Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What If I Fucked It All Up?

It is quite possible that I have fucked it all up.

Parenting, marriage, career; there’s pretty strong odds that all I’ve touched has gone horribly awry. I know you think I’m overreacting, or this theory is a ploy to get you to continue to read because I have a poignant and resonant message as a return on your investment. 

Nope. No Ploy. Not yet. As a matter of fact, here is some data:

·       I am unhappy in my job
·       My marriage is surviving but not thriving
·       My sons are not taking Honors classes
·       One of them has smoked pot
·       We just found two ticks on my dog
·       My house is a mess
·       We are in uncomfortable debt
·       I have achieved very few of my childhood dreams
·       My second manicure that I have ever received started chipping on the second day

These facts are hard to argue with. I’m pretty sure a jury of my peers would judge me for fucking it all up and then gossip about my failures to make themselves feel better on the way to their clean cars that have no stray french fries under the mats.

It feels like an indelible-Sharpie-esque mark of conclusion from which there is no reform. And the sheer volume of my failures (the above list is but a short list summary) is as paralyzing, pervasive and persistent as poison ivy. I just keep scratching in search of immediate relief, which is quickly replaced by a deeper more complex understanding of the web of my fuck ups. So, I stop all together and wallow in an oozy puss-filled mass of resignation and pity.

I do not deserve pity or reassurance at this time. I would, however, welcome any and all disgust and disdain. Admitting I fucked it all up is not brave or edgy or revolutionary. It does, however, imply two truths.

1. Accepting failure can be a convenient cop-out
2. I think I have actual control over the universe

The indelible seeming permanence of failure and its siren song of “Just Give Up,” is such a tempting dish of denial. It is so easy to give up; to leave that job instead of doing it better, to shove the mess in the closet rather than actually sort it into those helpful “to keep” “to store” and “to give away” piles, to buy that $10 cardigan because you only have brick red and not tomato red yet. Plus, giving up implies starting over again; the opportunity to erase all that went before and start from scratch, and get it right this time.

What’s harder is collaborating with failure. To really listen to your failures and let them tell you a little something about yourself; the general gist of which is “You’re not perfect, but your life is not impossible.” And then, hopefully, you breathe and find the bravery in doing the small tasks that chip away at the bigger ones that are far too hard to swallow in one bite.

And now onto the arrogance of control. Donning the mantle of “I fucked it all up” assumes control; because if I fucked it up, well than I can obviously fix it, and if I fix it, everything will be okay and perfect and happily ever after is a lock. Right?


The thing about “fixing it” is that every time something is fixed, it is not “like new.” (We all know that from purchasing anything on Ebay.) It is, however, more interesting and unique than when it was new. Flaws are never erased, they are incorporated. They can be apologized for or embraced. They are gifts of discovery and growth. They are the freckles, scars and stains that make a memorable story and, if we let them, reveal a deeper truth of who we are.

Failure and Flaws; words to live by, or Taylor Swift’s next hit?

It is still quite possible that I have fucked much up, and that there is more hard than easy in my horoscope. But hard is not impossible. So, I’m going to breathe, get my ass off the couch, change out of my pajamas and try something different at work, sort through at least one closet and buy that tomato red cardigan; because if I am going to fuck up, I’m at least going to wear the right shade of red.

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