This is my toughest post but maybe my most important. I applied for the Pritzker Fellowship at WBEZ last winter, along with countless other grants, festivals and job openings. Over time, I learned that my application was crossing different barriers and I was eventually brought in for an interview as a finalist. Six of us went in for two open spots.
Family and Facebook friends were incredibly supportive and I felt as prepared and confident as I could have been. I still get teary-eyed when I think of the kind words that you all sent my way. The interview was almost a month ago and I’ve been through a whirlwind of emotion since then. Doubts about what I said and how I said it swirled in my head. The 30% chance of reaching this goal turned from a blessing to a curse with every passing weather forecast that called for a 30% chance of rain and left us high and dry.
So here I am today. I gave up hope about a week ago and was just waiting to hear the words so that I could move on with my life. It turns out that I did fine in the interview and the judges were all impressed with me and my work but they offered it to someone else… They suggested that I keep doing what I’m doing and try again next year if it still makes sense for me.
For years now, I’ve advocated putting less emphasis on winning and more on competing with yourself because champions and heroes have a way of disappointing us with their humanity. Watching the Olympics play out while waiting on this decision put that mentality to a real test. Watching Gabby Douglas make her family proud was painful, knowing that I’d have to take the hopeful news away from my own parents but I had to remind myself that there’s no shame in bronze or even in last place as long as you compete. Someone will appreciate the strides I’ve taken.
The main reason that I’m publishing this story is that I won’t be standing on the platform but I’m still proud that I stepped into the ring. I’m a Pritzker Fellowship Finalist and I did my personal best. Next time it will be better.