Letter From the Editor: Living in the shadow of our own expectations

Anthony Cesario, Editor-in-Chief

So I started writing a novel again.

For friends and family keeping count, this is approximately the 100th time I’ve said that.

Since I was a child, it has been my dream to publish a book. However, being the impatient person and perfectionist I am, I would plan and plan and picture myself as a world-famous author, then when the first plot hole or instance of writer’s block hit, I would become discouraged and give up before I even began. A couple of months later, I would be hit with inspiration again, and the cycle would repeat.

The same thing happened with fencing, a sport that initially excited me. I took it up the summer before sophomore year, but by the end of the year, I had quit — partially because I dreaded lugging around so much equipment, but more because I got incredibly frustrated each time I lost a practice match and felt like I was not at all improving.

The standards we set for ourselves can often get out of control. Whenever I read an amazing page-turner, I would immediately lose confidence and believe I could never write a story as impactful. Each time I went to fencing practice, I was surrounded by kids my age parrying and recovering valiantly, and I hated myself for not being as good. Never mind that these authors and fencers had years of experience on me, and it was illogical to compare myself to them.

This is an issue plaguing Coppell High School. As students, we are wired to compare our grades, extracurriculars and course load to those of our peers, to push ourselves beyond our limits just to be as good as everyone else. But if we base all of our worth on the accomplishments of others — or the accomplishments we expect of ourselves — particularly in activities that are supposed to be for enjoyment, we lose ourselves in the process.

I have currently written about 35,000 words of my novel. That’s pretty impressive, considering I’ve never gotten past the planning stages before, and the only reason I’ve gotten this far is by freeing myself of unnecessary expectations.

We could all use a little less of that weight on our shoulders.

Follow Anthony (@anthonycesario_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.