Fake it Till You Make it: Be Patient With Yourself.


Jaden Cottorone, Editor-In-Chief of the Arapahoe Herald Magazine

The media doesn’t sleep, but I sure do. Since March, I have spent many days napping for the sake of my mental health, something I affectionately call “depression naps.” Perhaps this is a method of escapism; the pandemic doesn’t exist in my dreams, and neither do the repercussions. No matter how much time off I receive, catching a break seems impossible, so I seek refuge in drifting into sweet, sweet unconsciousness.  

But, such is life. Que sera sera. **** happens. Everyone is in the same boat; some are hanging on for dear life to keep from being swept away in the crashing waves, and others are giving their all- paddling to propel us forward. Regardless, all of our arms are tired- our beings are tired. Our souls have been isolated from the connection we as humans crave, our bodies have been starved of healthy habits that keep us going, and our brains are simply sick of processing endless screens. I, like everyone else, am exhausted and caught off guard of what 2020 brought us. 

Being a leader in ambiguous times is challenging. When you are in charge, your team seeks guidance and answers from you, but lately more often than not my answer is, “I don’t know.” When will we have a paper issue of the Herald? I don’t know. When can I interview this subject? I don’t know. When will the pandemic end? I do not know. Of course, the questions are not the problem. Everyone has questions, and as a journalist it is literally part of my job to answer them and/or guide our audience to experts who can. The problem is the lack of definitive answers. Misinformation runs rampant during times of panic, especially in the United States. Yet, when we received a comment simply correcting some of our statistics in an article, I broke down. I had failed as Editor-In-Chief. As a perfectionist and someone who cannot relinquish control, I always put blame on myself. Even though it was a small mistake that resulted from misinformation, it felt 100% my fault. 

Part of the above statement is true. However, one thing that this hell scape of a year has taught me is to be patient with myself. Most things are out of my control; taking responsibility is important, but over-compensating and carrying the entire weight of the infected world is going to do so much more harm to those around you- and more importantly, yourself- than good. Having patience with myself helped me extend that same grace to the student journalists under my leadership, who are also sitting in the “struggle boat” upon the crashing waves. By releasing the insecurity of imperfection, I’ve become a better person and leader. 

So, I took responsibility for what I could and had my wonderful journalist post a correction statement on the article. I accepted that as student journalists, we will make mistakes and I have moved on. By pausing and realizing all of the factors that were out of my control before recognizing what I was meant to take responsibility for, I was able to handle the situation with more grace and confidence. 

That is my lesson to our readers this semester: be patient with yourself. It is okay to not be perfect in a world of chaos. You will rise up and be “normal” again when the time is right, but in the meantime- just try your very best, and move on. Do what’s good for your community, your family, and yourself.

Oh, and if you’re someone who refuses to wear a mask in public, you are formally not invited aboard the “struggle boat.”