Dealing with failure.

This is a blog I wrote about a week ago when I was dealing with some really hard stuff. I’m feeling much better now, and I’m ready to share it here in hope that it’ll help someone else. For those who aren’t used to my occasional expressive language, I tend to be blunt when I’m expressing my deeper feelings, so if you want to know what goes on in my head you’ll just have to take me as I am. 🙂

 

Failure. Sometimes we’re just not able to complete a task that we started due to circumstances that are unfortunately out of our control, and that’s ok. Failure means we tried, and we can always try again until we get it right. Most people who accomplish great things have far more failures under their belts than successes. If we reach for the stars and fall short, we’ve still reached higher than those who never try at all. I understand the wisdom in all of this, and I know that I’ll always continue trying. However…

Fuck all that.

Failing at something I worked so hard on feels shitty as hell. Even if I know I did my best and can try again, the fact still remains that I wasn’t able to complete a goal that I set for myself. And it hurts.

I’ve never been a quitter. I usually latch on and keep going until there’s no possible way I can move forward any further. But given the insanity of this past year, I’m being forced to acknowledge that my current mental and emotional state means that I can’t have my usual high expectations of myself.

What I’m failing at is school. I already failed Spanish class this week, and sitting in Music Theory today I realized there’s no way I’m going to pass that class either. I may be able to salvage my Critical Thinking class because it’s very easy and my teacher is so chill, but that’s about it.

Normally being in school wouldn’t be a huge deal. It would be stressful at times, but I’m well versed in pushing through stress. This year, though, my goals were way too lofty. I started out the semester trying to manage a full time course load on top of working part time, dealing with untreated ADD (and who knows what else), enduring massive amounts of situational stress, and so on. I was attempting to learn two complicated languages at the same time (Spanish and Music Theory). I also wasn’t taking the time I needed to recharge and care for my mental health.

Because of this, I was unable to absorb a lot of the material in my classes early in the semester, and I’m still having trouble with it. I feel like I’ve been absent for most of my classes even though my attendance has been excellent. I should have mastered basic Music Theory by now, but I feel like I’ve barely learned anything.

My goal in taking classes isn’t to get marks on a paper, although I do value getting good grades. It was to learn new skills and improve on old ones. If I didn’t learn what I needed to this semester, then even if I somehow passed the class I should really retake it so I build the skills I need. What good is a grade if I still can’t read music afterwards?

And yet, the thought of failing not only one class but most of a semester rips my heart out. I value intelligence and knowledge, and feeling like I’m unable to pursue that side of myself the way I want to right now makes me very upset. I know in my head that focusing on building myself back up will result in a far better school year next year, and that I started the semester with very unrealistic goals, but at the moment it’s hard to see anything but failure.

It frustrates me because nothing I’m learning is beyond my comprehension normally- but this year hasn’t exactly been normal.

I hate the thought of giving up on something that I’ve put so much effort into. I feel like I ought to be able to just push a little harder, just focus a bit more, set aside a little more energy. But apparently I’ve already been giving everything I have, and it’s not enough.

But this isn’t the end. One way or another, I’m not giving up. This semester is a setback and it’s going to take a while for me to work through these emotions, but I won’t let it stop me from reaching my goal of getting into the advanced music program next fall. There’s a slower paced music theory class next semester that my teacher recommended. I think it would be a great option, as long as I only take that and violin lessons so I’m not overloaded. I’ll retake Music Theory as many times as I need to, and I’ll set more realistic goals of what I can handle. I’ll be fairer to myself in setting aside time and resources for things that recharge me.

My mental picture of the life I want to create for myself keeps me going. I’m a damn good musician and vocalist, and I know I’m cut out to make music my career. I’ll make it happen… even if it requires taking every fucking class twice to get there.

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Learning to Embrace Vulnerability and Self-Care.

Being vulnerable is hard. And asking for help when we’re feeling vulnerable can be even harder.

I’ve always been the one that’s there for everyone else. And sometimes I would give everything out to others, but not get much back in return. Not that we should help others for what they can do for us, but I didn’t know how ‘recharge my battery’ elsewhere. I didn’t know how to ask for help when I needed it; I only knew how to give and many of them were only able to take. And so I often burned myself out trying to solve everyone else’s problems while ignoring my own. I didn’t know how to be vulnerable.

Give until it hurts.

Ignore your own wants and needs to serve everyone else.

Always help others, but your own needs are a burden that no one wants to deal with.

Having needs makes you unlovable. (This one has been so hard for me.)

These thoughts aren’t healthy. Continual self-sacrifice is not the heroic, courageous ideal that I used to think it was. Of course we need to help each other- but if we destroy ourselves in the process, we’re not really bettering the situation because now we’re broken too. It’s like giving all of your food away to others while wasting away from hunger yourself, and then wondering why you’re too weak to hand out bread anymore.

Care for others. It’s important. But care for yourself too. It’s been said that “Your compassion is lacking if it doesn’t include yourself.” (I think Buddha said this?)

It’s still hard for me to show my weaknesses to others, or to ask for my own needs to be met. It still feels selfish, like I’m being a burden. I’m used to being strong, the one everyone can rely on, the one who always has it all together. I don’t know what to do with myself when it’s me on the other end of the tissue box, other than to write lots and lots of journal blogs to spam your feed with as I process stuff. 😛 Part of me would rather suffer in private where no one can see me, so I can pretend that I’m still super girl- ready to save the world single handedly as usual. But that’s not reality, and I’m tired of wearing so many masks to hide the imperfect human being underneath. It’s not weakness to have needs or to be vulnerable.

https://youtu.be/TA6IA7PEmbQ

By the way, I’m doing fine tonight. This isn’t intended to get messages saying “are you ok?” Not that I don’t appreciate them. 🙂 I’m just musing as usual. Or rambling, that likely fits too. 😛 lol. I suppose this is what happens when you cross a talkative extrovert with a deep-thinking introvert who happens to write for a living.