The Room of Requirement

If I were trapped in a room filled with every requirement that has been placed upon me, would I sink or swim?


Lila Heilig

Feeling too much is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I appreciate happiness, but a curse because the pain and pressure of life easily destroy me.

All my life, I’ve been the “honors kid.” I’ve always been the one to have good grades, an exceptional work ethic and no problem following rules. Because of course, what else is someone supposed to do? Aren’t we all supposed to be perfect all of the time?

The answer is no. People aren’t supposed to be perfect all of the time. Despite this, I feel like I need to be perfect. Being perfect is the only thing that I know how to do. 

My parents raised me to be on my best behavior at all times and I was expected to receive only the best grades. Growing up in an environment that required straight A’s has trained my brain to believe that’s all that is acceptable. Although I love my parents and I’m grateful that they taught me how to be hardworking, I believe that being raised with the belief that my best is the only thing that’s acceptable hasn’t prepared me for the times where I don’t succeed. I’m so used to doing things correctly that I panic the second I fail.

The first time I realized I am unable to handle failure is when I had a math test last month. I was really worried about it; I sat at my kitchen table to study, but I didn’t know what to do; I was so overwhelmed and anxious that I felt nauseous.  I finally decided to give up and went to bed. However, I ended up only sleeping for three hours that night and I woke up with a fever of 101 degrees. 

I literally made myself sick with stress. 

This was my breaking point. Looking back, the test really wasn’t that big of a deal. I certainly didn’t need to spend three hours crying over it. I am slowly beginning to realize that my workload isn’t actually that bad, it’s my own mentality. I’m the one who feels the need to be perfect all of the time. I’m the one who makes myself sick with stress. I know that lifestyle isn’t healthy.  I need to calm down, take a step back and learn how to relax. 

When I received the prompt for this story a month ago I thought that it wouldn’t be challenging. At that time, I would have easily answered that if I were trapped in a room of requirements, I would sink underneath my stress. However, I think that my answer would be a little different now. 

If I were trapped in a room of requirements, I would start to sink underneath my stress and anxiety. But, then I would fight back. I am stronger than my stress, and I am able to overcome any challenges life brings me.