My birthday is right around the corner. It is specifically during this time that I look back at what I have lived like this past year. Last year around this same time, I told myself I was going to do something so amazingly significant that I dared to call it a miracle, a self affirming accomplishment that would somehow fill me with the happiness I craved.
But life is funny at how it comes around to giving you what you wish for. I have failed fantastically instead at almost everything this past year.
I failed at love. Somehow my giving nature backfired and resulted in a love where I gave everything and lost everything. I also tried the opposite of keeping everything and I still lost everything. It’s the loss of that part of me that identifies with being someone’s someone that hurts. Because you merge, after sometime you merge with the other person and somehow identify yourself as one with another. And I’m not sure if that’s how love is supposed to be, or what. For me, the other person’s happiness was equal, if not more important than my own, but it ended up with me failing myself. I failed, incredibly so at being a real person. I acquiesced my own opinions, beliefs, wants, that internal part of you that roots you to earth, and lost. I became a ghost of the person I was.
So I clung to that other part of me that identifies who I am, my job, my career. My focus on that grew to an obsession, and I turned into a somewhat greedy, selfish, and bitchy person who stayed working until 11pm or up until 4 am to write grants for an organization, that at the end of the day told me I didn’t fit into their vision. I should’ve gotten the clue when I was the only person upset over a missed deadline and my boss’s response was “maybe it wasn’t meant to be.” But failing in my personal life meant I couldn’t handle failing in this public part of life, but I still failed at it.
So when I arrived home, I realized that this past year I became a ghost to my own girls. I may be over exaggerating there a bit because being a perfect mom is a huge deal to me. And hearing words like, “remember when mom used to make cinnamon rolls” hit home hard. Finally being home to make them breakfast or pick them up from school made me realize I missed an entire year of them growing up though. I missed dinners and I missed honor roll ceremonies, thereby not fitting into the vision I had of my own home. I’ve always identified with the mom that’s always there for you. And somehow in this year of changes in family dynamics, in schools, in jobs, in growing up, I failed to be there.
I have also failed in my own studies. I have failed in understanding global economics now for two tries. To be quite honest, I didn’t even open the book for the other two classes until now, thirty days before the term is up. I have failed at writing or publishing anything. I have drafts upon drafts saved of words from moments that didn’t seem momentous enough to get a poem or maybe they were and the words didn’t fit them. Either way, they remain unpublished.
And the last year me, would have blamed it on all the stresses I have in my life. I would’ve cried and been down on the dumps for about a day to three days, if I’m honest. And I have cried at these failure, apparently I’m not as smart as I presumed, and I don’t manage time well, or living life, or being in love well. But I only allowed myself 20 minutes of crying. Previously, I would’ve gone to bed and stared at the ceiling or watched the sun rise in complete self-indulging-pity parties led by depression. But, I haven’t let myself do that.
Somehow this past year of fantastical failures made me realize that stripped of everything that I thought made me, I somehow are becoming me. Failing at everything, gave me a lot of free time to sit at home and reflect on why (not lay in bed and cry about why, but really, think). And I could blame my failures on one thing or the next, but in truth, I am to blame. For not knowing who I am, made me make decisions that lost me even further to myself. And in some funny, random way, my mistakes have taught me to cross out who I’m not and start to discover who I am.
I am just me now. I am trying to figure life out, only this time I’m not clinging to societal ideals of perfection in love, in careers, in families, or in self identity. This past year I made a wish that I would accomplish something so great I would be incredibly happy. I instead failed at everything, but somehow became happier than I’ve been in a while. So this year, when I blow out my candles, I’ll just say…actually, I don’t know what to wish for, because I’m a little scared of how life will interpret and grant me my wish. But that fear is exciting. And previously, that fear, would cause indecisiveness and paralyze me. But not this year, this year, I will just be me and I will do me with the understanding that I will fail sometimes and laugh about it, or succeed and cry about it, or mix it all up in the process.
© Sara Febles