Holding Out a Hand

Suicide is not an option!

Suicide is not an option!

Suicide is not an option!

Suicide is not an option!

Suicide is not an option!

I know that I am late to touch base on this very touchy subject. I know that there are thousands if not millions who think that the only way to make anything better is through suicide. I know because I have been there. I have sat in the bathroom thinking that it would be easier to just wipe myself away and relieve so many people from their disappointment in me. I have also got myself up off the bathroom floor and walked out of the room. Away from the desperation and away from the pain.

Talking about this isn’t easy. Letting strangers have a peek into my life is opening myself up to criticism. It is letting my parents know that I was so close to leaving them. It is letting my parents know that I almost devastated their lives.

When 13 Reasons Why debuted on Netflix, I avoided it like the plague. I knew it was going to be mind-numbing, I knew that it was going to take me back to the pain that I have had to work through my entire life. The loneliness and the hurt.

I finally broke down and watched it. I sat on my bed for two days. I barely got up to use the restroom or get a drink of water. I cried during every episode. I sent texts to my family telling them how much the show was fucking me up. What was worse is the swirl of emotion that came with watching Hannah’s mom and dad go through the worst experience of their lives.

After I finished the last episode, I was compelled to write. Words have always been where my heart was. I have boxes and boxes in my shed full of journals starting from the third grade. Middle school love notes that were written for B. Moore. High School temper tantrums about the evil girls in my grade.

I had to get this off my chest.

I knew that I made the right decision by not ending my life. I could never imagine putting my mom and dad through that pain. Having my brother and sisters not understand.

I have an intense depression that not many people know about because I laugh and smile a lot. I crack jokes, I flirt with my husband and play with my son. The darkness is still there but it is manageable. I see what I wouldn’t have had, had I succumbed to the pain in my younger years. All of the joy that I would have missed. All of the joy that I would have robbed from the ones I love.

Yes, suicide is easy. It stops the pain you deal with every day. It makes you in control of that small fraction of your existence when you feel like the world is sitting on your shoulders pressing down. It erases the pain you feel. It also transfers from you to the ones who care about you.

13 Reasons Why is a phenomenal show. As painful as it was to watch, as painful as it was to sit in my bed at four pm still in my nightgown while the sun shone through the blinds reminding me that life was happening elsewhere while I absorbed and was consumed by my memories and my own pain, I am glad I watched it.

The controversy around the show is understandable. Suicide is ugly, and the aftermath is devastating. It’s painful and there is no rewind button on life to get your loved one back into your arms one last time. Suicide, however, needs to be talked about. It needs to be discussed and not tucked inside a neat box with a lid on it. The survivors, need to be supported. No one should be made feel that they are alone in the world because there are hundreds of us out there thinking the same thing. Calling these people weak is not going to help.

Sure, I get your point of view about it being selfish and stupid, but it is insane the amount of people who think that it’s okay to continue to break these people down, continue to taunt them as if they would have been better off ending it.

I did not commit suicide because I was afraid of the pain that I would have caused my mom and dad and because I knew that even though I wouldn’t be able to see it, I would change the life of every single person in my family. They would never think of the amazing things about me, the laughs or jokes, the good memories. All of that would be tainted with the horrific way that I chose to leave them. The guilt would have been overwhelming not for me but for them. Always having that unspoken question “Could I have stopped it? Could I have done something?”

The answer is always yes. That is the ugly truth. All suicide is preventable. Whether it is with a kind word, or listening to someone when they aren’t saying anything, to begin with. Watch their body language, watch when they don’t think anyone is watching. Everyone needs a friend. Everyone needs someone who loves them unconditionally and understands that life is painful. It is lonely for everyone but if you hold out a hand to someone else you might prevent a death that will hurt countless people.

All suicide is preventable if you reach out past your pain and loneliness to someone. If that someone doesn’t reach back go to another person. Reach out to them. Continue that until someone else reaches out to you.

Suicide is a choice and that choice has consequences. That choice doesn’t end the pain. I always imagine a cloud of darkness escaping the body of a suicide victim like a low-budget sci-fi movie, swirling through the air to land on the shoulders of everyone who loves them. The pain transferred through a mystical cloud of doom. A swirl of hurt and desperation, zooming invisible between us. Flowing through space between people until it finds its new victim. There is always someone you can talk to that will stop you from making the absolute worst mistake of your life. A new day is always around the corner and just because today was shitty doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be. Or next week. Or next month.

