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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The beauty behind failure

I have kind of had a dirt sandwich kind of day.  It's amazing how one little thing that doesn't go as planned can leave you feeling like a complete loser.  And if you let that one thing bother you, it can cast a shadow on everything else that is going right.
When I was in college I auditioned for a the MFA program at school in San Francisco.  I prepared for months, selecting the perfect monologue. I traveled there alone and auditioned.  I really thought it went well.  I nailed it. I even went out that night to celebrate.  The next day the call backs were on the door,  I read the list. My name wasn't on it. After re-reading the names again and again and again (and again).  It didn't magically appear.  I. WAS. DEVASTATED.  My entire life plan had just been deleted.
What the hell was I going to do now?  I returned to the hotel and cried on the bathroom floor.  Just to give you an idea of how devastated I was. I would never in my right mind even sit on a hotel bathroom floor, I wouldn't even lay on MY bathroom floor. Yet there I was in a heap of tears and fetal position agony.  The next day I awoke and ordered room service and cried some more.
I let someone else's decision determine my destiny. I thought, well hell, if the panel of 3 people I don't know, don't like me, then the entire world won't like me either. Therefor I am a big ass loser and I might as well just be a waitress for the rest of my life.
I'm not exaggerating here. I really could not see past the overwhelming sense of rejection. I actually went through a mourning period.  Mourning the one school I wanted to go to which had rejected me.
Some would suggest getting back in the saddle and trying again. Not me. I wanted nothing to do with the people. I threw a self pity party of one where I felt like everyone hated me and thought I sucked.
Rejection stinks.  Even if its something you didn't really care about.
Today my dirt sandwich was delivered in the form of the rejection of an idea I had.  I really thought it was a good idea. Granted I didn't change my whole life plan like I did with my audition, but I at least thought it would benefit my career and make my job better.
Today, rather than crying on the bathroom floor at work. I buried my feelings in Starbucks.  It is an old security blanket that I turn to when I need comfort.  I hope to God that doesn't sound as pathetic as it did when I just re-read it.  But I'm just being honest.  I have said this before, and people disagree with me up and down, but I am shy.  Terribly. To go out on a limb and suggest something is hard for me.  Even worse is if I am going into a situation where I don't know who will be there, I will always go to get a coffee before hand. Even if I feel super awake.    That way, if I'm in a situation and don't know what to say, I can put the cup up to my mouth and drink coffee so I don't have to talk.
This has worked for me all through college and numerous meetings and social functions.
The only problem is, is when I don't have a coffee and the only beverage available is alcohol.  That results in me drinking too much and then becoming way wAY WAY too chatty.
So as I stood in Starbucks trying to not jump over the counter for my personalized security blanket, I stopped thinking about my rejection.
I started to look over the photos in my cameral roll and remembered how I had snapped this photo.

I took it this morning as I was trying to get dressed.  In an effort to be close to us, yet not get taken back to his room, Oscar found the perfect nesting spot on our bed. I must admit, I felt his little breath on my foot last night, but was too tired and (too comfortably happy) to take him back.

I smiled.  It came full circle.  I'm not a failure at all.  If I had gotten into the MFA program I would probably still be a waitress only with a higher degree.  I would have never met my husband. And never been able to look at my bed and snap a picture of this bed bug.

This latest rejection isn't any different despite my immediate tendency to feel like I should quit and start a job as a professional coffee consumer.

Ironically, the audition that I felt changed my life forever, I read my favorite Shakespeare monologue from  As You Like It.   This quote isn't from that work, but if Shakespeare had written about my life, this just might have been a quote.

"Maybe love won't let you down.  All of your failures are training grounds and just as your back's turned you'll be surprised… as your solitude subsides."
- William Shakespeare