Failure. It’s an interesting word/concept/insult/description/tag. I used it about myself in my last post and, as a consequence, received some comments and private messages from friends wanting to make sure I realised I wasn’t a failure. The message that touched me most was from an ex-boyfriend from more than a decade ago who reminded me that I’d been a great step-mother to his then very small children and how was that failure? It made me cry, partly because I suppose I’d forgotten that I’d ever been so involved with those beautiful children for several years, and because those few years were like what I imagine motherhood on roids might be like, but mostly because this man had acknowledged what I’d done and thanked me for it. Step-motherhood is hard. Getting up in the middle of the night and rocking a screaming child back to sleep, telling them that their mother (who hated me with an intensity that, to this day, makes me shudder) loved them and they’d see her really soon, was not in any guidebook on womanhood I’d ever read. But step-motherhood is another story for another time.
Failure. I love that people who love me, and even some people who barely know me, wanted me to know that they didn’t think I was a failure. It’s just that, I think sometimes it feels right and good to do a gigantic all-over-body-and-soul-shake and say ‘gosh I failed at that!’. I tried to get pregnant and I failed. I tried to get my book published and I failed. I don’t think I’m a failure. I just failed at ticking a few important things off my list. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to succeed at these things again, it just feels good to acknowledge those raw, dark, shadow-side feelings that scream FAIL FAIL FAIL deep within so they hold less power, take up less room, and enable me to shake them off and not hide the dark stuff so much.
It’s taken me a long time to realise that the dark stuff is often the good stuff. When you acknowledge the dark stuff deep healing takes place and a much more holistic acceptance of oneself starts to arise. This is so important for me. This is what 2012 is all about for me. Accepting all the bits of myself: the dark bits, the bits that feel like failure, the bisexual bits, the creative bits, the fecund bits, the funny bits, the annoying bits, the amazing, inspiring bits. I’ve always wanted to present the ‘best’, shiniest bits to the world, but I am more than the sheen on my achievements. I am maiden and mother and crone, all. I am all the songs of all the women who ever walked this place. Like you are, and you are, and you, and you.