Working through your pain is a daily process that will need constant attention for the rest of your life. You aren’t going to wake up one day and magically feel better. There will be good days and horrific days where it seems like it would be easier to just walk off that cliff and fall into an abyss of nothingness. I am telling you that it isn’t worth it.

I have a panic attack every time I imagine my son going through this type of depression. I want to be the type of parent that can see their child reaching out a hand and hoping that someone… anyone would reach back and catch them. I want my son to be able to say “Mom, I need to talk.”

Even though I didn’t reach out to my parents that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to. I had a great childhood, full of love and support and I could have talked to them about it but the shame and guilt stopped me. I never ever once told anyone that I was getting desperate enough to even consider suicide because they look at you with this face of pitty. No one wants to be pitied. I reached out in other ways. I surrounded myself with my friends, my family, I wrote down what I needed out of myself and I worked toward that goal. There is so much more past high school and college that will bring you joy. There is a whole life of happiness waiting for everyone. You just have to work hard for it. The key is to never give up. To say yeah fuck this day.. Tomorrow will be better even for a brief minute.

Suicide is an epidemic amongst my generation and the generation after me. I think because it is romanticized by these young kids. They feel desperate and that no one would ever understand what they are going through.

There is always someone who understands. I am not a very popular writer and I don’t have a huge following but I wish that I could just reach one person who needs to talk. If I could stop one person from doing what we all fear… then my life would have meaning. I want someone to stumble upon this blog and know that I understand them. Even if I am long dead from old age. I hope that my words affect someone enough that they take a step back from their perception of life and see themselves with different eyes. I want them to see the value they have. Even if I can’t help someone you should kow that there are others who can.

Everything is anonymous so I implore you to seek someone who can help you work through your pain. The blue words are a link to a great website.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours every day.

Even though this video is about falling in love. I love the idea of this music video. I like the idea of having people sit down and talking to other people. It might get a good rapport going that could save a life. Enjoy!

Hold out a Hand Humans.


Short Stories are Coming

I am going to be writing my very first story to publish on my blog. I have written many that I have never shared with anyone but I think that I should make an original to break the ice so to speak for my blog. I will also be putting out the first chapter of my book rather soon. Once I have tweaked and prodded the poor thing to death. I know I promised a while back that I would be doing it but I have been putting it off.

Yes, I am a procrastinator. (Look at me write a blog about writing a story rather than actually writing the story.) I know that I procrastinate, I do not live in denial.

Now onto other news. I secretly just wanted to write this quick blog because my husband bought me a new wireless keyboard for my laptop so I can use my huge tv as a computer and sit all the way across the living room on my comfy, comfy couch. I have come up in the world. 

It is the little things that make me happy. Until the next, humans.

Human Emotion…. Yuck!

Well, I am sick. (Not that ew what a sicko kind either.) I have the flu or the cold. I am not sure which. Even though I shouldn’t have, I called off work… I actually slept most of the day because it feels like a gorilla tossed me around in my sleep. My body hurts and the only thing I can smell is the vapor rub that has become my new perfume.

I literally only left my bed for two hours to get some spicy Thai food. Nice warm noodles were what I needed. While I was out, I waited in the car while my sister (who is the only adult that I socialize with) was inside Chipotle grabbing herself dinner, a beautiful Asian woman caught my eye. I am not one of those females who can’t appreciate a pretty face, even if it is prettier than my own. This woman was gorgeous. Her raven hair billowed in the brisk Ann Arbor air, but what caught my eye was the look of dejection on her face. She wasn’t smiling. She didn’t look up at me staring at her through my truck window as she passed. The entire world was nestled on her shoulders and that is when I saw the reason behind her anger. A man. (No this isn’t some sexist, feminine-man bashing rant.)

He was running out of the store after her. My windows were up so I didn’t hear him call her name. I could, however, see her shoulders tense when he caught up to her. He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. As juicy as the show they were putting on was, (And believe me I watched) I knew that feeling. I knew what she was going through, even if I didn’t know the exact cause or the exact reasoning behind their fight. I stayed to watch them dash it out and as to be expected she was angry. Yelling at him. (By the way, Trailblazers are pretty soundproof) The man was pleading with her, yelling at her and just when he gave up, she would stop him from leaving and pull him back into the fight. This went on for about fifteen minutes until, with streams of tears running down her face, she allowed him to pull her back into the store.

