It is such a loaded word, a large word. It can mean a number of things, but for me, it has been a word that has been in my mind often. Inadequacies are something I have faced throughout my whole life, in one form or another.
I come from an Asian household, my mother is fairly conservatives while my siblings having been born and raised in the UK are more open and settled in. I like to think I am the same way, settled in and ‘born and bred’ British citizen. In fact when people ask me where I am from I never say Bangladesh, because that is essentially what they are asking. I don’t really connect with Bangladesh, not really. I say Essex and then my town, it is usually when I am pressed and the person clarifies themselves that I say my family is from Asia because that is what they are really after.
Returning back to the word inadequate, it has been something that has plagued me throughout my whole life. Partly due to my heritage, I never felt I fit in with my friends at school or elsewhere, I tried to but there was always something in my mind that kept me apart. That’s where the word first started to form in my mind, I am for some reason inadequate.
I was never really smart in school, I was actually pretty dumb. I was in the bottom ‘set’ for every class in school and only received one GCSE grade C, while the rest were Ds and Es. Not bad because they are still GCSEs and I achieved them, but in my mind they were inadequate. My team leader at work said I should be proud of them because I still achieved something.
This has also been apparent with my home life, my family I have never really ‘connected’ with. My siblings are really close, but I am always on the outside. In conversations, I would feel left out, or I would intentionally leave myself out because I didn’t grasp everything. It is also likely because they just talked to each other more than I did with them, and perhaps the age range between them. But that can’t be too much of an issue, my older brother has a 9 year age gap between him and my eldest, yet they are very close. It could also be the language barrier, I know Bengali very well, but as the years have gone by my grasp of it has slipped, mainly because I use English 90% of the time and only use Bengali with my mum and other family members. Still the word inadequate pops into my mind, I feel this time at my own violation. Because there was a way for me to avoid this, perhaps if I participated in the family a bit more, made an effort to retain the language more than I have done so or some other way.
Again when I was younger this could largely be attributed to me being pretty dumb, I didn’t grasp a lot of things even in my teenage years that maybe I should have. Looking back at it, it is all a blur with random images popping up. I would get into trouble often, but sometimes I wasn’t in the wrong. It was just the way my family was, but it cemented the fact that I was inadequate.
In my college years, this probably led to my anxiety, like I didn’t belong. I would feel like everyone on a bus was looking at me and judging me, finding me wanting. I would stand by the bus stop and feel like I didn’t belong out here because some part of me was lacking. In my late teens and early twenties, I attributed this to my confidence, because it was very low, along with my self-esteem. At the time I did classes for confidence and improve classes to battle that, and I did to a certain extent. One little win for me, I guess.
However still through my twenties, I was plagued by this word, when I first got my position at the company I work for, at the time a very menial position I was wracked with indecision. I didn’t feel like I could do it like I had the talent to do a simple shelf stacking job. It took calling my best friend at the time and talking with him for a few minutes for to accept the job. Again that was done to confidence, but a large part of it was that I felt inadequate.
Continued in Part 2 here.