Saturday, June 7, 2014

Turning Failure Into Something More

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” - Maya Angelou

Had I heard this quote two years ago, I would have cross stitched it on a pillow. I’m not going to lie. If you had asked me then if I ever wanted to leave home again, I may have said yes, but on the inside, I knew that I could not face the world. I had tried that thing called “independence” and “leaving the nest” only to end up trampled and broken. I put on a brave act and talked of my big plans to move to the next city after a short respite at my parents’ house. Still, deep down I knew that I was just trying to save face. As Phoebe said, "And I don’t want to lose face! That’s a very serious thing in my culture!”

As appealing as striking out on my own again sounded at times, I held a secret fear that I tried to keep at arm’s length and not examine too much. There were times that the fear would come to the surface through the need to prove myself to others, salvage my remaining dignity, or pretend I didn’t care when I actually cared too much.

I was afraid I would fail...again.

“And I misspelled in front of the entire school the word ‘failure.’” - Dwight Schrute

Failure. It’s only a word, but it settles like a brick in your stomach and puts an ache in your heart. It's the “lack of success” and is associated with words such as “defeat” and “nonfulfillment.“

This past February, I had one of those hard-to-admit-to-myself moments where I realized that I felt like a failure. No one wants to admit to anyone, including themselves, that they feel like a failure. I realized that while I had been attempting to put my life back together, I did not feel successful for various reasons. Something was holding me back.

“One of the most courageous decisions you’ll ever make is letting go of what is hurting your heart and soul.” - Brigitte Nicole

The past. It was right there, ever present in my life. It's easy to know in your head not to let the past define your life, but stressful/traumatic situations from the past have a way of latching onto someone in secret ways that aren't always visible at first. I had used that fear of failing to stubbornly persevere through many situations only to end up flat on my face anyways. I was letting my fear keep me from moving forward in life. Sitting at my parents' house seemed safer than letting the world trample my heart again. 

"It's funny how some distance//Makes everything seem small//And the fears that once controlled me//Can't get to me at all"

I had just seen Frozen. Like nearly the rest of the world, I was immediately in love with "Let it Go." The lyrics hit my heart in such a way, and I could not help but feel goosebumps on my arm when I heard the above mentioned part. That was it. Let it go. Let go of all the fears and frustrations. The pain and even the indifference I felt towards my past. I had felt a fear of failing my entire life and had never stood up to it. Not anymore. As Idina Menzel belted out:

//I’m never going back//The past is in the past//

The past is in the past. 

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again. Only this time more wisely.” - Henry Ford

So here I am, seizing an opportunity and starting a new chapter in my life. It's a small step, moving out on my own again. I'm not moving to another city or state. I'm not changing jobs. It may seem like nothing to most people, but for me it is taking a step forward, looking to the future. I will fail at many things in this life, but I won't let that define who I am or what I can do.