As I watched, I joked around with the people in my truck, but I was uncomfortable watching this extreme human emotion swirl around in the wind. It felt like I was intruding (which I was, because obviously this was a private fight, held out in public) but it was like peeling an onion and dipping down into the inner layers of their relationship. I would hate to have someone witness a serious spat between my husband and I was a little ashamed of gawking but I stayed to make sure she wasn’t in danger. The level of anger that was rolling off the two of them was measurable.

Let’s take a second to analyze why their raw emotion made me so uncomfortable. I think it is because I am an emotional sissy. Yes, I said it. I am a sissy when it comes to the blatant emotion of the people around me. Now to the gritty stuff.

Every Sunday, I go to church. I stand up, I sit down, I stand up, I sit down. I bow my head to pray, I sing. I shake hands and make merry with the old folks. I smile and wave at the little ones. I see the frailty of the person sitting behind me. I see the desperation of the mother who didn’t put her kids in the daycare before service started. I see the hope and fear that creeps over the faces of the crowd. I watch as my Pastor gets engrossed in his sermon and his face turns red as he pours his knowledge onto his waiting flock. I am not unaffected. I have cried during one of his sermons. I have left thinking about my own frailty.

I have watched as my pastor’s wife knelt before the altar and he joined her for prayer. His hand draped over her shoulders, heads held tight together as they praised the Lord fiercely. I watched the love between them form a bubble and it made me feel like I had walked in on a private moment (even though I was in my favorite pew. Not too close that I make direct eye contact with anyone but not too far in the back that everyone thinks of me as that outcast of sin.) I felt like an outsider, a peeping Tom if you will. Instead of looking through a split blind at a showering person, I was seeing emotion. Raw, untapped, vivid emotion displayed before me. I watched as my Pastor dried his fallen tears on the sleeve of his suit and helped his wife to her feet.

That unabashed raw human emotion made me want to turn away. We are all humans. (Probably, no way to be sure.)  So human emotion shouldn’t be something we are ashamed of feeling and we shouldn’t shy away from it just because it makes us uncomfortable but rather embrace it with fervor.

I think what most of us lack, myself included, is empathy for other people. The world is a huge place with billions of people and not one person has experienced a new emotion that hasn’t already been felt by another. The term Sonder means realizing that each individual on earth has a vivid, complex, complicated, and unique life just like yourself. I experience this every day. A lot of people don’t take the time to think about the person sitting across from them at the dinner table. Yet, they had an entire day filled with emotion and experiences that were unique to them. It doesn’t lessen your experiences but it does open an eye to the fact that those emotions that we don’t like to share, are not a solitary feeling.

Depression is felt by countless people. Laughter can be heard around the world. Sadness and loss have been felt by every single person living, and if they haven’t already experienced it, they will at some point in their life. The floor will be ripped from under their feet. Their heart will be put in a vise grip. They will experience passion, pain, and pleasure. That is what I love most about being a human. The vast array of emotion that we have the capacity to feel and experience sets us apart from other living creatures.

Have you ever wondered why music touches us so much? Words seem tailored during certain times in our life. The cadence of the beat rolls over our minds and soothes, enrages, or lightens our mood. Those words that mean so much to us, have made an unconscionable amount of people feel the same thing. We are all heading in the same direction. We should be able to see a crying person on the street and have the compassion and understanding to help them. Even if it is with a kind word or a nod of acknowledgment.

We are in this together. Once we all learn about somber and empathy I think the world as a whole will be more accepting and loving to the ones that feel desperate and alone.

You don’t have to accept the life choices of others but there is nothing there that doesn’t say that you can’t accept the person who is underneath the outward facade that you see. Maybe if we could say with conviction that we don’t accept or approve of a certain lifestyle but that we can embrace the person. (I’m not saying go out and hug a stranger. Calm down.) 

What I want everyone to walk away with from this blog, is that your human emotion is felt inside of that gay man dressed up as a woman. It is felt in that gothic kid that you teased. It is felt in the heart of the disabled old man you taunted. Insecurities are felt by the best-looking person in the world, no different than the ugliest. 

Take that horrible feeling you felt when you looked in the mirror and thought you didn’t look good enough for that fancy date, and turn to anyone else and see that they have felt the same way. Instead of lashing out, throw kindness into your words when you talk to someone and maybe we will find a way as humans not to go extinct due to our own stupidity and inability to learn from our mistakes.

