I dislike failure. Not failure in general, but failure as it relates to me. If someone else fails, it’s interesting; if someone fails hard, it’s really interesting; and if I dislike that person and they fail hard, it’s almost rewarding (terrible human being = me). But if I fail, it’s the apocalypse.
It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular that I fail at, it could be a new recipe I try or a glaringly obvious and inappropriate typo in a work email. My mind starts reeling with what a pathetic human being I am and how it’s remarkable I’m permitted to walk the earth with such an incredible stench of failure encompassing me and all within a 10-foot radius of my incredible suckiness as a person.
I do not fail at a flair for the dramatic. This, indeed, I excel at.
Often, I find that I’d rather not try at something rather than fail. One could argue that technically, not trying means an automatic fail. But even more technically, one could argue that you can’t fail at something you don’t try. Moot point?
The situation I am faced with now is the worst kind of failure—the kind where failure was the unexpected outcome.
Oh confidence. You tricked me!
Before I continue on, I confess, I’m wary to share my failure. To any other person who isn’t me or isn’t involved in my little world it will seem like peanuts. And I mean peanuts to someone who likes peanuts, salted and unsalted, and not to someone who is allergic.
I’m a self-proclaimed ballerina, and I use the word “ballerina” very liberally. Three years ago, I put on ballet slippers and have casually haunted dance studios ever since. Yes, at the overripe age of 30, I’m getting my repressed ballerina on.
When my husband, child, and two cats moved to a new, smaller community, I found the best way to dance was to join in on the middle and high school classes. Because of my immaturity, I fit right in with the tweens and teens.
These classes require exams. I like to work for something, so I participate in these evaluations. I’ve been trucking through the ballet levels, surpassing my “peers,” but apparently too fast. My most recent exam resulted with an “F.” The only class I ever got an “F” in was 9th grade geometry, and let’s be honest, when do I ever use geometry? Shapes are dumb.
On the bright side, if this can be considered a bright side, I’m in good company. Half my class failed the exam and the other half of the class received what is known as a “pass conditional.” Dancers that fail together, um, stay together? At least to repeat the level!
I feel the failure hits me harder because of my age in relation to my fellow dancers. It’s embarrassing. These girls look up to me even though they are mostly taller than me (figurative look ups, everyone!). I feel like an idol fallen from grace, a loser, a coming-of-age disappointment to a generation.
Pride takes the worst hit when faced with failure.
The emotional result is that I’m ashamed I ever undertook trying to make my ballet dreams come true. What can it achieve but heartache and sore toes? But it doesn’t stop there, it shakes my confidence in everything I want to do, and let me tell you, I have been bit by the project, entrepreneurial, creative bug and I need all the courage and chutzpah I can muster to make it happen.
The idea of failing stops me in my tracks.
So what’s a fallen ballerina to do? Quit and cut my losses?
My dance teacher told me the best analogy to get me through this difficult time. She said that if I have a car with a flat tire, I don’t puncture holes in the other three.
So, it’s time to get the spare out, drive to the nearest service station, and get everything rearing to go because the road trip isn’t over yet.
Here’s to further failures, successes, and all the mediocrity in between!