Tenacity is important to me. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’ve achieved so many things simply by being stubborn as fuck. By flat out refusing to give up. Perhaps it’s tied up with my midwestern upbringing, which seemed to be based on two primary tenets: 1.) don’t be lazy 2.) don’t be a pussy.
There was a third which had something to do with drinking as many shots of Jim Beam as possible while the jukebox blasted Kid Rock in the background, but that one doesn’t seem applicable here.
And so I’ve spent many (so many) years working my ass off while pretending to be perfectly fine.
What I’m trying to discuss today is failure. About the ability to be imperfect and be okay with that. This is a difficult topic for me to discuss honestly (even with myself) because it’s so hard to tell the difference between giving up and using common sense. Where is the line to help me know the difference between weak willed rationalization v. good self-care and healthy prioritization? And what to do with the realization that this or that thing was never your goal to begin with (or worse, that it WAS but that it never should have been).
The world is full of mixed messages and I have one foot firmly planted in corporate America while the other one tries to stay on solid ground while going about the business of creative self-discovery. I know this is also true of many of you, because let’s face it – someone’s got to pay the electric bill but our true joy resides elsewhere. It’s a precarious position in which to be. For all the well-meaning corporate slogans ostensibly directing us toward healthy lives, acceptance, balance, etc., the underlying message is still constant evaluation, competition, and “continuous improvement”. Taking off my rose colored glasses, I realize that this last one can be interpreted as “You’re not good enough now and you never will be.” And so.
So despite numerous academic and professional accomplishments, I strive everyday to keep up and get ahead. I am constantly competing – with others, with myself. Most of the time, I do just fine. As one of my slam poems says, my shoes make a satisfying clack when I walk.
But every once in a while, something happens to shake your confidence and knock you off of your game and this is when big, important questions come up for me.
Am I selling myself short? Could I do better? And I don’t mean professionally because truth be told, I’m pretty sure I don’t care all that much about that.
I mean personally. By setting goals and allowing myself to accomplish them. By not undermining myself with critical self talk. By allowing others to help me when I need it. By giving up goals that don’t make any sense any more.
By being truly brave, not blindly, stubbornly brave. Brave enough to love myself through failure. Brave enough to pick myself up and really believe that my worth is not based on the accumulation of meaningless accolades, qualifications, and trophies.
I think the answer is yes.
I’m sure going to work on it because when I think of the things that make my heart sing, they are the people I love, the process of creating things, and the experiences that I have. xoxoxoxo