Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Trying

  "I'm trying" is one of the weakest phrases in the English language. I feel pathetic for even repeating it here. Twice. And yet it seems so fitting for so many situations. Falling behind in your work--hey, I'm trying. Can't quite make dinner and go to the gym in the same night--I'm trying. Keeping a straight face (or worse, a smiling face) when everything around you seems to be crumbling--I'm trying. Trying is useless. Either you do something, or you don't. You succeed, or you fail. You win, or you lose. Don't mistake this for making things black and white. They're not. They never are, even though things would be so much easier if they were. But when it comes to doing things, either you catch up with your work, or you don't. You find time to go to the gym and get dinner for the family, or you don't. You smile through the pain, or you make a sour face and grumble every time anyone speaks to you.
    I suck at hiding things, so on the last one, depending on who I have to smile for, I will fail more often than not. I also suck at multi-tasking. We are all much more efficient when our minds only have to focus on one thing. Right now, I'm writing. My writing would not be coming out quite so coherently were I also trying to check my social media, read other people's blogs, and eat dinner at the same time. With that, I fail quite a bit. And generally, I'm ok with it. We all fail from time to time. I prefer failing when no one's looking, and the only one to judge my failure is me, but it's not a perfect world. I also succeed a fair amount of the time. I get something done sooner than I anticipated. I managed to keep everyone ignorant of the fact that I'm totally full of shit. I finished a blog post. There are plenty of things I succeed at every day.
    But these little successes are almost never enough to carry you through the failures. When we fail, we fail big. Or at least, it always seems a lot bigger when it happens. The guilt comes up and the criticism starts, and the derogation sets in, and then someone else says something about it. One small criticism from someone else, even if they said it in good faith or to be constructive, can hurt and shock our confidence a lot worse than any of the horrible, self-deprecating things we can come up with to chastise ourselves. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to failure, because sometimes, a lot of times, it turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but all the hurtful things we say to ourselves when we catch a mistake or when we fail to do something are flesh wounds compared to the hemorrhaging killshots other people can fire at us. "I'm such an idiot, you say to to yourself, how could I forget to do that?" pales in comparison to "You didn't do that? All right, who wants to do that instead?"
    The best we can do is not let other people get to us. Easier said than done, I know. Boy, do I know it. But if we're going to end up in therapy, it should be because we're crazy, we're complicated, we're off our rockers; not because someone else drove us crazy, complicated us, or snatched the rockers out from under us (no idea if that is the correct contextual use of rocker here, but, moving on). Everything always seems like a big deal when it first happens. But the part that we control is how quickly it shrinks into something forgettable. We just need to learn to accelerate the forgetting process so we get over stuff quicker. The impact of the incident will increase the time it takes to forget it, but self-analysis and self-awareness are always helpful.
    PS: I MAYBE finally found an apartment. I agreed to sublet it, but I still have to sign papers and write checks and what-not. But agreeing and setting a move-in date seems reasonable to start honestly hoping. Thanks, Universe. I needed that one today. :)
Do, or do not. There is no try.

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