How many times in my life have I failed monumentally? That’s not a question any of us want to explore. Luckily I can count mine on one hand unless I’m missing something. My two failed marriages, putting my twin daughters’ needs ahead of my son and dwelling in alcohol addiction. Then there’s a whole whack of smaller, almost daily failures that I can identify, begrudgingly. I didn’t make it to the gym and I went over on my calorie count and I yelled at my kids. I didn’t work on my networking and I went to bed too late and I cried over someone I can’t have.
Failure is everywhere. But it shan’t consume us.. unless we let it. Failure doesn’t define me, though it’s as much a part of me as eating or my job or the thoughts I think. It’s a step behind me, turning the corners I turn, like a shadow that often catches up to you. It’s like a seed planted inside me. It sprouts growth when it wants to but isn’t some cancer that needs to be removed. It’s just.. there.
I almost didn’t want my second marriage to fail merely for the sake of avoiding the shame of such a monumental failure. As much as I believed in my heart what I told her repeatedly was true.. that we are supposed to fight for it and through it, not give up and move on to the next, I equally just didn’t want to fail. As fate (if I believed in fate) had it, the union was doomed and duct taping it together was as ridiculous of a notion as the marriage was in itself.
My first divorce felt more of a jail break as opposed to a fail safe though both it ’twas. The self-indoctrinated notion that I could not only be she-free but keep my kids with me blew my mind and was too good to be true. But it wasn’t. I got what I wanted and though ultimately the failing of my marriage was a gigantic negative happening, it was a poetic and frankly beautiful thing. On the fourth and final day of divorce/child custody court, I remember going for a brief walk before the judges reading of her 40 page document outlining who would be the victor in this proceeding. It was early April and the bridge I stood on overlooked the ice breakup of the sleeping river below. As the ice chunks broke into smaller pieces and began washing away I was overwhelmed with the parallel in my life at that exact moment. I was about to break free and no longer be held back. The work was done. Now life flows in a new direction. The title of my life for those few weeks could be Failure, surely. But even amidst the most trying times like that you can feel the most urgent and fulfilling sense of accomplishment if that’s where your focus lies.
Failing my kids and alcoholism ties in somewhat together in a lengthy chapter in The Book Of Kristopher, as it were. All my career hours wracked up as the night time drinker, my girls never once knew. Certain days they’d see someone smoking or the topic of booze came up and they’d voice their disgust and their happiness that I didn’t do any of that stuff, only to kiss them goodnight then partake secretly over years and years. I don’t know if there is a medal for first place in failure but I would think this comes the closest, dripping in deceit.
The other side of the coin is I believe the years before my daughters came into the world and my son and I were besties.. then all of a sudden two others take your place and these are very very needy special girls so it was even harder on him. The depth of this failure fiasco is currently unknown as it’s something simmering slowly that will (and rightly should) explore in my face. A Date With Failure. A pre-cursor title to an upcoming realization how much I’ve let my own flesh and blood down though in my honesty, I’ve only even done the best I can with the cards I was dealt.
I have failed and I will fail at something before my head hits the pillow tonight. But my focus lies beyond. I had a great arm workout today; I pushed myself and killed it. I had a really meaningful convo this afternoon with my daughters about lying, wanna see if that sank in. Last night I made some friggin cornbread and it turned out delicious. I trimmed my nails and did some manscaping tonight so now I feel 0.072% more attractive. And on it goes.
There are far too many good things, some mediocre but mini-successes regardless happening to revel in the odd failure. It’s what we humans do. It’s how we’ve survived this long. Sure, procreation is fun but we’ve managed to balance things just fine and by balance things I mean tip the scale towards the positive.
I’m okay. You’re okay. Amidst crap crashing all around us we’ll be just fine.