Conditioned to Fail ~ 13th April 2013
I am already beginning to feel like a failure and I’m not even sure I’ve quite begun.
I’m tired you see. Tired of starting over. Of trying new things. Of the next new idea. The too many ideas that flood my mind at inconvenient moments.
It all comes so. damn. hard.
I suppose that it doesn’t help that I’ve spent the last two nights plagued by insomnia. Something that is neither foreign to me nor all that familiar. Just uncomfortable enough to get the voices going.
And this is certainly not the face I wish to present to the world. But it is the truth. And as E.B. White wrote: There is one thing that the essayist cannot do — he cannot indulge himself in deceit or in concealment, for he will be found out in no time.
So I live with the ugly truth of insecurity and self-doubt that besets me at times. And I compose around this. With and through this.
For, it all adds up to one thing: what exactly have I accomplished ?
A bit for sure. Some things that look good on paper. More life experience than I am comfortable admitting to just anyone, and much too much for my years.
But after all that, when it’s all said and done? I thought perhaps life might look different by now. I’m not sure in what way. Not something I might be able to describe all that well. Just different.
And so it’s 2am and I am typing this on my phone in the vain hope sleep will overtake me. And as if to gently, or not so gently, remind me that life is truly not all that bad my baby is doing somersaults in my stomach. It seems she is a night owl. Poor thing. Just like her mother.
This is a child I desperately wanted. A girl I will do my best to raise without the constricting false concepts of failure and success as our Culture defines them. The constricting dyad that creates droned workers of us all.
I haven’t bought in. Not intellectually at least. I’m not cut out for the 9-5 drudgery. The mindless, endless commutes. The yes ma’ams and no sirs. The schedules. Appointments. Meetings and politics. I suppose it’s a blessing to know that early on.
Mind you, and so that I’m not misunderstood, it is not that I am at all adverse to hard work. I have spent over half my life in the service industry. Which is a nice way of saying I slaved away as a waiter in too many restaurants to count. I juggled work shifts with classes. I hold two degrees, with honors. I’m supposed to be doing quite well.
But sometimes, at the end of the day, I am consumed with the grim thought that all my endeavors will simply amount to nothing.
And maybe they will. In that materialistic sense anyway. It’s easy to drown in the morass of today. But what choice do I have? I could wake up every morning and not set to work. I could cast it all aside. I could stifle my desire, my passion to create and resign myself to… what exactly?
Motherhood as the all defining answer? Wifedom? Another version of another Corporate Drone?
Banking on any one thing for ultimate salvation is just a way to set ourselves and others up for extreme disappointment. Life doesn’t work like this. There is no one answer. There is no one identity. No one decision. No one role is the end-all-be-all to how I define myself. To how and who I am. The white knight in any form is truly a myth.
So in the end these are not possibilities, or only possibilities amongst many other possibilities. I won’t allow this bleak state to persist for long lest I curse myself. Lest I break the silent pact I have made with my partner and the secret promise I wish to keep to my as of yet unborn daughter. The baby I wanted so badly. The child I am yearning to know.
For her. For him. For me.
It’s not like I don’t have a choice. I can quietly off myself or I can get to work.