Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Difficulty of Shallow Roots

And then today, while hiking, I learned that plants with shallow roots are bad for erosion and can cause mud slides. The earth needs deep roots to hold it in place.

It reminded me of my own shallow roots, my willingness to up and move at a moment's notice. The excitement of moving, the thought: I can be whomever I want to now. I can dress all in black, line my eyes in kohl, get something pierced, and go to open mic nights at coffee shops. I can buy ten different types of moisture wicking bras, drink protein shakes, and sign up for a marathon. I can wear my hair in pigtail braids, slouch around in plaid, and go on hikes where I learn about root systems of invasive plants. I can be all these people, but I always wind up just being me with my shallow roots and terrible diet and wardrobe chock full of solid print tees.

Maybe this is because I am not there yet, I am still becoming. I feel like I'll be becoming for the rest of my life. And I'm okay with that.

I learned about balance. It isn't something that you have, it's something that you learn. Like all things, you learn it by doing--patience and practice. I learned about speed. How it's not important to me, but I feel like it should be, because it seems so important to everyone else. I learned that tiny steps will get you where you need to be just as surely as big ones.  

Husband hiked behind me and said, "Maybe it'll help if you get in a better rhythm." I think he's probably right.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fail Again

There’s a philosophy that I used to gravitate towards: If I don’t try, I can’t fail. Failure is such a dirty word in our culture. As embarrassing as adult acne, second-hand clothes, and purple El Caminos.

We need a new outlook on failure.

Spring feels like a good time to try something new. It feels like the right time to fail at something. Better than New Years in my humble opinion (Yeah, like I’ve ever had one of those!). Spring is a re-birth, a re-imagining, a re-mover if it has to be.

Dust off the cobwebs from winter. Wash everything clean. Look at your life in a new light. You don’t have to be the same person you were. The person who was too scared to try new things. You don’t have to be that. You, too, could be a failure.

For spring, go try something new and fail at it. Fail miserably, but keep at it. Fail so bad that people (those people who never try new things) talk about you behind your back. And then, fail some more. Fail until you don’t care that you’re failing. And eventually, you’ll get it.

Or maybe you won’t.

And is that really such a terrible thing? To not be able to do something? To try and not succeed.

I’m a writer, therefore, a professional failure. I’m an expert at failure and, trust me, the more you do it, the less scary it is. Now, I’ve even branched out. Instead of just failing at writing, I’ve failed at a whole host of other things (running, ukulele, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, parenting, the list goes on and on). There’s no limit to the things that you can fail at if you really put your mind to it.

Failure has become comfortable to me, like that feeling of pulling up to my house on a dark night and seeing the lights are on, signs of life. I can sit in my car and imagine inside: my children’s laughter, the smell of supper cooking on the stove, the chaos of the day strewn about. Failure is as much a part of the fabric of my life as all of that. I say it every day: I can’t do it…yet.

It’s my passion, it's my goal. Fail at as many things as I possibly can. The sky's the limit.