What I Learned From Being a Big Fat Failure
About a month ago, I embarked on this crazy self-improvement project. I was just coming off of a harsh romantic rejection, and I guess my subconscious was gearing me towards distraction. It was basically a 30 day challenge on crack-steroids. I was going to start a 30 day challenge every day for 30 days (Morgan Spurlock’s wet dream). The 30 Days of 30 Day Challenges Challenge. Rolls right off the tongue…
People thought I was insane. My therapist straight up laughed at me. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be that hard.
Yup. I failed. Pret-ty hard. Even after I amended it to just be 30 days total. I got to the first day of “No Lying,” when I figured I should stop lying to myself that this was continuing to be a worthwhile project.
I had realized that it was stressing me out, even though the challenges were mostly not that difficult. I wasn’t even feeling that kind of stress that’s fueled with anxiety. Just straight up stress. But I’m pretty sure that’s what precipitated the eye twitch I got going on. And maybe even the low back/butt/hip injury I’m nursing currently. And might be the reason I forgot about going to jury duty that one day.
Basically, it stopped helping me. All this being said, I learned a buttload (the link is about measurements not butts… sorry.)
It was harder than I thought it would be to not drink alcohol… Not that I like to drink a lot, but with some first dates mixed in, it got stressful. And then, of course, Halloween happened. It all simply highlighted the fact that I still sometimes use alcohol to feel more at ease in social situations. I did not drink at a concert I went to, which allowed me to be closer to the stage, and I had an amazing time!
Write a Poem a Day
I actually like writing poetry! How bout that! One thing I noticed is that I tend to like the poem more when I’m temporally separated from it. Like the day of or during I think it’s absolute shit. No merit. Shouldn’t qualify as words. And then when I look back through the other poems, I’m like “Damn! Why can’t I write like that now!” Maybe if enough time passes, I’ll think they’re good enough to post 😬
Read a Chapter a Day
I did pretty well with this one. This is one of the few practices that has continued on.
Write Down Dreams
I gave up on this one pretty quickly as I would forget or not remember well enough. I did notice a pattern of me being oppressed in my dreams, though. Me being in the wrong.
Wear a New Outfit
Got me to donate clothes I don’t wear!
Write a Novel (50,000 words)
I got 20,000 words in before I quit. With my writing style, it was hard to keep pushing quantity. It started getting really off the tracks. But SHIT! I never thought I would write a novel, and now I’ve started one. I’m definitely going to finish it after a break.
Challenges I Decided Against
- Keeping a Laugh journal — I laugh too much to keep track
- Wake up at 6 am — I didn’t need the extra time. I do need my ample amount of sleep, though (It’s a Drane thing)
- No complaints/contractions — I found it hard to remember to NOT do something that’s so unspecific when you have all these other challenges going on…
Challenges I Didn’t Get To
No Dating Apps✨No Caffeine (thank GOD)✨No Social Media✨No Netflix (I had already pre-amended this to just be no Netflix in bed. Because Stranger Things!)✨Write a Heart on My Body (might just start doing this…)✨Cartwheel✨No Dishes Left in the Sink (as I stare at the precariously stacked pile)
Biggest lesson that I’m taking from all this is it’s obviously all right to fail. It’s all right to set off on some grand idea just to fall flat on your face. I say this not only as someone who failed in her silly post-breakup distraction, but as someone who failed to start a non-profit, to complete her music degree, at being married, at going to grad school, at being vegan (damn that birthday cake).
There’s nothing inherently wrong with failure. It’s all right to fail as long as you don’t dismiss the experience entirely. It’s only harmful when you refuse to learn from it. Whether from shame or stubbornness. Pride or stupidity.
I used to have a music teacher who would urge us to fail loud. That way it can be noticed and addressed. Also, then all the other notes you’re singing would be done so with gusto and confidence — instead of timidly, fearful of making that mistake.
So I urge you to dream big, my friends. Honor all of those crazy things you want out of your life. Run after them with gusto and confidence.