Failure Tapping On My Shoulder

The word fear has been whispered inside my head for the last week.

You have to understand: I know nothing of fear when it comes to running faster, jumping higher, flipping through the air and hoping to God I land back on my feet.

A decade and a half of toe pointing and trampoline tumbling and bar gripping taught me that the human body can do extraordinary, unfathomable things.

I know nothing of fear when it comes to writing my story in a Word document and shipping it out to the social streams every week. Fear doesn’t sit close to my busy fingers when I send emails and tweets or read marketing articles and pin infographics.

But it’s been literally tightening the screws inside my head lately. Because when you push and pull and carve out time for all the tasks you love – personal and professional, health- and heart-driven — you find failure tapping you on the shoulder.

God, that is the hardest sentence I have ever written.

I am sitting on my couch trying not to backspace right to the beginning where I tell you I am invincible, unbreakable, a firework that Katy Perry herself never saw coming.

But truth keeps us pushing and expanding and reassessing what we once held as pillars that solidify our beliefs and define our next steps. And the truth is, passion is nothing without a pathway paired beside it.

If I am guilty of one failure, I am guilty of one hundred failures. All of us are pretty gosh darn perfect when someone else holds our achievements up to the light. It’s only when we judge our true selves against the ones we thought by now we’d be that failure seems the only noun suitable for our networking event nametags.

I am on the biggest learning curve of my life, and I don’t know which lessons I’m supposed to grapple with and which I’m meant to push aside.

What do we do when we’re too afraid to throw away what’s unimportant because we’re still waiting for it to become something worth clutching close? How do we know what hours to devote to each of our passions and which of those will matter in ten months, let alone ten years?

It’s not the first time I don’t have an answer; but it’s the first time I’m dying for someone to help me sort it out. It’s the first time I’m wondering whether I should be doing this one thing, this one task, spectacularly if only I’m willing to give up everything else.

There is a risk in putting your cards into one hand and hoping that failure scribbled nametag doesn’t stay stuck on your shirt pocket when you walk through the doors at your five-year reunion.

I’m not sure what that risk looks like or whether it reaps a beautiful reward. I don’t know the art of asking for help the way I’d like to. Don’t have the guts to give up on any one thing and get reamed out.

But I’d like permission. I’d like acceptance. I’d like someone to take my hand and say, “Let’s figure this out together.”

I promise I am strong in my hope, that my heart breaks easily for the human condition, that I work hard when I know that it matters. But gosh, how do you know when it matters?


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