The Freedom of Failure

I’ve failed. Horribly.

A year ago, that statement terrified me more than spiders. Yes, yes. Spiders are small and insignificant but they have so many legs and they make traps! Traps! Failure is something that I am not good at…uh…accepting. In fact, I avoid it. I pull the plug as soon as I catch a whiff of that old demon clawing its way into my life.

I just walk away.

I have very recently been forced to face failure. One, was something that I was desperate to be good at; damn the consequences. The second, I walked away from and I hid in the proverbial corner with little desire to look at that particular demon. See, if I looked back on that failure in the latter part of 2014, I’d have to admit that 2014 was a write-off. I would need a mulligan that was never going to happen. Yet, those two failures showed up on my doorstep, knocked on the door and sat down for tea. They should have beat the crap out of me for being so arrogant.

Know what? They didn’t.

Maybe it is the new air in 2015 (hey, I know it’s nearing the end of February and I know I’m supposed to have this all figured out for January 1st, but gimme a break, ok?). Maybe it is the gentle push that we all feel to let things go; a feeling that grows stronger as we age. Maybe, somehow, I actually learned something from the failures.

It doesn’t matter how.

I never realized how freeing failure was because I was too busy telling myself I was a failure. Get it? I didn’t. For a long, long time, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get how arrogant (there’s that word again) it is to assume that I will get it right. A failure is an ending wrapped up in a take-out box of a lesson. And to eat that meal, you have to take it one bite at a time like everybody else. You have to take that shit with you along with the side order of fault. You get to look in that box and you get to think about what went wrong, what went right, and what you’re not going to do next time. That’s what I was missing every single time I walked away or clung desperately at something that I just couldn’t fix. Every single time I blamed myself for not being good enough, strong enough, careful enough, thoughtful enough, caring enough, just not enough.

I am all that and a box of chocolates.

I have been given a gift, really. That box of chocolates are for me, and I sat down to have them with my failures and we had a long talk. Like old pals. And, we came to the following conclusions: I’m able to pick up the pieces and try again; I can put that in the ‘well, that didn’t work’ pile and figure out a better way; I have a chance to do it again (if I choose to do so) in a way that is much kinder to me and those who are involved; I have a chance to realize that the fate of the known world does not rest on my shoulders alone; I have a chance to forgive myself for being enough for many things, but maybe just not *this* one; I can say sorry and not have someone accept it; I have a chance to be ok with that.
See, 2015 may have started a bit late for me, but trust me, it’s better this way.

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