A Job in the Big Apple
I’ll expose these failures to you in hopes that you’ll reciprocate in the comments section below.
(1) I want to be a cheerleader SO badly in high school. I make it to the JV level, but I can not get my legs to swing gracefully up and over my upside down body in a move called the cartwheel. When I bonk my head hard enough for a concussion during an attempt, I finally give up. I fail.
BUT I join the color guard instead. Become captain by junior year and enter color guard contests. Oh yes, I “Present, ARMS” all over the county and state. I end up dating the hot son of our coach. Success!
(2) My brother has all kinds of swim awards: 1st in freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke. Year after year, beginning ages 7 and 8, respectively, my little brother beats me, and everyone, in the swimming lane. But I practice, and practice, and improve. At 16, I swim the first heat for our club’s team in the breaststroke. We need this win! I race hard and come in … second. Failure.
But after I quit the team in tears, the pool manager offers me a job as a lifeguard. I wear a cute one-piece white swimsuit that shows off my sitting-up-on-the-stand tan to great advantage. I work with three gorgeous 19-year-old dudes and bring home my first paycheck. Success!
(3) A few failures later, I achieve a Master’s in English Literature. I can write a 120-page thesis on Black American Expatriate Writers of the 20th Century, but I can’t get a job in New York City no matter how much I beg. I even get rejected for secretarial positions (‘Not Skilled Enough”). Total Failure.
So I apply to a small publishing company in the boondocks of New Jersey. I leap from copy editor to medical editor to managing editor of a large medical journal in under three years. Success!
(4) Okay, you’re all waiting for this one. Vaginal birth? Oh yeah. I’m pregnant with high expectations of welcoming my first child un-sedated and gloriously enlightened by surviving a hard labor and the feel of my baby’s head, chest, legs and feet emerging from me while I scream in exquisite painful delight. Wait, the baby wants to leave her warm world feet first? She’s in distress? I’m in distress? Emergency C-section. I’ve failed!
Until the baby is cuddled in my arms – alive, brilliant, and beautifully formed since she didn’t have to squeeze through a tiny tunnel. Success!
So many failures, so little space here, so I’ll come to my last one, and the one that first came to mind when I read my blogging friend Mike’s fascinating, funny post (http://mikeallegra.com/2014/07/01/a-purposeful-post-part-two/) where he explains:
“The most important thing life has taught me is that failure is not a big deal. I’ve spent much of my adult life screaming this fact from the rooftops. I’ve seen way too many people more talented than I give up on their dreams way too soon because the idea of failing is just way too terrifying.” Mike Allegra
Many of us passionately, and at times painfully, sweat through hours of daily isolation to write our perfect story. Then we send it out for affirmation. The rejections trickle in – one, five, twenty. But each rejection equals success. Not just in writing, but in so many parts of our life.
(5) For instance, an agent falls in love with my book. I become her client for a short while; she encourages me, praises my work, until suddenly she “moves on to a different genre” and drops me. Failure.
Until I pick myself up (and my pen), study, write, attend workshops, write, teach classes, write more, and create Near.Perfect.Press. I self-publish. Readers find my books. Readers buy my books. Readers love my books. Success!
Hmm, I can’t wait to see what I fail at next…