onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “failure”

A Sasquatch hat and a dream

Yesterday, I tried to knit a hat for myself without a pattern. And I failed. Not entirely. I mean, I ended up with a hat. It’s even a really cute hat. But it is waaaaay too big for me. It may be way too big for most people, (and Sasquatches.) But, that can be fixed. OK, *this* hat can’t be fixed. It’s just a cute, ginormous hat. But next time I can make adjustments and correct my mistake. (I will only cast on about 2/3 of the stitches.) And I did figure out how to shape the top of the hat evenly, and it looks exactly like I wanted it to. That was something I had been worried about. 

It may seem silly, but I worried a lot about making this hat in the days before I attempted it. Why worry? I don’t know. There was nothing at stake. Worrying is just in my nature.
I completed my first knitting project, a simple baby blanket, right about 3 years ago.  And then immediately jumped into making a baby sweater with a free on line tutorial, which was an excellent lesson and made me realize that I was both good at, and thoroughly enjoyed knitting. And while I do love knitting from patterns, I want to be able to make the kinds of things I want. I have a particular style and one thing I really want to do is design clothes for myself.
That will take a few things on my part. 1) To continue to knit from patterns and learn from from them. To see what kind of stitch patterns make which shapes. 2) To continue to stretch myself by learning new, more difficult techniques. And 3) to attempt (and at least sometimes fail) to design my own patterns.
In other words, I am playing a long game here. I will not be a great pattern designer over night. I will not be making up complicated cable knit sweater patterns any time soon. I have to steadily practice, learn, and attempt.
When I was eating compulsively, I had no patience. I could not handle any kind of difficulty. I could only attempt things I was fairly certain I would succeed at. And I could not improve. Because improvement takes work. It takes the willingness to fail. It takes frustration and perseverance.
But once I felt the frustration, I almost always quit. Because feeling discomfort of any kind was too much for me. If I had a difficult feeling, especially a feeling of inadequacy, I ate it. I shoved it down with cake.
In getting my eating under control, I had to learn to sit in discomfort. I had to let it be there, and let there be nothing to do about it.  I had to accept life the way it was, and myself the way I was.
But on the other side of acceptance was that I could try again. And not just that I could, but that I wanted to. When there is no sugar to numb those feelings, the best way to quell feelings of failure is to give it another go. I understood for the first time that my life wasn’t set in stone. I wasn’t “just that way” about anything. In fact, if I wasn’t “just that way” about food and being fat, which I had truly believed for the first 28 years of my life, then I knew I must be able to do other things. Maybe even anything.
And I learned that I liked trying better than not trying. I learned that I liked the feeling of success after failure so much more than being “a natural.” I liked learning more than knowing.
So I have a ridiculously huge hat, with perfect decreases in the crown. And I also have everything I need to try again: the yarn and the needles, and the desire to get better and do more.
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Failure, shame, love and trust

I wonder what it is about failure that makes me want to hide it. Not that I think I am the only one. Obviously, it is part of the human condition. But the overwhelming fear of humiliation is so intense that I want to show everyone (friends and strangers alike) that everything is super extra awesome! Nothing disappointing here! I live in a perpetual state of happiness, and life couldn’t be going any better!

That is a lie. 

I was doing some writing work for the dream job I am being looked at for, and my first attempts were a failure. What I thought was going to be a natural, and seamless process of just doing my best and getting the job (easy peasy), turned out to have snags and bumps. And there is the chance that I will not get the job. Not that it’s over, but that what seemed simple is, in fact, complicated. 

I am sharing this because I don’t want to be ashamed of being humiliated. (No, that is not an oxymoron. Shame is about being embarrassed of who you are. Humiliation is about being embarrassed of what you have done, or failed to do.) We already live in a white-washed world. So many of us use social media to display our victories and hide our defeats. We spin everything to show it in the most flattering light. We love filters. We, as a culture, even Photoshop super models, because the most symmetrical of humans are no longer viewed as “pretty enough.” 

So what kind of loser broadcasts their imperfections?

That loser would be me.

The truth is, I might fail. For real. I have gone out on a limb, and chased after my dreams, and done everything to the best of my ability. And I still might not get this job. After I told everyone how bad I want it! *cringe* How uncool can you get?

Getting my eating under control meant that I had to learn to sit in uncomfortable feelings. And what I am experiencing now are uncomfortable feelings. But there is a positive spin to this, and it’s not false. It’s not bullshit. It’s not me blowing sunshine up your ass. The positive is that I trust that whatever is happening is the right thing. 

That did not come naturally. I was not born that way. I am not a special golden child with the gift of self-knowledge. Yes, I trust that life will always give me better than I think I want. But I had to work at it. I had to change the way I think. I had to change the way I act. I had to be willing to tell the brutal truth about myself, and hope I wouldn’t die. By the way, I didn’t die.

 If this job does fall through, I will be disappointed. I will be embarrassed. I will not enjoy telling everyone that I failed at something I attempted. But I won’t be ashamed. I won’t hide it. If it’s my job, I’ll get it. If it’s not, I won’t. 

I will most certainly cry if I fail at this. But life hurts sometimes. Rejection hurts. But since I stopped eating sugar and carbohydrates and put boundaries around my food, I know that it’s not about whether or not I am “good enough” for what I want, but what is the right thing for me and my life. I like and trust myself enough that nothing can make or break me. For the rest of my life I am going to want things. I may or may not get what I want every day for the rest of my life. It would be exhausting to be too attached to every single desire I have.

So I am going to continue to go full out and do the best I can. And I may fail. And if I do, I will tell you about it. With the same love of my life as I will if I succeed. No, not the same joyful excitement, but absolutely the same love. 

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