Multiply your kindness by a fraction and you will see how much better you feel as a whole and how much the world will benefit from it as well.

Good Day to you.





To Speed or Not to Speed

I do not speed. I repeat. I do not speed. I hate speeding. I literally go the speed limit no matter how ridiculously slow it is set at. I’m that jerk who sets the cruise control at exactly 45 mph, and blissfully trudges down the road without a care in the world.

I plague my sister and husband to no end with my obsessive need to go the speed limit. I do not care if I am going to be late (which it most often the case). I don’t care if my law abiding ways makes other people late, (I’m a monster I know.) I honestly always go the speed limit. This wasn’t always the case. I too, was once a teenager. Which is precisely why I am not too excited about my son ever learning how to drive. (that is an entirely different story all together.)

I know that most people are probably shaking their fists right now yelling, “Ugh, Autumn, or the people like her, are the most horrible types of drivers out there!” But to be quite honest I would rather be stuck behind a 30 year old who goes the speed limit, rather than a drunk driver going 80. So calm down with that judgement. (animals)

Now, I recently started a job in Ann Arbor. On a good day it takes me 20 minutes to drive from my house to my work. That is only if for some odd reason there is apocalyptic silence on the I-94 freeway. On a bad day, it takes me an hour. One hour! ONE HOUR to drive less than fifteen miles! One hour! (I am going to let that sink in.)

That means, when I have to be at work at 9 am, I have to leave at exactly 8 am to get to work on time. Which inadvertently also means I have to wake up at 6 am just to shake zombie mode off. I like to sleep… I also like to stay awake all night. This traffic is affecting my scheduled 10 hours. 🙄. So I have started speeding. (gasps can be heard around the nation.)

Yes. I, Autumn Araujo, have joined the streets of Michigan and found my brethren. We glide at a comfortable 80 mph. Lines whip past our spinning tires faster than any “line” that was featured in the movie Blow..

Dear Jonny Depp, we would make you proud. Sincerely, Us

I warn you though, speeding is not for the faint of heart, I suggest thinking long and hard before you make that leap into the fast life.

I have noticed my need for speed has tumbled and twisted other parts of my life. In little over three weeks I have become a speeding monster. Anything that takes more than five minutes, is wasting my time. My need for instant gratification has doubled, nay tripled. Even if I am not on my way to work, I speed. I zip and zag, whiz and buzz past all of these glimpses of my former self. “Ha! Lesser humans who go the speed limit, eat my dust(or snowflakes because I live in a winter wonderland)!” I sing in my head as I pass car after car.

Pause. Pump the breaks! (pun intended)

This isn’t me! When did I become so, obsessed with getting everywhere fast? I even walk faster. (side note: someone remind me to buy new shoes).

I have decided that having a job and being responsible for arriving on time has ruined me. Sure this isn’t my first job, nor will it be my last that’s for certain. Nevertheless, even as I am speeding past the slow pokes on the freeway, I long for the day when I was carefree and unhurried. Speeding has caused me stress. I have noticed that I am more aggressive, angrier even. I have developed road rage. The benefits of getting to work on time have caused negative effects in other parts of my life. Lord knows if I keep frowning, I am going to have a permanent wrinkle the size of the grand canyon between my eyebrows. (right now it is tiny but who knows what it will be like after a year on the Speeding Lifestyle.)

I need to give it up, I need to go to speed rehab. (Preferably without the help of a police officer.)

How do I start though? Waking up earlier is not an option. 🙄 I can’t believe you were even going to suggest that. (Amateurs.)

If only teleportation was a possibility! Come on scientists you guys are seriously failing me right now. Step up your game, dammit.

You know who else is failing me? The makeup companies. By now I was hoping that the makeup applicator from The Fifth Element, would have already been invented. Step up your game makeup companies, don’t let the scientists invent teleportation before you give us what we demand. (see how I created a competition between the scientists and the inventors? Fingers crossed it works.) I really want a Makeup Viewmaster! You have big shoes to fill.

If anyone wants to start a petition for teleportation and a makeup viewmaster… I would like to be the first to sign them.

^the original virtual reality goggles.

