Creative: Describe a moment in your life where, like Marner you have been horrified, shocked by the loss of something that has been desperately dear to you. (In Marner’s case it was his gold)
Hubris. Do you know what that is? I didn’t, not until studying drama. I didn’t know until then that the Greeks had a word for pride before we gave pride its proper name. But that’s exactly what it is, a swelling, overwhelming, foolish feeling of pride. It’s both an angel and devil, sitting on your shoulder. It motivates you, but overwhelms you.
I think there’s a certain sense of elevation when enrolling in certain subjects at school that are labelled as ‘nerdy’ subjects. It should be mentioned, that I am in love with English. Not necessarily the language, but the study of English literature itself. I lived and breathed books, literally. I was constantly out of money because it just went towards books to fill up my bookshelf with. So, it was a given that I enrolled to take up not only Advanced English, but English Extension One and Two. However, because of this excessive amount of English that I was studying, I developed an amazing sense of pride over my favourite subject.
Don’t get me wrong, I was good at it. My grades weren’t perfect but they were something to be extremely happy with. Yet I let the little angel/devil on my shoulder tell me that I was more than just good at it. In fact, I found it easy. I held this mindset throughout Year 11 and into my second assignment, where not only was I confident in my ability to conjure up an essay out of thin air, but it was an analysis of one of my favourite films. I worked hard on that essay, but in very little time. But I really enjoyed the subject, why shouldn’t I get top marks? My inflated ego let me believe that I’d pass with flying colours. I remember submitting that assignment, and the grin that spread across my face. I felt unstoppable, like I was only gaining more and more wisdom as I went along. I felt almost… powerful. It was like I was collecting top marks left and right. After all, the year had so far given me a streak of impressive scores across all my English subjects.
Receiving results however, was a different story. The thud of my five-page-essay on my table was as light as a feather until I realised the weight of a fail on the top of the paper. Scribbled in red ink, it felt like the blood in my veins had been drawn out and splattered out in front of me; my entire life force just felt… drained. I remember blinking profusely, thinking my contact lenses were playing up on me. It was a speck of dust caught in the idle, surely. Or some weird reflection of light. No amount of blinking or turning the paper could minimise the cut that paper had on my now-deflated pride. My streak of amazing grades was broken. Unable to process it, it took me weeks of talking to my teacher to work out how I ended up in such a miserable place. Imagine raising a child for 17 years, and right before they’re legally allowed to go off on their own, you’re told you cannot look after that child anymore. I felt that part of me that I had nurtured and raised throughout my education ripped from my grasp, ripped from my neat little folders and swallowed by a gaping black hole of shame.
I think that bad experience was enough to tame my pride. Not destroy it, just control it. Pride isn’t a bad thing, I won’t tell you that, but it slaps you in the face and tells you to wake up. It just does it in a way that we need, not the way we’d want it to.