Tag Archives: failure

No One Ever Told Me …

23 Jan

I completely forgot about it.

Failure is not something you want to remember really, unless it ends up on an SNL skit  and you’re cracking up because that has totally happened to you.

Most of the time these learning experiences are kept to myself, but sometimes this little community of ours gets a sneak peek at my epic fails and I get some virtual nods and been there, keep your head up comments that I truly appreciate. And the only other time I’ve shared some of my multiple failures was at women’s workshop/meeting-of-the-minds kind of thing.

Something I had completely forgotten about, until I was listening to a podcast this morning and they were talking about life in general and the concept of good vs. perfect …

There I was, surrounded by strong educated women looking to get inspired and just learn from each other when it happened … the tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got here question and how this group that we were all a part of made an impact or helped you out a bit.

 

One by one, college chicks and alumni began speaking about all the good points and successes in their lives, how everything was turning out great since they left campus, career and love lives falling into place, and how this group helped them connect to others, helped them feel support, and a sense of community.

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Then they got to me …

Now in the past when surrounded by such successes I tended to bring out my own resume points, but I was in my late-late thirties and wasn’t there for that. As one of the alumniest of the alumni, I guess I was there to share truths and not just the shiny parts. So I did.

I talked about how amazing it was to hear all these great things happening in their lives, but this life — my life — was not that. I was not part of the easy connect the dots, success after success after success doors opening everywhere group. I had the Eat, Pray, Love Univision-Telemundo version happening. Failure-sucky-disaster crying in the parking lot eating rocky road out of the tub failure, that was me. I knew what the bottom rung felt like. I knew the two-steps-forward-three-steps-back dance. I thought I had invented it. And the thing is, no one ever told me.

No one.

Graduating from one of the best public schools in the country and then getting a Master’s from a great private school didn’t make me immune to it. No one ever told me. She might not fail, he might not fail, things will go right for them, but for you? You’re taking a different route. The messy kind. The learning from experience kind.

No one ever told me, you know what? You’re still going to fail, fail more times than you succeed, and fail big time.

So when it happened, it was like a disaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaster.

But being that I grew up with a Rocky Balboa-Breaking Away-The Natural-Rudy-Hoosiers mentality, I got up. I always got up and I kept going, and these group of women that were with me supported me. They saw me, and not the setbacks.

I explained to the group how awesome it was that every step of the way everything had gone right for them, but if they ever encountered failure and needed to talk about it, I was their girl. I would know what that felt like and I would know how to get up.

Seeing how I was second to last person, we finished up the introductions and then took a break.

I thought I was going to go to the table get my little Dixie cup of lemonade and be on way, but apparently there were some ladies there that wanted to talk.

It might not look good when it’s happening to you, I know it doesn’t feel good, but eventually failure is gonna help you out, and maybe someone else too.

Keep your head up.

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Failure Happens More Than Once But You Still Recover … Just Ask Meg Ryan

2 Oct

I’ve always been scared of it, but realized now that I’m 40, I’ve reached the top level. Yup I’m close to Jedi Status on this one, but seeing how I still have blow ups and meltdowns, I can’t say I’ve reached the elite Zen level.

But I’m close.

I’ve become really close with it, my twenties and thirties were definitely times where failure and I became bosom buddies. And the truth is I hated failing. I didn’t look forward to that experience, or toward searching through the pain and heartache to learn the lesson that was hiding. No one does, really.

Failure is a hard thing to come back from, but I’ve realized I do a good job of it.

Relationships, family bonds, friendships, job interviews, career breaks, story writing, novel writing, article writing … I’ve had failure on every level, the most epic being parent failure as I feel that no matter how hard I try I seem to always fall short to some degree. There’s always some variation of failure staring at me by Friday night.

But the thing is I’ve learned to always get up and I don’t know if it stems from all the experience, or if it’s an inherent quality in my underdog mentality, but I first noticed it back in college when I saw a Meg Ryan flick.

Now, I don’t know if most of you are aware of Meg Ryan, but she was my 90s girl with films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and City of Angels. She took over where Molly Ringwald left off

She was my go-to chick flick, and it was because of her that I first realized … anything can go wrong. Anything and everything. It can, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for something like that.