Teleportation and a makeup viewmaster would help me out quite a lot. It would free up almost two hours of my morning ritual and eliminate the need for speed in one fell swoop. 😭

Dream of teleportation, humans, otherwise our grandkids are going to be the ones to invent it and we can’t let them get all of the credit.

**edit** it is 7:37 am the following day and I must have annoyed the Overlord of Traffic because I am a half an hour early for work. 😏 that is a half hour that I could have been sleeping…

Stay-cation For My Sanity

Tonight my husband and I are staying at a seedy hotel in downtown Ann Arbor. A luxurious sixty-eight dollar a night, hotel with all the amenities except good coffee and a stocked minibar. I say seedy but it happens to be really clean. I might have a germ problem so I not only changed the sheets the second I walked into the room, but I also looked under the bed, behind the shower curtain and deep cleaned the serve-yourself coffee maker. I am cheating on my diet during this vacation so you can damn well bet that my decaf with Sweet’n Low and pilfered coffee creamer from the diner across the street are going to be drinking from a clean and properly maintained coffee maker.

For many reasons, I begged my husband to take this little vacation. I didn’t need to go anywhere exotic or for a long time. Three days away from my house is perfect. Luckily, my family understood and offered to watch our son so that my husband and I can get back to the marital roots so to speak and walk around nude if we want to. I have been looking forward to this stay-cation for almost a month. Even though we are literally doing the same exact thing we would be doing had we been home, however, here he is sleeping on a ridiculously overpriced bedspread, while I tap away at a desk that I would love to cart back to my house.

The lights are dimmed low, the fan whispers across my skin and the quiet tunes of some HBO sitcom float around the room. I am content. I needed this. Many times I think we as people forget that relaxing is something that is fundamentally important for our mental wellbeing. At home, there are a billion and one things that I need to do. From the moment I wake up, until the moment I pass out exhausted at the end of the night, I am on the go. I should be skinny damn it! I never stop! Why the hell am I a chunky potato! WHY!?

My little vacation didn’t start out as I planned. I planned on being at the hotel at three o’clock to be able to start the vacation with a nap. However, I ended up waiting hours at the DMV, then running around trying to get everything ready. (I procrastinate. Don’t judge me.) I even forgot the snacks! I will not forget the snacks tomorrow. Now, if all of this running around wasn’t bad enough, I got pulled over by the cops while we were dropping off our son with his grandma after dinner. Before you assume that I am some type of hardened criminal that was running away from the law, I assure you that it was all because of a short in my headlight.

Side note: why in the hell are all cops sneaky ninjas? This guy came out of NOWHERE! I mean I wasn’t mad just a little nervous because they have mastered the skill of making people terrified for no reason other than seeing those colorful lights flick on. I didn’t get a ticket. Nor did I get a warning. Pretty sure the guy didn’t even look in my back seat. Spoiler alert: my son was in the back seat. 😀 He just told me to get the light fixed, hit my car a few times to see if the light would come on (ASSAULT) and then went back to his truck. My heart was beating a mile a minute.

Back to my vacation, I am insanely happy right now because I have pizza ordered and on the way. It is one in the morning and I feel like a teenager. I am starving because I haven’t had any carbs in over three weeks and when I commit to breaking my diet… I break it good. I sincerely hope my husband doesn’t wake up and punch the pizza guy for knocking. I also secretly hope that he wakes up to the glorious smell of Pineapple on pizza and fall in love with me even more. My luck he will rant and rave about me ordering pizza at one a.m. but I regret nothing. If he gets snippy, then he gets no pizza. Mama don’t play.

I wish that everyone could take a little stay-cation and get early morning pizza. It feels great to sit here with my fluffy pajamas and not have to set an alarm for the morning. It feels amazing that I don’t have to go to sleep early. Or wake-up and instantly apply my makeup to head to work. It feels great that I don’t have to cook breakfast and that I don’t have to hear the pitter patter of feet in the morning. Or have my twenty-pound cat stand on my chest because he declares I sleep too much. “Feed me human.”

I like that I can just veg out and watch movies I have already watched, and debate spending a ridiculous amount of money on pay-per-view. I want to take advantage of this time off and go out and explore Ann Arbor, (even though I live here) but I am also deeply and emotionally invested in relaxing all day without moving from this hotel bed. We are going to take a day trip tomorrow to Ohio but I intend to return to this room so quick. I just hope my husband is on the same page as me. I want to nap and sleep with no clothes on during the day. I want to order take out and just talk. I don’t believe that this is too much to anticipate when it comes to a stay-cation. I want to go back to work on Friday with a skip in my step and a smile on my face.

