Gripping at the final credits as the film winds through the reels, waiting patiently in the dark for the next teaser. Some trailer or scene, spoilers for a sequel. All that is the left is the on location references and music acknowledgments, bore fest. My life was turning into that same scene of musical contributions and location listings, only the equivalency was a historical ledger, best known as a resume, of career moves and an epic failure.
Funny thing, this newfangled feeling called failure. The connotation and idealism of failure is so negative. As if your state of being and existence is somehow judged, rated and hinges based on two words: success and failure. Why do we have to have either? Do we not have some existential realm of in between? I like to consider my life and accomplishments as that trailer before the movie indicating, “This film has not yet been rated.”
For the last few months I placed myself into rating. Day-in and day-out I would berate myself and who I was, am, based on one small blip on my timeline. A critic of the worst kind, uncovering every fault, shadow, crease, and flaw as part of my self torture. I made excuses to deal with my shame; my position was eliminated, my boss was/is an asshole (well he is, but I cannot place the sole blame on him, I had a hand in my outcome), and then one day I finally forgave myself and accepted the situation.
But lets backup a bit so the genesis really is understood. The day I was terminated I was totally good with the event itself, being in that moment. I was relieved! I felt a tremendous burden lifted from me when I was told, “we are terminating your current employment.” I was so excited I forgot I left my phone at my desk to text everyone my horrible news. So excited, I kept my professional composure instead of blurting out, “Hells yes! Let’s blow this Popsicle joint;” I smiled like someone who was told the biggest secret of the universe, shook the bastards hand and simply said, “thanks.” Who does that? I did. Yet I let that moment define me. I was arrogant, egotistical, and a super star employee. Knowing no one knew more than me or could get the job done better, faster and with extra miles, I got cocky, and it showed. That prima-donna got herself fired by being all those traits, for lacking humility. I was also letting those traits and my personal shame, for that solitary moment, define who I was, who I am, and who I was to become.
One day, in Plinian fashion, my emotions came rushing forth like hot magma under surmountable pressure. Beating off what began to feel like an onset of depression, locking myself away in the house, retiring from social engagements, avoidance; I embraced my full hysteria. My cheeks were burning with blood, as I flexed unknown facial muscles trying to hold back my feelings, tears of pain, hurt, resent, love, spoils of pride and humiliation. Screaming. Crying. Anger. Sadness. Defeat. Elation. Relief. Shame. Fear. A true smorgasbord rainbow of emotions. Mind you, this could not be done alone. Without the unconditional love and support of The Chad I might have slipped into a reckless and silent doom. But at the end of it all, I grabbed the girl of failure and hugged her. I held her tight and brought her back into me, loving her, appreciating her, consoling her shame. Telling her that one moment, in almost forty years, does not beget my entire lifetime. I accepted failure. I accepted that I failed. Failing my family as a provider, as a rock of emotional stability, failing as a successful corporate business woman. Breaking the chains of emotional oppression. Failure was not in my ability, but failure to evolve and rise above belittlement, to remain humble, to let someone else have a win. Parents especially, you know what I am talking about, that moment where you pretend to lose in order to boost another person’s ego….yes that moment. I chocked up my short lifetime into one moment, giving new life and definition. Or was I?
Recently I was required to complete a short bio on a webpage that defines me. I quite simply answered that I am an enigma. Most of us should be considered enigma’s. We do not understand each other, we haven’t quite solved our puzzles of life, whilst we have clues and insight based on personal experiences and inter-relational tidings we simply don’t have the answers. So if we don’t have the answers, why do we draw borders, definitions, conclusions? Why put so much weight on living? I am enjoying the notion that I am not always cut out for certain tasks and its okay to fail, as long as I didn’t go at it half ass, put your whole heart into it, fail at epic proportions. I, we, are not defined or rated by accomplishments or by failures. I’m a woman, a mother, a business woman, a Christian, a college graduate, a wife, an athlete, a writer, a chef, b-positive blood type, an artist and now a failure. In my failure I found a beautiful calm, a peace in knowing that I am at the corner of awesome and greatness with who I am to become. By no means am I boastful, arrogant, or proud, I have become more thankful, humbled, and welcoming to whatever God brings my way. I am going to continue to embrace my faults, love my brokenness and swoon in being me and the person I am to become. Moments can help shape us into who we want to become, better parents, better people. Until then, I’m not yet rated.