Dearest readers. I have failed you. I have failed to post. I have failed to update. I have failed to post the posts of our guest bloggers. Basically — I have failed at everything. Maybe you’ll forgive me if I explain…
May disappeared. I don’t know what happened to it, I think it was criminally snatched from us. Ashley agrees. In May I finished up my beloved teaching job and tearfully said farewell to the greatest students in the world. I started looking for jobs while balancing final grade submissions and helping Ash with some (minimal) wedding planning (Ash is a rockstar, seriously wedding planning is insane and she is handling it with the tranquility of a unicorn at a spa). I went home to my parent’s house to help my dad through two surgeries (he’s fine). I had to go to the dentist (without insurance) because I thought I had a broken tooth — apparently hypochondria is not limited to thinking you have stomach cancer, but also dental problems. $80 later I discovered I just have mental problems. Then I got called for jury duty, got a parking ticket, got an over-price toll fee, my bed broke, I burnt my arm, my dress split down the side while I was walking down the street and all of Glendale saw me nearly naked, and finally I was released from jury duty (after five days of jury selection). May has been rough.
Through this I would like to tell you that I have magically lost weight because of the stress.
The best I can say is that I have only gained and then lost and then gained and then lost the same three pounds over and over again. So I don’t actually know where I stand presently. The entire large pizza I ate last night would probably say that I’m at the higher end of the three pounds right now. I am not one of the people who forget to eat when she’s stressed, that’s not how I roll. I’d probably forget my hypothetical children at a gas station before I forgot to eat.
Failure is something that I am well acquainted with. It is easy to be when your inner perfectionist self tells you that because you have not won the Pulitzer Prize for literature yet, every moment spent not winning it is a moment of failure. My inner critic (I call her Rita after Rita Skeeter, the obnoxious reporter from Harry Potter who gets all the facts wrong and paints everyone in the worst possible light), takes pride in torturing me with every stupid thing I say aloud, every typo I mistype, and every one of my friends literary publications, babies, and engagement photos. She has it on a loop so it plays, “Hello jobless, boyfriendless, fat freak — accomplish anything today? Of course you didn’t” over and over again.
The trouble with this kind of failure is that it isn’t actually failure at all — it is merely unmet impossible expectations. It has to stop.
I ran cross country in high school. Yeah, I know, shocking, you probably need some proof:
Those uniforms did nothing for me, and I had to wear two bras at a time — good stuff. But in truth, I loved cross country. I did it for three years. I loved my team, my coaches, the competition, and even the workouts. When I started cross country, I couldn’t even run the mile they did as a warm up. Three years later, I had a Personal Best of more than twelve minutes off my original three-mile race time. That’s huge.
I learned a lot from cross county. I learned how to shove my elbows out at the starting line so that I could clear more space for a fast “break away.” I learned about endurance, discipline, encouraging my teammates, and how to vomit from exertion while maintaing my “up-tempo” pace. But there’s one thing I forgot — Personal Best.
In cross country (well, at my level at least — the Jr. Varsity “I’m just hoping to not die” level), you cannot compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone runs at their own pace, they make their own strides, and they do their best to, well, survive. My dear friend Amy was the girl’s varsity champion who frequently lapped me 2-3 times a race. If I looked at Amy, I would have given up on the first day. In cross country, it’s only about you trying to beat your own time. Of course you crush the kid from San Marcos, because she’s right in front of you and seems to be having an asthma attack, but you conquer the obstacle that’s right in front of you for your sake, no one else’s.
I lost that in life. I watch as people get married, get book deals, have babies, lose weight, or you know, don’t have beds that break and dresses that split, and I am overwhelmed — convinced that I am the world’s largest failure. I forget that I am not in this thing against anyone else, I am merely here to do my “Personal Best.” Presently, I’m not running my best race, maybe I was getting better times a couple of months ago, but who cares, I haven’t quit yet and there are only two ways to truly fail A) Not try B) Lose yourself.
The rest are merely setbacks.
So, as we continue on this crazy endeavor in which the three pounds continue to haunt me. I am going to remember that I am better off than I was in January and that’s a Personal Best.
Weight: 202 plus a whole pizza, Rocky Road ice cream, and a bottle of wine How do you feel?: Oh, who’s to say, mostly just happy that I have been released from jury duty. Small Victory: I only ate the toppings off the whole pizza Biggest Disappointment: The Rocky Road is mostly gone and now I cannot eat it. Thing I appreciated about my body this week: It can sit for long boring hours and not get too stiff #embraceablenow: I can laugh at myself.