don't know, really. Maybe it feels like letting go will free me from the melancholy this eager effort has always carried with it. Maybe learning to let things go instead of assuming that success is inevitable with time will help me better live in accordance to the truth, instead of an arrogant falsehood.
Maybe it's because inside me that conviction that I had a place there is all but gone, and only rekindled when I looked at those documents. These documents wouldn't let me move on. They kept me trapped in a mirage that felt almost real. When I took the exams it felt like *this* time it will work. I believed it. To others this may seem like a laughably trivial thing to get so worked out about. Maybe it is.
But it was real for me. And it breaks my heart to let it go.
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