With that being said, my sexy Hawaiian pizza is here. Vacation on my humans.

Love is a Bitch

Ahh the famous line. Love is a bitch. A quick Google image result will leave you with a sour taste in your mouth when you see meme after meme and quote after quote that express the sentiment that love is a bitch.

The American Dream is what we all strive for. A husband or a wife, nice two-story house with a picket white fence, a couple of kids and a golden retriever running around in the perfectly maintained yard (clearly the work of Satan). Even if we don’t actively say that we are working toward this illusion of happiness we certainly are. (Not everyone, but the ones who disagree are the people you should watch closely, very closely). They probably have their proverbial shit together.

The American Dream comes with its own half-sized order of true love. A-run-for-the-hills… .Hashtag blessed relationship. Bah humbug! Ghost of relationship past.

I am not entirely sure that true love exists. Yes, I am typing this up while my “hashtag soul mate” sleeps peacefully next to me. I love my husband. I knew that he was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with from the day I saw him turn around and flash that lady-killer smile at me. At the risk of sounding cliché, I know that I made the right decision when I said “I Do”.

So why am I such a cynic when it comes to love? Because love is a bitch. It is raw, ugly, and painful. It isn’t all of those puke worthy kisses and hashtags people of the world are so obsessed with. Love isn’t easy. Love is gut-wrenching. It feels like a put a knife in your belly, twist, and pray to whatever deity you believe in that you make it out alive type of feeling. (Or at least, with all of your limbs).

Love is endless nights of worry.

Love pours out of our eyes in the shape of tears, to draw crisp battle lines down our cheeks.

Love dampens our pillows at night after a fight, it pools at the bottom of the shower. It wets the collar of our shirts and it drags its good for nothing self-serving existence to dry with a piece of our broken heart.

Thousands upon thousands of prayers sent heavenward with the hope that the pain will be magically wiped away as the sun rises.

Love is a Bitch.

Love is like wearing beer-goggles for the rest of your life without drinking any beer. 🙄 (Not fair).



Why is something so sweet such a horrific thing? Why do we hurt the people we love? How is that even love?

How is yelling and screaming at the top of your lungs about this or that, even remotely resembling the definition of love?

How does a person cheat on their spouse? A person they swore to love and honor “’til death do us part”.

How does a man lift a finger out of anger to the woman he professes to care for?

How does a woman sleep around and bed her boyfriend’s best friend? Then have the audacity to call it love.

I love you, but…

I want to be with you forever, but…

I’m sorry I was wrong, but…

I’m sorry I lied, I won’t do it again, I wasn’t thinking, I was angry.

That isn’t love. Love doesn’t rant and rave about the laundry not being folded, or the dishes that aren’t washed.

Love is only as strong as the people who build it up together. It takes hard work, and patience to keep it on the right path. It takes laughter and memories. It openly encourages focus and perseverance. It is soul shattering and uplifting.

I am a cynic of the commercial definition of love. True love doesn’t exist outside of parent/child relationships. The only person I would do anything for without question is my son. (Keep that a secret, I have zero intention of skydiving, even if he begs).

There is a song titled “Love is a Bitch” and I think they get it.

Kudos to the people who honestly have a working, loving relationship. You are an anomaly my friend.

Until the next, #humans.




Failure Has Many Faces 

Why are we, as humans, so petrified of failure? The idea of failing rocks us from deep inside our subconscious brains. The sweaty palms, rapid breathing, nervous ticks, and even insomnia tell us “No! This is unacceptable!”

But why?

The dictionary defines failure as the lack of success. Synonyms are listed as defeat, collapse, and nonfulfilment. Is it actually a bad thing though? If we do not succeed at everything does this automatically make us a failure? A loser? 

I personally have seen people have emotional breakdowns because they failed at something. Myself included. I am certainly not immune to feelings of defeat. I believe defining failure depends on how you define success. A failure for some could literally be defined as success for others. So how do we measure what we believe to be a failure?

Growing up when I got a C in a class, I would be grounded. Toys, bikes, television privileges taken  away, yet when one of my siblings would get a C my parents would congratulate them with a pat on the back or a “Good job.” EXCUSE ME!? 

