I like lists, so I’ll do this in a list:
- In 5th grade I didn’t win an art contest. Those who won, were allowed to take part in helping to paint the new reading room at the public library. I was never a very good artist, and they had said that the winners wouldn’t just be people who were good at art, but also those who tried hard and worked well with other people. I had been sitting at a table with one of the more difficult people to work with in our class, and I tried my best to be patient and calm the entire time. I worked my hardest on that drawing; I wanted to win so much. I didn’t win. I was so angry and hurt that I took it out on the two girls who did win by writing obscenities on the bathroom stall wall in permanent pen. After lunch I felt so ashamed by my actions, when everyone was talking about it, that I had my mother pick me home sick from school. I fessed up about it on the way home to my mother, and we told the Principal the next day. This experience was a failure in dealing with my anger, and it still lives with me to this day.
- I remember in high school not getting into a program to go to Germany as an exchange student. I was so horrified because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get to go abroad because our family didn’t have much money and I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. We ended up finding the money for me to take part in a program through AFS so that I could go. It wasn’t AFS, but many experiences happened to me through my host family that year that were mentally damaging. I always feel like this was a failure, because if I had gotten into the other program perhaps I could have been spared the grief I suffered.
- At the end of high school my Grandmother (the only one I was connected with) was dying of lung cancer. The last conversation I had with her concluded with her begging me to believe in Jesus. I lied, and said I would. No matter how much I knew I didn’t have any other choice, I will always regret lying to my grandmother. I feel like I betrayed her.
- During college I found out through one of my professors that the rest of the department thought I was a flake. This had happened due to some miscommunication regarding a student worker position over the past summer (at least as far as I know), and I tried desperately to talk with the head of the department to smooth things over. It didn’t really work, as I had already been judged, so thus decided not to pursue graduate school at the time. I remember drinking a bottle of red wine while sitting in the tub talking to my best friend over the phone, trying to process what had happened.
- Getting a DUI (Driving under the Influence) during college felt like a massive failure at the time, but I’m not sure how truly bad it was. I blew a .09 (I had had two drinks that evening). No one was hurt. Oregon has this ‘Diversion’ aspect where you can supposedly wipe your one and only DUI by going through a variety of activities. I went through the course and would have been let go at the end for good work (being sober, etc.) but stupidly listed having a Welsh beer as celebration for ending my Medieval Welsh course. I ended up taking another 3 months in a women’s ‘support’ type group regarding addiction.. That was, honestly, one of the most enlightening things in my life. Despite others perhaps labeling or judging me for it now, I find that experience will make my life richer and more understanding of others for years to come.
- Losing one of my best friends, a fellow french horn player and writer, whom I miss so very much today. He won’t talk to me anymore. I think that I will always be extremely saddened by losing that friendship, and will always regret it.
- I had a dog once, her name was Iza. I had always wanted one, and I was finally in a position to get one, raise it, and take care of it. My failure here was in not taking care of her enough to prevent her from getting hit by a car. My failure here is not having enough money to get the surgery she needed. I will always feel that my putting her down was a personal failure.
- My latest, but definitely not the most extraordinary, was choosing to resign from my most recent position. I was definitely not going to be a happy person if I stayed. But, having to go through everything I did was the hardest. I continuously felt like a failure at that position, and it makes me sad to think of how much it truly demoralized me. I was a sad little lurking hulk of emoticons ready to vomit nails back at people. It was a failure that I didn’t speak up sooner about how I felt I was treated. It was a failure I didn’t leave earlier and save myself the pain.
This has been cathartic, talking about all of this. However I think I must needs bake and fry away my tears (yes, the improper grammar is on purpose here), with some tasty sausage and pancakes, else I will while away my time in deep thought of the things I ought to have done.