the failure of failure

A few years ago I was interviewing a colleague for a not-so-secret video project (bots&circles), when he said that his biggest fear was failure. An incredibly common phobia, I never quite understood it. I always had the attitude that things don't always work out in life - and you can't expect it to either. But if you didn't have that disappointment and feeling of "failure", it meant that either a.) it didn't really mean that much to you or b.) you didn't try hard enough to feel any emotional impact. 

Tyler once shared this with me:

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." ― John Lennon

To me the disappointment associated with failure was just a sign that you really cared about something. To not feel anything when you didn't get something you thought you wanted seemed much worse.

Take notes.

Take notes.

Fast forward four years to present day, and after falling on my face my times - yes, failing suuuucks. My recent standout failures have all been with interpersonal relationships (both personal and professional); from the far left side of the spectrum of trying to motivate / inspire a colleague, to the far right side of the spectrum of having my heart broken in the romcom sense (minus the com at the end - whatever that would be). For me, both the left and right (and the middle spectrum) leave me in that familiar state of mental paralysis / dumbfounded state + the physical sensation of having too much gastric acid in your stomach and just wanting to live out the rest of my life in a hole.

My older sister says I'm the least emotional one in our family. 

During that most recent left swing, he told me that he didn't care enough. But also that he didn't want to be like me either because I cared too much. (I don't like half assing things. If I'm half assing, it means I don't care. And if I don't care - why am I doing it. I feel this way at work too, and it's weird sometimes.)

After one of my most recent swings to the right, I now fight with myself regarding whether I care too much. Is it possible to care about something too much? About someone too much? Caring is what makes us human in the first place, is it not? Something I previously considered one of my biggest strengths has become my biggest shortcoming. I quickly find myself playing a mental cat and mouse game of "do I care too much? how much do I care? how much do they care about me? if I do this how will it be interpreted?" I discovered that caring is my kryptonite.

Ironically my Chinese name translates to something like "wise heart" because after all this I think I have a dumb heart. HA I just looked it up and it means "knowing (of a smile, look etc) heart"; however, if you just change one character tone it becomes "to lose heart, to be discouraged". It's like when you accidentally call your Mom a "horse" if you're not careful. #chinese101joke

I've lost heart, and I am discouraged. I'm currently at this junction where I see Path # 1 where I'm just like - why bother? What am I doing. Other people don't seem to care so much or work so hard, and they seem perfectly fine and happy. Not living on the streets. (I have the same argument about whether or not I want to be a responsible human, so things are blending together.) It's extremely tiring put in 120% to get 30% in return. And I just want to put up those walls - pow pow pow - and just have that I-am-gonna-do-what-I-want and I don't give AF attitude toward life. 

The map with the option of NO EFFs.

The map with the option of NO EFFs.

Then I pivot and there is Path #2 - and it's this elated feeling of my heart just growing and getting stronger. As we all wander through life and what it give us, if you're lucky to stumble upon someone you love - you give them everything you humanly can. Ideally with the expectation of nothing in return. And then life continues to happen and you may find someone else you love, and you give. Loving and giving isn't finite, and I imagine that this is all happening concurrently.

I've lost a love. Lost in the literal meaning of the word, and it is terrible. So terrible I can still remember and replay the emotional and physical pain at the very moment I heard the news. So terrible that I would think any pain is better than that. You never stop loving someone after you've lost them, so it seems unwise to stop loving someone you haven't lost. 

Yet I find myself still teleporting back to this junction. Still failing at things, as I do - and will continue to do. But I've been encouraging myself to continue stay open and to love. Yes, it's often painful, but right now I hope to always do what I want and choose Path #2.

Love while you still can. Care while you still can.

give and take and hope

focus on your strengths