I was reminded of this just recently when I saw my favorite Meg Ryan movie for like the thousandth time. French Kiss.

The thing is, I don’t think it was a blockbuster or made millions, in fact some people probably hated it. But for me it was such a great movie. It highlighted the fact that failure happens, even when you do everything right, it will happen to you. It will. Somewhere on your timeline failure will hit you and it’ll feel like you can’t breathe, that you can’t get up because the air has been knocked out of you, that the humiliation, embarrassment, anger, hurt, or sadness of it all won’t let you. The weight will be heavy.

Sometimes failure won’t hit you all at once, it’s peppered throughout a decade, other times it will all hit you in a week.

No matter how great a person you are, you will have a relationship that will fail and leave you listening to 80s love songs. You will break your straight A streak with a C+ in statistics and find yourself eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s just to get through it. You will be replaceable in a job where you thought you would never be forgotten. You will not get the job after that kickass interview. You will fall down, even when someone is not trying to trip you.

Yup I think Meg’s the reason why I realized I could get back up. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the story is about a woman who has her white-picket fence dream fall apart when her fiance leaves her, and she ends up flying to France to confront him. The story follows the physical and emotional adventure that happens because of this choice.

But best of all the film shows you someone whose world falls apart, the big things come crashing down, and then on top of that, the little things follow that same route. Failure rains down. It did on her and it does on us.

But she doesn’t give up.

Failure happened, it tore her apart and left her crying in some strange country but she kept going. She woke up and she kept going. Failure didn’t kill her, although it might have felt that way, but it didn’t. She got up and she kept trying.

I love watching this movie just to get that feeling, that sense that … dude you can get up after failure. You can and you should, because it’s probably going to happen again and you need to be standing when it does. The recovery is easier.  But you still recover if you’re on the floor, just takes a little bit longer.

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Bucket List Adventure Failure … I Didn’t Count On It … Not Today

16 Jun

Dear Kings,

Everybody is checking stuff off their list. They saw the Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman movie about cancer and it was on. Everybody wrote down their dreams, life goals, and wildest adventures and made plans to make it happen.

They have their woo-hoo! moments throughout the year and share them on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media monster.

Everyone appears to be a successful adventurer. Apparently there are no failures when you’re on a Bucket List Quest.

Well … I’ve broken the mold. I’m the first Bucket List Adventurer Failure of the universe.

It’s a hard being the first one.

Failure … I don’t handle it too well.

It sucks. But I’m here to tell you … you can still survive a Bucket List downfall with the help of little Ben & Jerry’s … well maybe a lot.

I know you know. You couldn’t have gotten to where you are without failure. That’s probably what made you so resilient.

But if you want to know, I finally managed to peel myself off my laminate floor, squash my frustration, and get on with my day. There’s really nothing else you can do other than try again … you know if the opportunity ever presented itself again. And I guess that’s why I’m writing.

There are some items on your Bucket List that you can’t do alone. You have to rely on someone or a group of someones in order for you to take your leap.

In my case?

It’s you.

You made the opportunity happen. You made it happen for a lot of sports fans.

It’s every sports fan’s dream. The championship parade. You need your team to win in order for the parade to happen. You need them to survive the first round of playoffs, the injuries, the adversity, the sudden-death overtimes. You need them to win it all so that you and the rest of your city can celebrate them with the parade.

 

This is where I wanted to be ...

This is where I wanted to be …

 

So it happened for me. You held up your end of the bargain.

Not once, but twice.

However, the first time I had given birth to my second child a few months prior, so I couldn’t very well take a newborn with me. I was sad, but knew it was unrealistic. I thought if it ever happens again. I’ll make it. I’ll be there with the players, the coaches, the fans, the music, the speeches, the confetti, the atmosphere. I’ll be there to relive the season on that Jumbotron. I’ll high-five my son when we see Doughty, Carter, Brown, Williams, and Quick. I’ll take pictures. We’ll all smile and I’ll check one off the list.

Dude.

Failure.

I didn’t count on my kids waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

I didn’t count on running out of Multi-Grain Cheerios and having my daughter flip out.

I didn’t count on them preferring to watch another episode of Disney Jr..

I didn’t count on tiny tot tummy trouble because she didn’t have her regular breakfast.

