Normalizing Failure

I did not burp in public for years. I did not ‘break wind’ even in private for years. Quell the gas! was my motto. In my youth, I was referred to as a robot. I took it as a compliment.

Back then I was convinced–convinced–I could be perfect if I just tried hard enough.

As I (gracefully) aged, I let go of a lot of those hang-ups, opting instead to be an over-communicator. But there was still plenty I kept hidden.

I concealed my OCD rather well, save for the examples of my neuroses that could be passed off as adorable or quirky.

My anxiety I cloaked completely. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a panic attack every single day. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I became quite adept at keeping a lid on my panic pot until I was without witnesses.

And then my brilliant friend, Mandy, introduced me to the notion of normalizing behaviour. Because of her, I became more open, more willing to talk about the things that strayed from the illusion of what I thought of as my perfection. There are a lot of them, my friends. Luckily, I really like to talk.

There’s something else I’d like to normalize now.




Yes, I know, it’s important to try and you didn’t really fail if you put yourself out there, and so on and so forth. For the purpose of this blog post, however, let’s define failure as intending to do something and not doing it.

When I started writing again, in earnest and with the intention of developing a career out of it, I didn’t tell anyone. I was embarrassed. There was a heaping portion of impostor’s syndrome on my writing plate and I was afraid of failing. More specifically, I was afraid of everyone watching me fail. It’s reminiscent of the times I kept to myself that I had an audition or a job interview or I was dating someone I could see a future with. Who wants to advertise the set-up when there’s a very good chance you’ll have to go back and tell everyone about the crash and burn?

Screw it. Here’s a list of things I’m trying to do. If I fail at all of them, I’ll let you know. Why? Because failure is NORMAL. We all experience it.

  1. My second manuscript is still in the hands of a few agents and one boutique publisher. I’ve been trying to get a lit agent/get it published for a year. I just finished my third manuscript, which I’m entering into Pitch Wars. If I don’t get in, I’ll be spending the bulk of my “leisure” (cue laughter) time querying it. Yes. I’m still trying to get a literary agent. I’ve been at it for years. This is pretty normal.
  2. I’m trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s going rather well, thanks for asking.
  3. I should probably work on my upper body strength. Right now I could barely arm-wrestle a chipmunk.
  4. I’d really like to start playing the guitar again. Next time you see me, you can look at my non-calloused fingertips and see that I’m failing at that endeavour.
  5. I’m trying to be a better friend.
  6. Every day I try really hard to be a good mom. Wait–maybe not every day. Some days I just try to be a mediocre mom. My point is, I’m trying to raise my darling kids the best I can.

I open the floor to you, my lovelies. Feel free to own up to what you’re trying to do these days. If you fail, I promise to be there to encourage you and send you gifs of cute animals to cheer you up.

5 thoughts on “Normalizing Failure

  1. Permission to fail is a rough one…

    I am currently trying really hard to not react when my 2 year old tries to push my buttons – to be honest, I am mostly failing.

    I’m also failing in my attempt to eat more fruit and less candy – see above.

    But, I’m doing much better at getting to work on time…or at least close to it.


  2. I relate to this so very much!! I hadn’t heard of imposter’s syndrome, but after a bit of googling I’m so glad to discover a name for those feelings. Corny, I know, but NORMAL. Your list is great! I feel I should make one, too, short and manageable – and your 2,3 and 4 would definitely be on it!


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