About 10 years ago, I was laying on my back in my bed, with my eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Thinking of all of my dreams sinking to the bottom of the ocean and the only words that kept circling through my brain were “FUCK UP.” I was a fuck up. For years, I had practiced, toured and performed with my band and I was supposed to be a “rockstar.” And in case that dream never came to fruition, I promised my parents my plan of going to school to become a minister would be my fall back. Both of those dreams crashed and burned…hard. And almost at exactly the same time.
Day after day, I would just lay there, in the same place, contemplating what a failure my life had become, if I should just stop wasting up space and end my life. I’ve shared many times about how dark that season was for me. The one where I almost didn’t make it out alive.
Not only was I stripped raw of my “rockstar” identity and writhing in pain from that aspect, I was embarrassed and ashamed of my failure. Embarrassed that so many people believed in me and that I didn’t accomplish the thing I set out to do.
And those words to myself, “Fuck Up,” replayed constantly. They were harsh and filled with rage.
The thing that seemed to bring solace was to drive off to a remote area and sit in silence with nature, to a place where there is true silence and I could hear nothing but my own breathing and heart beating. It reminded me that I was still here, regardless of the pain.
Over time I attempted to pick myself back up. I found other things to occupy my time. I prayed…a lot and over time, I learned what grace was. Not with other people, but with myself. For some reason, it’s much easier for us to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves. But after months and months of tending to my wounds and convincing myself that life was worth living no matter what, I learned to love and forgive myself.
I had this ideal image of who I was supposed to be, and growing up as a bit of a perfectionist, I was extremely hard on myself. But what I’ve learned is that life is far from perfect – no matter how much we would like it to appear to be. We shouldn’t try to hide our messes, nor should we be ashamed of them.
Perfect is a lie. Everything that is beautiful took work and has a back story. We are probably just unfamiliar with it and the gigantic mess that took place to achieve it.
And that’s what I’ve learned – it’s worth the mess. It’s worth the ugly and the imperfect.
When we fail, it means we’ve tried. We found courage to go for it, which is not always the case for many of us. We have to decide that the potential outcome of failure will still be worth the try. I promise that it always is.
Those big failures, those giant fuck-ups, they have shaped who I am. They taught me to love myself BECAUSE I tried, regardless if I failed. And there is almost ALWAYS a lesson to take with me. Whether it’s a lesson of grace, a lesson of hope or understanding life just a little bit more, it is worth it every time. I also love others so much deeper. Because I know true pain and because I want to wrap my arms around those who feel like they no longer belong here. Because I’ve been there.
At this point, I almost look forward to failure. Not because I don’t want to succeed, but because I never want to stop trying. I never want to stop giving. I never want to stop learning. Failure no longer means I’m a fuck up. Rather, it means that I have not given up trying. I am still here. Not just existing. No longer just staring at the ceiling; I am living. I love myself enough to keep going.
Courage shows up when we are able to forgive ourselves and forget about what others think. That comes with choosing love for ourselves. It sounds weird, but it’s a choice.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, fall in love with being a fuck up. I’ll do the same. We’ll be better for it. I promise.