Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which means I have already failed because I was supposed to have a whole thing ready to go for Lent, with pictures and maybe a video and some other shit. I had planned on having it all ready and published last week. Then it was going to be this weekend. Then it was going to be Monday. And then Tuesday. And now, it is today, the first day of Lent and I don’t have the thing. I haven’t written any of it. My attempt at making a video was, let’s say, less than successful and I am a failure at Lent and at being a good person. And I have once again, disappointed Jesus.
Which, of course, is all bullshit. I’m not a failure at Lent. I’m not a failure. And, God help me, not perfectly executing this idea I had is the least of my worries when it comes to a disappointed Jesus. This is the kind of thing that runs through my head all the time. All. The. Time. Everything I do needs to be done to perfection and that perfection is a moving target based a set of floating, subjective, half-formed notions, all based on my level of self-loathing at any given second.
This is no way to go through life. It is really no way to go through life trying to make a living as a writer. It is crippling, in every sense of the word you can imagine.
What this kind of thing does is it makes failure a catastrophe rather than the inevitable and positive product of being alive and creative and trying. Trying and failing go together. The only way I can avoid failure is if I avoid trying. And if I avoid trying, I will have a 100% percent success rate at never doing anything. Who wants that? Embrace failure, that is what I need to learn. I need to learn to embrace failure.
What does this have to do with Lent? Depending on your theology of choice, not much. For me, it could be everything. I’m not looking to change the world or burn anything down or be the best most awesome person ever. I’m looking for small, incremental, every day gets a little better, changes. A touchdown counts for the same six points whether it took seven minutes, twelve plays, two offensive penalties and an incomplete pass or a one glorious ninety yard punt return.
This Lent, every day, starting today, I am going to take a risk. I am going to do something that scares me intimidates me or makes me anxious, or all of those things. Every day, for forty days, I am going to embrace the failure. I will share as much of my failure as I can stand. For forty days, I’m going to give myself sweaty palms and panic attacks, on purpose.
My risk today is telling you that I had a big thing planned and then I couldn’t get it done, not even a little bit. I have reasons for the failure but right now, the reasons don’t matter. I had a good idea and I didn’t follow through. And now, I’m telling you I had the idea and I didn’t do it. I’m taking the dragons in my head out and putting them on a display.
YAY FOR FAILING!!11*#@!!