I happen to know someone who does not do this very often…
When I was a young girl I put a ton of pressure on myself to do well.
In my family.
And I continued to do the same in High School.
I HAD to have good grades and sing well. I had to be smarter than “her” and a better singer than “her”. I had to be wholesome and straight and pure. I had to make sure I was close to faultless, for reasons in my heart that only a select few knew about.
So it came as a real shock when my junior year in high school, I cheated on a test.
AND got caught.
If ever there was a picture in the dictionary of the word “mortified” it would be of me with my sixteen-year-old self, head on my desk, while my classmates finished the exam and I did not.
I still remember how fast my heart started beating when the realization came across the face of my Chemistry teacher.
Because you know, good students DO NOT cheat. We were both in shock.
And still, do this day, I have a hard time admitting to that one mistake that has left such an impression on me, for so many years.
Every time I recall it, I get an immediate physiological response. I believe some call it “a pit in my stomach”.
I am catapulted back into that room with fluorescent lights and slippery white floors and faux wood brown desks lined up so neatly. I can still smell my teacher’s perfume and see her curly, golden hair right in my face as she leaned down next me to see what I saw too – that I was cheating.
She, of course knew that was not like me.
I knew that was not ME at all.
It was a moment of weakness that came out of fear – the fear of failure.
Unfortunately I can relate this to my life even now.
I am scared to fail, in so many ways.
In raising my kids, in my photography pursuits, in my spiritual life. Even sometimes in my marriage.
And of course now, with all of those things, that Chemistry test seems like nothing. It seems small and silly.
All the crying I did in the girls bathroom, with my best friend patting me on the back while I told her, seems so long ago. The look of sheer disappointment on my Father’s face when I had to tell him what I had done, is fading too, but it is still there.
Should I have been upset about what I did then? Was it wrong? Of course.
But is turns out I am NOT perfect. I do make mistakes.
And I know that no one is my life is expecting me to be perfect.
Except maybe myself.
And what I am really doing in the title of this post is talking to myself (and you), giving us permission to
fail. To try first, but possibly fail. And, to give ourselves a damn break every now and again.
Now if only I could listen to myself on this one….
This spilled out onto real paper in the hallway of the Gaylord Texan the last morning of Blissdom. I’m not sure where the inspiration to write it came from exactly but here it is, with very little editing…