I didn’t count on having to clean up tiny tot tummy trouble disaster in the bathroom so early in the morning.

I didn’t count on the Mega-disaster of the missing LEGO Microfighter.

I didn’t count on loading up the kids, snacks and stroller into the truck only to have it turn on with the gas tank on E … I mean E to the Extreme. Like when the light goes on and you don’t know if you’re gonna make it to the corner.

I didn’t count on going to the gas station and not finding my wallet. I didn’t count on looking all over the house in a manic state trying to find my beat-up old wallet. I didn’t count on not finding it.

I didn’t count on searching for that “emergency” $40 dollars you keep in the house for emergencies such as these and not finding that money either.

As a mother of two and a member of this-is-not-your-life-right-now-you’re-just-in-the-George-Costanza-phase-of-life club I normally count on disaster happening. Usually everyday. But not today. Not that early. Not when a Bucket List item was on the verge of happening. I hadn’t counted on it and that was my mistake.

But I guess there was a bright side. Two hours later I got a call from the local supermarket … apparently I had left my wallet at the register. I walked to the store picked up some Ben & Jerry’s and made it back in time to see the parade on television.

Again. On television.

Listen … I don’t mean to put any more pressure on you guys, I mean you just won The Stanley Cup, but if you could pull off a repeat … I’d really appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

Your Favorite Guatemalan Fan

 

 

Learning to Leave It Behind

9 Jun

 

:)

🙂

 

 

 

November Failure

25 Nov

I failed miserably. And I don’t like failing. It sucks. If effects my I’m-A-Badass state of mind.

But being a parent … wait … no … that can’t be used as a reason. I’m sure there are parents out there that are writers. Parents out there with two or even three kids that are cranking out over a thousand words a day. Life does not get in the way. NaNoWriMo Warriors.

I, however, have been defeated by my Nickelodeon Pack, exhausted by nine o’clock, and cranking out only five hundred words a night this week. I have barely scratched the surface. But, upon further review, these NaNoWriMo Warriors might get a night off from parenting duties every now and then. Me? I’m still full time on this parenting gig. I remain the CEO and janitor of this establishment, so apparently there seems to be very little down time that’s not being used up by executive decisions regarding diapers or LEGOs

Nevertheless … I continue my quest into the late hours typing away and doing my best to meet personal deadlines and avoid epic failure that creates the need for chocolate.  But the funny thing is, I didn’t really sign-up for NaNoWriMo, but I figured I’d participate in my own Guat way … you know, as a strong incentive to finish my book this year. But as you all know NaNoWriMo ends in November and I’m not even close to 50,000 words.

Luckily November doesn’t mark the end of the year. Just the end of the writing frenzy — a sort of Scared Straight moment for writers with personal end-of-year deadlines.

A Cowboy-Up moment, if you will.

So when all the crazed people attack those Black Friday specials at midnight, I’ll be on my third helping of something involving chocolate or pumpkin and typing away, in hopes for my own writing frenzy to spill over into the Jingle All The Way environment.

November will probably bring failure upon The Guat, but it also brings on so many December possibilities. Hopefully accompanied by humor, chocolate, and the words The End.

 

The Lero Lero Factor

16 Jan
Typewriter

Image by toastytreat87 via Flickr

I was once asked … “how do you handle failure? I mean as a writer you must get rejected all the time.”

Obvious is it? I guess I had that unsuccessful, starving writer look of failure branded on my forehead.

I said there’s no real trick to it. I’ve fallen plenty of times in life and most people have something inspirational to say, but for me it’s just the lero-lero factor, translated in English it’s the “in your face…in your face!” expression. The ability to say suck it! I did this in spite of you.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told I couldn’t do it, by literary agents, publishers, contest judges, or critics…a.k.a family but the more they tell me the more it fuels me to continue and work harder. If someone told me I couldn’t run the marathon, I would bust my ass for three months just to run that monster 29.2 miles and crawl over the finish line hours later and say lero-lero.

It warms my heart, makes me smile, and lets me feel vindicated.  Lero-lero. It’s a powerful feeling of satisfaction. But if the lero-lero factor is not working I go by two quotes I saw somewhere in a book or magazine…

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.

And my all time favorite…

The elevator to success is broken…you’re going to have to take the stairs…