Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Something I'm not

I always wanted to be a blonde. I honestly have no clue why.

I wanted to have blonde hair that looked like I had just stepped out of the salon with a fresh, tight spiral perm. And I wanted blue eyes. I don’t have a clue as to why those were the features that I would change.

Instead I got thick brown, curly on some days, frizzy on others, seriously confused hair and big brown, puppy dog eyes. The eyes don’t get me much of anything, but they work wonders for my dogs.

Why is it that no one is ever completely and totally happy with the way they look? There is always at least one thing that they would change. Today, when I honestly thought about why I wanted those features I couldn’t answer you. It can’t be so I could have more fun. I have tons of fun. Ok, so before going back to school, I remember having fun once upon a time ago. So why?

Do we use our looks/weight/brains as an excuse? I didn’t get the job or the grade, because I’m a brunette, or not blonde. Is that really how society works? I think that most people like to think so. I think that we have been programmed to need a scapegoat; that we need someone or something to blame, other than ourselves. I think that we have been taught that failure is “ok”. Just cover it up, place the blame somewhere else and pretend like nothing happened. Don’t get me wrong, failure is awesome, probably not when you screw up or immediately thereafter. But you learn, you figure out what worked and what didn’t and you move on. At least that's what I thought.

I think that we are sending out the wrong message to our children about failure. They are growing up thinking that everything should be handed to them, that they shouldn’t earn their successes or their rewards. I can understand building up a child’s confidence when they are 3-4 years old and letting them “win”. Why? It gives them the security that they need to attempt something. It gives them the confidence to even try. I do believe that the older they get that they need to learn to accept defeat and without a temper tantrum as well. As an adult we fail on a daily basis. Some mistakes are so big that they completely change our lives; while some or only an inconvenience. We screw up, we are human, and it’s to be expected. These kids that have never learned how to fail are doomed. What are they going to do when their car breaks down and they don’t have the money to fix it? What are they going to do when they are turned down for a job, because there was a better candidate? Flip out? Commit suicide? Throw a temper tantrum in the elevator? Probably so.

I’m all for trying and failing. It teaches you patience, perseverance, sympathy and even a little humility. It also teaches you how to bandage broken toes and patch holes in walls. It teaches you how to bite your tongue when you would like to tell your boss where to place his "idea". Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan. You don’t always get the job you want, the promotion or picked first for the team. Some days you are going to feel like the biggest dunce on the planet; and other days, you will feel like you are on top of the world.

What’s my point? I am taking a class from hell at the moment. This class is taking every bit of my patience, perseverance, and knowledge, just to make it through. It is taking three times the amount of studying just to keep my head above water. It’s hard, and right now it is all that stands in my way. It is the only thing keeping me from taking another step towards my dream of a bachelor’s degree. Are there going to be harder classes? Unfortunately, I’m afraid so.

It’s just another boulder that I’m trying to turn into a stepping-stone. If I let this one class stand in my way, if I expected to pass the class without doing any of the work, then my journey would end here. Plus I wouldn't gain anything. But because I have learned how to fail gracefully, I can keep working with that boulder until it falls into place. I may not maintain my A average, but even if I fail, as long as I have learned something and don’t give up, then have I really failed? Or did I just learn what not to do next time?

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” ~Henry Ford

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