Friday, September 24, 2010

Pathos at the Gym

I have this thing about trying - I don't do it. Or, I didn't. I'm trying to try more.

Please find below my boarding-on-pathological reasoning:
(Note- my logic applies only to myself- all others are encourages and supported in their trying and not made fun of or thought of as failures regardless of outcome).
If you try to do something and you can't do it you have failed. Not only have you failed at the task, you are a failure. Being a failure is unacceptable and should be hidden, or better yet, avoided all together. If you are going to put effort into something for the love of God make sure you don't tell anyone about it and use most of your energy to make it look like you are not trying, because otherwise there will be witnesses to your failure, making it undeniable and causing you to loose the love and respect of family and friends.

Oh, and failure includes doing things the "easy way" and succeeding.

- Cramming, studying, putting everything you have into a paper or a test should be avoided for 2 reasons: if you try that hard and then do well it doesn't count. One should be smart enough, "good" enough, that the material being covered, even if it has never been studied before, should already be in your head. Second, if you try that hard and *don't* do well, well then, failure for sure. The only true way to succeed at school is to get straight A's without trying.
- Working on writing a book is fine. It's drafting letters to publishers and literary agents where the problems begin. Like the studying, if you put your all into it and fail then there you are, and if you don't put your all into it (or really never even drag your failure of an ass to the post office to put anything in the mail to said publishers and agents) then there you are. The only real way to get published is to write a book so brilliant that even though you tell no one about it you are solicited by major publishers, get them into a bidding war, and then donate all proceeds from the book to Liberian amputees.

It's not a mystery where I get this - I blame my dad's side of the family entirely. This is a family who competes in every day conversation to see who can be the wisest, the wittiest, the most sarcastic, and if the sarcasm really hurts you (which it's bound to do) they they compete to see who can come up with the most caustic retort that will best achieve the dual purposes of humiliating the offender and making it clear that the offended could care less and would *never* be hurt by anything anyone else could ever say. They are (successful, gainfully employed)professional musicians, (successful, gainfully employed) movie producers, NTY op-ed writers, lawyers, linguists, double PhDs, you get the idea.

It's not that I think they would judge me or love me less if I failed, it's more nebulous than that.... something having to do with failing in front of success or something....

The whole not trying to try thing has hurt me throughout my life. I have missed out on opportunities left and right for fear of failure. I have not tried at things I was 99% sure I would succeed at. I have purposly made myself seem more oblivious, dumber, more carefree, less serious than I am. I have often hidden my true thoughts or feelings for fear that I was wrong and therefore a failure in conversation or ideation.

So after 33 years of not trying I have decided it is time for an attempt at failure. I've started with small, less measurable steps: being my whole self around people who I trust and love, putting my all into being a mother to my children.

And now I'm ready to try a little harder.

This week I started this class at the gym - 3 mornings a week for 12 weeks I get my ass kicked by a trainer. On Monday we had to write down our goals: what I wanted to loose (weight, and lots of it) and what I wanted to gain (strength and stamina). We do a reassessment at 6 weeks and so there is a big fat opportunity to fail, flop, flounder, not achieve what I set out to do. It is literally in black and white; as clear cut as it gets. And to top it off I'm writing about it here so I am now accountable to you all as well.

So potential to fail, in "public"...... stay tuned!


dearheart said...

You go girl, with your glorious self!

anymommy said...

Not a chance of you being a failure; not to me.

Joy said...

This post reminds me of a great quote I read the other day. "You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great."