Eat This, Failure

Mar 18, 2018 | domesticity, life, work

Hi. Hello. It’s me, the marketer who doesn’t write in her own blog.

It’s something I think about just about every day, of course. I start the day with good intentions, and other things get in the way.

Mostly myself.

The last six and a half months have rocked me to my very core. I have been tested repeatedly, watching my parents separate, losing my job, issues within my own marriage, on top of the day-to-day struggles of being a full-time working parent of two active boys. Throw in financing an emergency appendectomy without insurance (so fun!), and one might understand my desire to stay in my bed and never come out.

I have felt like a failure more times than I care to admit.

As a parent, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend. I try so hard to offer empathy and compassion to other people, and I’ve been absolute shit about giving it to myself.

A huge portion of my feelings of shame surrounding failure starts with a loss of control. (This is a surprise to no one who knows me well.) The standards I set for myself are ridiculous. I would never ask anyone else to try and live up to them.

Yet every day, I wake up and expect myself to have the energy to exercise, eat a good breakfast, get my children ready for school, do laundry and clean before leaving the house, travel to work without screaming at drivers on the highway, get to work and pump out A-plus content, do the same thing for freelance clients during my lunch (or after kids are in bed), come home and cook a meal that my children will actually eat, help Grayson with his homework without frustration, get them ready for bed with stories and songs, and then choose between curling up with one of the 4-5 books I’m trying to sludge through or making time to write or spending quality time with Oscar.

And as I’m finding out, trying to keep all of this together while you’re mourning the relationship of your parents is fucking hard. Harder still is trying to figure out how you fit into all of it as an adult child with your own messy, complicated relationships.

I’m both lucky and unlucky that I have such amazing and different relationships with both of my parents. It’s what has made this divorce unbearable for me. My Mom is more like my best friend, but I’m a carbon copy of my father.

All my life, people have told me I’m exactly like my Dad. I’ve had so much of my own identity wrapped up in being like my father. I was always proud of that. Now, I feel like I should be ashamed to be like him. Others’ disapproval of my father has felt like disapproval of me, and I’m working on separating the two.

I’m more contemplative than I’ve ever been, trying to make sense of all of it: my parents’ separation and where I fit into all of it, how to navigate through it, and how I want to move forward with my own relationship with Oscar and my children. I now recognize that marriage is a complex beast and people are constantly evolving. Hell, I am in no way the same person I was when I married, and that is such a good thing.

Daring Greatly and Loving Wholeheartedly

I just finished listening to Daring Greatly, and I loved it so much that I bought the book so that I could make notes and highlight sections that spoke to me.

The last few months have made me feel like a less-than-stellar parent. (And regular ‘ol human being.) Stress, fear and sadness have enveloped me and sometimes turned me into a person I hardly recognize. My already-famous short temper has been nonexistent, particularly over loss of control with small, day-to-day things. There’s been so much in my life that I’ve had a complete lack of control over, and I just wanted to control something, anything.

I come back to this recurring feeling of holding myself to near-impossible standards, getting frustrated and grasping for things I could control. When I heard the following quote from Brene’s book, it smacked me upside the head in the most profound way:

“The most valuable and important things in my life came to me when I cultivated the courage to be vulnerable, imperfect, and self-compassionate.” (128)

So here I am. Writing out my demons in all their imperfect glory, in hopes that having the courage to admit that I’m far from perfect will allow me to be compassionate with myself.

And as a result, focusing on the most valuable and important things in my life: the people I love.

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