I’m failing pretty regularly this year.
I had a secret wish to go a little vegan-ish, especially after Jeff bought us the Thug Kitchen cookbook. First dish out of the gate I substituted chicken for tempeh. In my feeble defense, our grocery store didn’t have tempeh. (I like to think of chicken as simply “meaty tempeh.”) Beyond the utter vegan failure, the pozole I made tasted weird. It had a weird citrus-y aftertaste and I was starving after I ate it.
I wanted to do yoga five days a week. My current average, 2.5 weeks into the new year, is once a week.
I vowed not to yell at the kids. But then Simon spit in my face, and I blew a gasket. (Is there anything more degrading that someone spitting in your face?) That was January 1 at 10:00 A.M. Here we are at January 13: He’s still spitting and I’m still yelling. (Seriously, why does he have to spit in my face?) I’m pretty sure I’m going to yell EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I wasn’t going to spend any more money on books because I have approximately 12 at home waiting for me to crack open, and there’s always the library where books are free. But then I went into the cutest bookstore EVER and well, it would be rude to not support a local independent.
I was also only going to read books I love and dump ones that didn’t speak to me. So far I’ve finished one that I H-A-T-E-D, one I tolerated, and one that I’m still on the fence about. Fail, fail and fail.
There’s something freeing about it, though. It hasn’t killed me. It’s knocked my aspirations from lofty to manageable. I’m falling into territory that has paralyzed me for decades. I’m actively researching the answer to one of the most terrifying questions ever asked: “What if I fail?”
Oh and this one: I was going to work on my book everyday! But there have been plenty of days (of the 13 in this year alone) when I simply could not face it. Days when it feels too risky to open my manuscript because I’m afraid it will sour my mood and make me more yell-y, even without Simon doing a raspberry once inch from my face. On those days, I write other things– blog posts, essays, computer code for the app I’m developing (which will tell you if your outfit is cute or makes you look like a bloated soccer mom from 1989).
I’ve done a lot of things right, too, though I can’t name any right now. Oh, wait, I held the elevator open for someone I don’t particularly care for. I bought Thank You cards (that I’ll probably never write). I folded some laundry. I slept all night on my side of the bed. I told someone the truth about a favor she asked of me, the truth being that I didn’t want to do it but was willing to explore how much her request enraged me.
There’s plenty of good when I go looking for it.
I also read this inspirational piece. It made me think about J.D. Salinger writing stories from a foxhole in France during World War II. Sure, he was already published before that, but he didn’t know he’d ever make it out alive (can you say “Battle of the Bulge” survivor?), and still he wrote and wrote and wrote. Presumably because he had to.
I’m starting to think that my failures are no big deal. Neither are my audacious proclamations that I will be vegan/a published author/a yogi/a coupon clipper. Both are effluvium. Not more true than anything else about me.
My working hypothesis about what happens if I fail is that it changes nothing. Simon will probably still spit on me, there will be laundry to fold, thank you cards to not write, and a new day with a shockingly white blank screen.
Either way, I’ll be there.