How Failing, Often & Gloriously, Has Made Me A Better Man

 Life Lessons Learned From Lofty Failures

I know there's already a plethora of material on how failing is actually success in a mask, but I thought, what the hell, I'll throw down on that, too! You see, as a young man, I never thought excessive and repeated failure would be a part of my story, however, now, I can't imagine it any other way. I'm not sure how I would have grown into the wise, compassionate man I am today, were it not for my frequent, lucky failures.

It is important to note that when I speak of failure, I do not mean it in the sense of tests, career advancement, sobriety, or anything of the like. I mean it as a failure to secure an identity, a trajectory, a purpose. A failure to truly embrace and love who you are, not who culture has allocated you to be.

For many years, I flailed from one identity to another: young, Bohemian actor; quirky banker; free-spirited nomad; the misunderstood rehab/detox/psych ward attendee; reserved, reflective mourner. So. Many. False. Identities. It's like I should be an undercover operative. Except I seriously lack those skills. Yet when I take a step back, and view these failed identities objectively, I am able to see bits of ol' Charlie within each one.

Because we're more than just one stock character, you know? I am very Bohemian, quirky, and free-spirited. I do enjoy being reflective, a romantic. And if I hadn't failed at each one of these, perhaps I never would have discovered those facets of myself?

It sure doesn't feel that way in the moment, though. In the moment, you feel lost, frustrated, less than, and quite hopeless. I remember looking around over the years, as the lives of my friends took off in one direction or another, and they always seemed so sure of who they were as a person. Their identity did not seem to waver or falter, and I wasn't jealous, I was in awe. While also feeling extremely inadequate. Each time a selected identity would fail, the wind would be knocked from my sails and I would feel very defeated, very foolish. Sadly, at the time, I could not see they were destined to fail, since they're not authentic, not who I truly am, and the devastation was crushing.

Until the day came when I decided I wanted to be me. It was a couple months after getting sober, and I felt myself leaning in to an identity reliant on how long I'd been sober, rather than the strength it took to get sober. I've posted it about it earlier, but this is also around the time I remembered that I loved myself. I loved my humor, my outlook and acceptance of life. We're created just the way we're supposed to be, yet so often find ourselves fighting tirelessly against it.

Naturally, I know this is much easier said than done, but I would challenge you to listen to your inner voice. You know, the one that has your best interest in mind, and wants nothing more than for you to shine. Engage in interests and activities that nurture and feed your soul. If the negativity is too loud to block out, let it yell and tire itself out, then put it to bed without supper. For we shan't pander to the antics of negativity any longer, y'all. It's the devil, a cruse, a malignant growth run rampant within our society.

And above all, remember to stop and smell the flowers, enjoy the little things, have fun.


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