I feel like…
I feel like it’s important to write, like, DURING the failures, you know? In the midst of them. Before anything is fixed or resolved. Because that’s the space we sit in sometimes, and it seems silly to me–perhaps even dangerous–to share just the wins. Sharing only the wins creates a false narrative. It makes folks think winning is the norm rather than the truth which is that most of us… dare I say, all of us… try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and sometimes clock a win which starts the cycle again because the only way to win is to try and the only way to learn is to fail.
But we don’t like sharing the failures. I know, for me, that feels achingly vulnerable because I’m exposing the things I long for while also acknowledging I may never achieve them. I’m admitting the things that are left undone that I feel I really ought to have finished by now. I’m confessing the places I feel not enough or unworthy or, worse, the ways I may have neglected people I love and generous opportunities I have. It’s a tender place to invite people to visit.
Nevertheless, here we are. Welcome in. Pull up a chair. I promise this isn’t a Woe-Is-Me Condemnation of Self. Nor is it meant to be a downer. Just reality which is so very often unresolved.
So. Today I offer to you
An Abridged List of Recent Failures
1. I have 186 unread texts because it is my habit–My Brilliant System–to leave messages unread that I intend to reply to. The “unread” indicator is supposed to remind me the message exists and, in theory, I will open it and read more than the four “teaser” words when I have time to respond. Some of my texts are over a year old. Probably longer but I’m afraid to scroll that far. So if you’re waiting to hear back from me, I apologize, but also I’ve left your message unread out of respect and because I love you and intend to reply. Bless my heart.
2. Samesies with my personal email.
3. Samesies with my blog email…except that sometimes I become overwhelmed with the sheer volume I’ve neglected and so I avoid this account out of anxiety and dread. If you’re waiting for an initial response about the new cruise retreats, I’ve probably responded and connected you to our travel agent. But if you’re waiting for a response about, oh, anything else, welcome to Beth Woolsey Purgatory. I don’t know what to tell you other than that I’m very reliable. Eventually. But also, eventually may mean the Year 3000. If ghosts are made from people who have unfinished business upon this earth, then I am doomed to haunt us all forever. Sorry.
4. Let’s not discuss all the FB and Insta messages I’ve left unread. No need to beat a dead horse, especially since, in this scenario, the horse is me. (Also, for the record, there’s no need to beat a live horse, either. Stop it.)
5. Sometimes I mention the fact that, in 15 years of writing online, despite the excessive rolling of Greg’s eyes, I have elected not to monetize my blog or my socials. I also am always careful to say that I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward those who do monetize since this is, like, a Literal Job that takes a Huge Numbers of Hours and people really do deserve to be paid for their labor AND there are many, MANY ways to make money with integrity. It’s not about shilling shit. It’s about sharing products that like-minded people may Actually Want and Need. I mean, I say this, but really I mean it’s true for people other than me. And the real reason I don’t monetize? Because, out of a somewhat misplaced sense of duty, a poor definition of “mission,” and an inappropriate measure of my own worth, I don’t believe I should be paid for my work. I pay money to keep my blog running. I almost always lose money on retreats because I care more about affordability for participants than I do about breaking even. I’ve made approximately $512 in six years of being an Amazon Affiliate because why–why?--would anyone want to know about the Things I Love so they can enjoy them, too? And I’ve worn it as a Badge of Honor that I make Worse Than Babysitting Money at my job. Other People deserve to be paid for their work. But Not Me because my purpose isn’t dollars, it’s to free myself and others to be our wild, authentic selves. Ironic from someone who touts Both/And as a more valuable way of living than subscribing to a false binary, I know. I see it. But Being Authentic and Making Some Dollars is nevertheless a Big Hurdle for me. Huge. I’m working on it. I swear.
6. Perhaps my BIGGEST failure of late is the fact that I didn’t update my payment card when the old one expired for my email subscription service. Anyone who’s self-employed understands emails are gold. Every email someone offers carries the ability to contact them directly without relying on social media. It’s like I can knock on your door. Leave you messages under the welcome mat. Because I know where to find you. (Side note: this is why I can’t comprehend businesses selling/giving email addresses. IT IS A SACRED TRUST. It is someone’s living room. Someone please elect me Grand Czar of the World so I can fix this. I’m certain after reading this blog post you’re eager to hire me for an important leadership positon.) So ten years of collecting emails? POOF. Gone. Vanished. Purged is the word they used because I use a service that guarantees your info is safe. If I can’t access it? Then no one can. Did the service remind me? Yes. Yes, they did. Did they give me months to fix this problem? Sure enough. Did I see any of those messages or notice the problem? Please see #3 above. In related news, if you never want to miss a blog post (until I don’t renew my service again because I’m a helpless baby deer), please do subscribe or resubscribe by clicking here with my profound thanks and sincere apology. Lord love a duck.
7. And finally, to end on a positive note, here’s a failure that I’m actually, truly, sincerely proud of, not because I have failed and continue to fail, which is absolutely accurate, but because I’m electing to persevere. My quirky, queer, nerdy fantasy fiction novel has been rejected by 112 literary agents. Nope, that’s not a typo. That number is ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE. But I’ve decided I still think it’s good because every writer needs a certain amount of deluded grandeur to continue writing, so I’m still farming it out to agents. Will it ever be published? The Magic 8 Ball says, “OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD.” I’m writing another one anyway, and I have a new series idea I’m super excited about. Nevertheless, she persisted.
And I suppose that’s really the point. Trying. Failing. Trying again. Failing. Quitting and laying flat on my face because I just can not–CAN NOT–muster the energy to do it again, and I fundamentally reject the keep on keeping on mentality…the pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality…the one foot in front of the other mentality…because HONESTLY, SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO REST ffs. And then, when my meds are readjusted and I’ve had time to recalibrate and I’ve reminded myself that I am worthy of Good Things and can treat myself kindly, I persist in the trying and the failing. And eevvvvvery now and then grabbing the win.
So just in case you, like me, are made out of human and you, too, experience *ahem* itty bitty minor failures from time to time, I’m not here to tell you to buck up. But I am here to say Me, Too. You’re not alone, friend. Grace now and always, in failure and in success. You deserve it. And so do I.
Waving in the Dark,
P.S. Here’s that subscribe link again for your convenience.
P.P.S. I’m also on the Instant Gram and the Book of Faces. It’s mostly foster kittens and stuff my kids carve into penises. Sometimes I read articles about how important it is to curate your social media feed and I feel like I could do better, but in the end I gotta be me.
P.P.P.S. Cruise retreats! Here’s more info. There’s still time to come in November; we’re a teeny group so it’s going to be fun to really get to know each other. I know you gotta be extra brave to go on vacation with strangers, but I promise we’re just friends you haven’t met yet.