I feel like a failure a lot. My personality fails me (so introverted, so impatient). My house fails me with its laurel hedges growing into a tall jungle while I’m not looking. My lawn is rocky and barren and dry, spotted with dandelions. My laundry room houses not only dirty laundry, but also a hodge-podge of debris that collects. Plus two always-needing-to-be-cleaned litter boxes. I can’t get anyone to leave my tools in one place, so I have screwdrivers and wrenches strewn about the house and I can never find the one with the star-tip (what’s it called? I can never remember).
I failed one thing in all my academic years: a math test in third grade. I ripped it apart in anger and went home crying. When a mean choir teacher gave me a B+ for my semester grade in choir my freshman year, it ruined my grade point average and so I never again took a subjective class in high school. No art, no music, nothing that couldn’t be quantified and controlled. What kind of life is that? A safe life. A boring life.
I hate to fail. And yet I fail so often. When I fail–daily–have you seen my kitchen floor?–I want to run away. I want to abandon my family to someone who has a better chance of success than I. I want my kids to have a better mom, my husband to have a better wife. I don’t want them to have to live with someone like me who gets things wrong more than she gets them right. I want to wash my hands of the whole sorry mess I’ve made and relocate to a farm where I will wear tie-dye, grow my own vegetables and talk to the animals. Of course, probably the weeds would overtake my cultivated fields and the animals wouldn’t talk back.
Here’s the sentence I say to myself on occasion: “How hard can it be?” The answer, in the case of replacing a freezer gasket is VERY VERY HARD. Nigh unto impossible, as a matter of fact. My fingers are too weak and my constitution too impatient to successfully accomplish the goal. (The goal is to keep food frozen without creating icicles in the fridge.)
I’m sure that it’s not normal to feel like a complete and utter failure because one cannot replace the freezer gasket because one was too impatient to wait for someone to arrive who can complete that task with ease. It’s not normal to spiral into this black tornado of despair because I can’t keep up with my life. (If I do not get the lilacs pruned, there will be no blossoms next year.) It’s not normal that the thought of my storage room causes me great distress, the kind of distress that immobilizes me rather that motivates me.
And being not normal makes me feel like a failure.
I really thought I’d be a good mom, a good wife, a decent human being. (I have never been called for jury duty. Why is that?) I thought I’d have a lush green lawn and the kind of kids who would happily eat a giant chef salad for dinner. (Ha ha ha ha ha.)
I am pathetic tonight. Blame PMS. Blame the stupid freezer. Blame my puny fingers. Blame my schedule. Blame the government. Blame the mean choir teacher who ruined my grade point average. But ultimately, it’s all me. Imperfect, failing me.
And now, here’s the response:
Stop sniveling. Quit the self-pity. Enough self-exaggeration and melodrama. Your hormones are out of control. Fixing a freezer gasket is not the ultimate test of success. Imperfection is all right. Everything will look better in the morning. Your fingertips will probably even feel better.
Everything that must be done will get done. Stop complaining. It’s so unbecoming.
Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful.
Go to bed.