Imagine my surprise when time and again I got grounded. My mom told me it was because she knew that I could get A’s easily without studying so when I got a C it was because I didn’t try my hardest. It is true, I was a lazy student in high school, but come on! All those hours of tv I missed! I could have crammed one more hour of MTV’s The Real World in! (Don’t worry, I eventually caught up, take that parents, I got the last laugh).

So my failure to be a good student got me grounded a couple (dozen) times. I lived and learned. My first round of college was easy. I flew by with a 4.0 by doubling up my classes. I graduated in half the time as others. (My humbleness is lacking here I know. Sometimes you have to brag.) Success was on my side.

Was that a success or was it raw determination to prove that I could do it? (One hand tied behind my back, blindfolded sort of thing) (okay, okay I am done bragging.)  How can I measure that as success if I knew that without a doubt I was going to accomplish the goal that I wanted. There wasn’t resistance nor obstacles that stood in my way. Had there been, I would have still trudged on.

Have I succeeded at everything I have decided to do? Absolutely not! I am a train wreck when it comes to certain parts of  my life. A hot mess if you will. I, like so many people, fear failure. It is like a vise grip around my throat threatening to cut off the oxygen supply. I get just enough sweet air to scrape past but the threat of failure is always quivering in anticipation to claim me. Always lurking in the background like an ominous shadow, one hand on my shoulder as it steers me around like a brainless puppet.

So that brings me back to my original question, why are we so petrified of failure? Why is failing so demonized in our minds? From the dreaded failed class to divorce we let the fear of failure dictate how we approach things in our day-to-day lives.

A writer doesn’t send their manuscript to a publisher because they already received four different denials, but the book they wrote could inspire the next generation into greatness. The fear of getting one more denial is concrete failure, so he or she sets their book aside.

A woman stays in a hateful relationship because she does not want people to wag their fingers and say “Oh I told you so.” So she stays trapped, unhappy, and silent. A smile on her face in public while tears pepper her pillow every night.

A child is told that their  ideas aren’t as good as they believed, so they stop thinking for themselves and begin to follow the mindless horde of organisms surrounding them.

There are over six billion people on this planet and double that in examples of  failure. I am sure every single person has experienced countless failures through the course of their lives. (If I think really hard, I am sure my failures add up to a couple hundred thousand). So why in the hell are we so scared to forge through our failures and grab it by the proverbial balls? Failure is not an end all. Life doesn’t just stop after a failure. It creeps by with the ticks of a clock just like it has since the first breath of consciousness.

Why is “failure equals bad” drilled into our brains from the beginning instead of coping methods for failure? Sure there are proverbs that we as humans have said over and over to make us feel better about a failure, but it is like giving a band-aid to someone with a bruise. They aren’t effective.

If I wanted to learn how to skateboard and continuously fell off of the board, someone could tell me to pick myself up and dust my knees off a thousand times and I am still going to be wary of getting back onto a skateboard. It is common sense. We learn from our mistakes and it just so happens that by learning from that mistake we oftentimes learn that avoiding the situation altogether is easier.

Failure is unavoidable! Sometimes success is just dumb luck! We cannot let the fear of failure stop us from trying new things and going father than we could ever imagine. If we all stopped trying to accomplish our goals then there would be no progress in the world. If our ancestors would have given up with each failure we would still be huddling around a cave in the dark.

The saddest part of this would be that no one would be able to read about my random ramblings/personal pep talks. I write what I feel and oftentimes writing helps me work through my own problems. Even though I like to think of myself as unique, I am plagued by human emotion, (I wish I was more like Spock) and the fear of failure keeps me trapped in my own hell.

I know there are others that feel the same, so I guess what I am trying to articulate is that: Don’t stop. Don’t close your eyes against the fear. Don’t let it stop you because regret is worse than failure. Pushing forward is harder and more complicated but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth the effort that you extend. Walk away from that disastrous relationship, submit that manuscript, dream big. DO NOT LET SOCIETY KEEP YOU FROM BEING THE GREATEST VERSION OF YOURSELF! 

Failure has many faces. Not all of those faces are frowning. The trick to overcoming failure is to be determined and motivated. If you keep both of those aspects in mind then, failure is a temporary ailment that can be changed into success. Embrace the fear of failure like a long-lost lover, then let it float into the empty void of useless emotions.

Failure can be the beginning of success. Sleep easy humans. Tomorrow is another day.