Failure Sucks

It’s just been one of those weeks.

Maybe it’s watching this situation in Boston.  Maybe it’s because my grandfather wants to die and is ready to die but is still healthy enough that it could take months for him to do so.  Maybe it’s thinking about how much longer this writing road is going to be before I see real results from it.  Maybe it’s random personal crap.

But I just feel like nothing is working right now.  And it sucks. Because it’s not something I’m used to.

I’m used to working hard.  I’m used to having almost no safety net.  I’m used to juggling about ten things more than anyone thinks is sane and having goals that are so far out of sight that I can’t really say I’ve met them until they happen.

(With my triple major in undergrad, I literally didn’t know if I’d get all three degrees until I got my grades that last quarter.  For the last two years of school I had to pass every single class I took on the first try or I would’ve had to petition to take an extra heavy course load to make up for the failed class. Oh, and I was also working full-time at the same time.)

That kind of insanity I’m used to.  But I’m not used to failure.

And, true, I haven’t failed until I quit.  As long as I’m still trying there’s still the possibility to make things happen.

This is just the first time that I can’t see enough progress to be confident that I’ll get there.

(I think it’s the personal crap that’s bothering me more than the writing, honestly.  I AM seeing some glimmers of hope on the writing front.  Not as much as I want to see, but some little nuggets here or there.  Unfortunately, I think the personal stuff is in “one step forward, three steps back” mode at the moment.)

The irony here is that for the last three years or so I’ve kind of been trying to fail.

Not really.  I didn’t actually want to fail.  But I wanted to push myself outside my boundaries.  I wanted to find where those boundaries actually were.  I decided I wasn’t content to just sort of coast along even when coasting along was success by most standards.

I quit a safe job to start a company.  (I didn’t start that company – I got distracted and started a different company.)  I went backpacking by myself for a couple of months.  I moved to a foreign country for a while.  I took up skydiving.  I took up sea kayak fishing.  I did all sorts of random activities that were “adventurous.”

And I still didn’t feel like I’d found my boundaries.

(I did capsize a kayak.  And have an off landing.  But those were just setbacks, not failure.  Again, not that I wanted to fail, especially at skydiving–I like my bones in one piece, thank you very much.  I just wanted to see where the failure line was.)

So I keep cutting out the things I’m good at (like work) and spending more time on the things I kind of suck at (like writing) in some bizarre desire to fail.  And the closer I get to having nothing left in my life that I’m good at, the more depressing it becomes.  (Shocking, I know.)

I fully intend to keep going, because I am nothing if not stubborn as hell.  But I would say that maybe taking this approach is not the best idea.  If you’re going to do something that’s uncertain and takes a long time to show concrete signs of progress (like embarking on a writing career), might I recommend that you also do something that consistently affirms your worth at the same time (like a children’s gym class where they give you little gold stars for attendance)?

(And avoid watching the news on days when it just reaffirms your belief that the world is going to hell.)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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2 Responses to Failure Sucks

  1. I steer clear of the news to be honest. Its a constant reminder of how bad the world really is. So instead I immerse myself in reading stories, maybe that is my escape.

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