Embracing My Inner Loser

I’ve been having a couple of those kinds of weeks.

I’ve taken on work I really didn’t want to take on because, you know, dignity isn’t as important as paying the bills. I’ve had to put myself on a diet, not because I give a flying rat’s about my weight, but because I no longer fit into 75% of my wardrobe and I can not justify spending money I don’t have on loose tunics. I’m hanging around waiting to hear about a funding application for a project I care deeply about, knowing that there were so many applications to this particular fund they had to transfer the entire process to office better suited to dealing with volume turnover. Most of my closest friends are far away, or having children, or busy doing amazing things with their careers and can’t talk.

I’m not concerned that I’ve made the wrong decisions with my life; I’ve done ok with what I’ve been given. But it would be a lie to say this is how I pictured my life. The settling presence of failure is getting comfortable. I would say that I hide it well; its continued and constant presence is starting to feel less unnerving. And contrary to my initial fears, it’s proving somewhat comforting. I’m normal. I’m me.

I find myself at home, in the midst of working on something of my own, and realising that there is nothing I would rather be doing. Even if no one ever sees it. Even if it doesn’t ever make me money. Even if its not actually all that good. It seems that my resilience has won out over the threat of defeat crushing me into a million billion little pieces.

Perhaps I’m in what people like to call ‘flow’.

Or perhaps I’ve just finally resigned myself to adulthood.

When I really stop to think about it, things aren’t that bad at all. See that quiche in the picture? I made that quiche this week – my first ever quiche – and it was delicious. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless when you take into account the fact I hate cooking and usually avoid it at all costs.

But I just can’t see the wins right now, I can’t see the good stuff. I’m too busy ploughing through the mud and processing all the feelings that I’m feeling as I churn up that mud. And finding ways to feel ok about being covered in mud.

That’s the kind of couple of weeks I mean…

I stumbled upon the series ‘Garfunkel & Oates‘ on Netflix last weekend and ate it all up as it seemed to embody all my feelings right now. The show itself is cute and fun and weirdly reassuring, and said all the stuff it wanted to say in quiet, little ways. It’s a light-hearted show about a musical comedy duo that ends with one woman putting herself through the emotional and physical iron maiden of fertility treatment and another woman seeking somewhat dubious psychological treatment for her inability to grow up. I hear you Garfunkel & Oates, I hear you.

Since then, I haven’t been able to get their closing song, ‘Loser’ (below), out of my head. Its soft, comforting melody jars terrifyingly with its message – until you get the message. And I love the message.

It’s a modern day, musical version of the Teddy Roosevelt quote which researcher and all-round ace human being Brené Brown cites as the inspiration for her book ‘Daring Greatly’:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

To all my fellow losers, strong men and doers of deeds out there, good for you. You totally deserve a cheering section too.

One Reply to “Embracing My Inner Loser”

  1. I really loved this. I think we all feel self doubt at times (well, most of us, who take the time to think about what we are doing), but as you say, you are doing what you want to do. And trying. And that’s fantastic!


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