My ego has this tendency to bury all my defects in the deepest recesses of my subconscious, trying to prevent me from ever seeing them in the light of day. By looking at myself as this glowing, magnificent demi-god, I rob myself of seeing some of the more beautiful aspects buried in the dirt. In fact, after taking a moment to look at my failures, I saw that you can really get to know who I am by examining my shortcomings. Never forget the pirate’s truth: A treasure has never been found that wasn’t buried or drowned in the dirt.
Today, I’m going to share some of those faults with you. To start, we are going to dive right into the dirt and recount the worst thing I have ever done. It is only fitting to follow that up with some of the mistakes I choose to make every day. Lastly, I’m going to fill you in on the greatest failure I have ever made. But be forewarned, it is not a pretty picture I paint for you today.
To make amends for spending years hiding my shortcomings, I would like to tell you all what may very well be the worst thing I have ever done. It started out innocent enough. It was my son Shay’s birthday and I wanted to make him a special cake. Keep in mind, Betty Crocker I am not, so even attempting to pull this off was a brave adventure. I went all in with layers and pudding filling, brown frosting for the Earth. I even used one of those frosting gel pens to draw a big 8 in the center and little dinosaur footprints scattered across the top.
I walk into the next room, precariously balancing this candle lit cake as I start singing happy birthday. After Scooby Doo on Channel 2 and many more on Channel 4, my family sat silently, waiting in anticipation for the big reveal. Would he blow out all the candles?
Except, he just looks up at me with these sad doe eyes and says, “But Mom, I’m 9.” Oh, quick fix I tell him, as I use my finger to push the bottom left part of the circle over to form a straight line for the nine. I smile and hold out the still lit cake. Nothing, his shocked, sorrow filled eyes don’t budge. “Honey, I’m just getting used to you being 8, you have only been 9 for less than a day. Besides, a mother never wants to think her son is getting older and closer to leaving the house.”
I’m afraid my mom logic failed me and with a dejected reluctant breath, he blew out his candles. You could see on his face that I robbed him of his birthday wish. A kid only gets one 9 year old birthday wish. Flash forward many years and you are likely to find us on some Dr. Phil type show with him recounting how this was the defining mistake, in a line of parental errors that scarred him from becoming a man.
Despite the possible ramifications of my errors, mistakes are actually something I hope to make every day. I love trying new things and learning new skills. Because of my perpetual novice-ness, any good day is full of errors. In my quest to improve the health and economic situation of my family, I have tried all sorts of natural DIY projects.
My most recent mistakes are only far too evident for any soul brave enough to take a stroll through my first ever garden. I would be modest to say that half my seeds never sprouted. My husband loves to joke about the One Carrot we have in the garden. I planted all these flowers for pollination, but it seems as though they only attracted bot-flies and little, produce eating, white butterflies. Sometimes, if you listen really carefully, you can almost hear the fruitless tomatoes screaming, “Help Me, Help me!”
But this is the nature of trying new things. I think the trick might be to keep making new, glorious mistakes and trying desperately not to get stuck repeating the same old ones. After all, this is how we learn, from our mistakes.
It took me a while to see one of my greatest failures as positive. Recently I tried to lose some weight and create a healthy vessel for the impending pregnancy of our baby girl. I did one of those insanity cross training programs coupled with a clean diet. For over 8 weeks, I toiled over my daily workouts, pouring sweat from places I didn’t even know could sweat. The end result, not a single pound lost. I was so defeated. What is the point of working so hard if I cannot achieve the results I desire? This failure was huge for me, halting me from even attempting my goals.
Knowing I couldn’t stay in this depressed and defeated state, I asked myself a question. How much weight would have been enough for me to feel like a success, 10, 20, 50 pounds? Would I have been happy if I lost my goal weight or would I have been over critical of my shortcomings and undermined my success? What does that look like when I’m lying on my death bed and all my memories are filled with moments I viewed as capable of improvement?
So I decided to hypothesize a different assumption. What if I took the view point that I was perfect; that every moment I will ever have is sublime utopia? That may seem like hubris at first glance; saying that I’m perfect, but we all know where the opposite gets us, wishing your life was more than it was. But how can it ever be more than it is? How can I ever be more than I am, right now? If this error filled blog, written from this flawed body is all I can possibly experience this very second, then why not enjoy it as the moment of perfection it surely is?
Like I said, it’s not a pretty picture. I exposed the worst thing I have ever done, mistakes that I make every day, and the greatest failure I have ever had the pleasure to experience. In being vulnerable and sharing these faults, it has been my goal to break the ice and let you all get to know me a little better. My hope is that despite these shortcomings, you can forgive me and welcome me with open arms. But even more than that, I hope you can look at yourselves the way I see you. That despite your best efforts and faults, from the moment you were born, you never had a choice to be anything less than pure perfection.
Header Art by Kyle’s Art can be found at: @KyleandFriendspt.2