Life as a Machine: Support Systems

I’ve done many things on my own. I learned how to read by myself. I taught myself how to operate a sewing machine. I got good grades in high school and I took all the tests I needed to take to get into college. But sometimes, I don’t give credit to the support systems surrounding me.

The JET Program interview I had last week put my independence in perspective. Without them, there would’ve been things I couldn’t do. I spent four weeks before my interview doing mock interviews with friends, colleagues, peers, and mentors. Although I did my part by being me and coming up with some type of answer, it was them who taught me how to break down questions and realize how to make my personality shine through some tough questions.

The night before the interview, I donned a semi-formal dress for a banquet and tried to forget about the next day. Still, I couldn’t help but bring it up. “I’m so nervous,” I professed to friends and mentors while my hands shivered with excitement. They were the people who told me wholeheartedly not to worry, that I would do fine, and no matter, just be myself. When my mother and my aunt drove up with me to LA, they adjusted my collar before hugging me and saying, “Good luck!” I went in, smiling.

It warms my heart to discover such a system–one that isn’t cold or heart-breaking–exists. You can trust that no matter what happens, what they said is a gift in itself because you can pull it out whenever I feel small. The difficulty I face has always been about trusting my decisions and stepping forward with an unwavering resolve. I’ve become better at handling it, but finding people who care for me unconditionally means the world to me.

I am thankful that whatever happens in the future, I am happy to know that my support systems are there for me. Even if they break down, I am strong enough to stand by myself.