Times I Failed and Everything Turned Out Fine

Hello sugar bugs, how are you? What’s happening? What’s your life look life? I’m currently eating oatmeal, chilling on my couch, with my cat is on top of me ‘cause he is literally oBseSSed with me.

I just finished up working on One Day at a Time season three. CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?! THREE WHOLE SEASONS of working on this delight of a TV show. And you can watch it sooooon! Season three is coming out early 2019, I think. I don’t know.

Also people have been asking me about The Bold Type. Though I left to return to ODAAT and did not get to work on season three, there IS a season three that will be coming out!!! But I don’t know when. No one tells me any premiere dates. Also did you like that I said “People have been asking me” Like what a stud, right???! (1 person asked)

Anyway, this means that I am off of work and free to work on anything I want before the next project comes along. At first, this was insanely exciting. I mean, FINALLY! I can write new scripts! I can blog! I can learn a new language! I can walk down the street and when a salesperson asks me, “Do you have a minute?” I can say “I sure do!” Then run away!

But in the past few weeks that excitement has worn thin, because I learned something pretty terrible about myself: I’m absolutely terrified of failure.

Turns out— it’s my kryptonite. Anytime I want to start a new script, new project, new blog, new hairstyle, new Trader Joes location, I find myself frozen because I am so utterly afraid of failing.

What if it’s not good? What if no one likes it? What if lowlights don’t suit my coloring? WHAT IF THE TJS DOESN’T HAVE FREE COFFEE TO SIP AS I PERUSE CAULIFLOWER ALTERNATIVES TO EVERYTHING!?

Honestly, it can be debilitating. Sometimes even the thought of failing feels like failure enough. I’ll think: I should get out there and run a marathon this year. Then I’ll think about the training… And what if the long runs take up too much time? What if I get hurt? What if I get shin splints!!! What if a big party or wedding falls on the night before the marathon that I cannot miss! Then I’ll be too tired the day of and all the preparation I did was for nothing!!!!!! Nah nope never mind woof that was exhausting just thinking about it.

Fear of failure has held me back from so much. It’s the reason I would always get off dating-apps. If I was swiping everyday for a year and didn’t meet anyone worth a second date, did that mean I failed at dating? What if I did end up liking someone… but then they ghosted me? Did I fail at finding my cul-de-sac loving husband?? WHO is going to hold my hand while I die?? This freakin’ cat????!

Speaking of, I was so afraid of failure when I bought this feline sitting on top of me. I thought I would mess up at some point and kill the thing.

I texted my friend Tayler-Anne, who had a cat of her own, and said “HOW DO I CAT?”

She wrote back: “Um… just feed it.”

I was so unsatisfied with that answer. Mmmmm but Tayler-Anne, you don’t understand. WHAT IF I FAIL?!!!! What if I forget to feed it one day or let it out accidentally and it runs away! Then I am a big fat cat-owner failure and all I have left is the painting I commissioned of his face:

Frank Painting

(to get one of your pet go to my friend Emma’s page!! On Instagram @paintedcatsanddogs)

Two years later, the cat is still very much alive. I didn’t fail. But guess what? I have failed — a ton of times.

And everything is fine. Great, even. I really, really love my life. 10/10. A+. Double stuff Oreo.

So, in order to remind myself and anyone reading why the fear of failure is the worst reason to not do something, I’m revisiting some of my failures. Things that felt like my world was ENDING and have had little to no real effect on my life. Things I feared I would never get over. Then I did.

1.) National Honor Society

When I was in high school, I was in the National Honor Society. Yes, I must capitalize every word in National Honor Society. Yes, I would like you to believe I am extremely smart. Yes, the requirements were pretty low and it is not as prestigious as I am leading you to believe.

You know what IS prestigious? Being the PRESIDENT of the National Honor Society. I set my sights on this goal and decided that I would be the NHS prez and accept my award wearing a gorgeous navy Juicy track suit with matching Juicy stud earrings or die trying.

I can’t remember the finer details, but somehow I did not properly plan this campaign and I was away in Florida on a family vacation when the candidates were to make their campaign speech.

I pleaded with the very strict math teacher who was assigned to lead NHS for an exception. Couldn’t I just make my speech when I got home?? I would bring in donuts! Even Krispy Kremes!! I would wait for the HOT NOW sign to appear and then get dozens of donuts and make it rain glazzzzzze at our 6am NHS meeting!

But I was denied. The NHS waits for no one. (I should have known.)

So I LEPT out of my Florida pool paradise, tossed my virgin Strawberry daiquiri aside, and spent a ton of my hard-earned (my mom’s) money to go home early to give this speech and take what was rightfully mine. I think my speech was literally “I SHOULD BE IN FLORIDA RIGHT NOW WEARING A SUNHAT BUT I AM HERE — UR WELCOME.”

I lost. I ugly-cried in the school cafeteria and my football player boyfriend at the time ate all my donuts and said, “What’s a National Honor Society? That like a Scout’s Honor thing?”

2.) LMU’s Hip Hop Team That I Forgot the Name Of

I was a part of the dance team at my high school. The sense of community, the rush of performing, the Fridays where we wore matching uniforms to school which were wildly uncomfortable and made everyone else feel weird and left out? I lived for it.

When we all went off to college, a bunch of the girls from my team ended up joining their university’s college cheer or dance team. They would post pictures from their auditions where they were wearing tiny shorts and tinier sports bras with little numbers attached to their hip with a caption that says “NEWEST MEMBER OF THE TEAM! CAN’T WAIT TO ROOT FROM THE SIDELINES! GO PICKLES!” I can’t tell you how much I wanted to post a picture like that. I mean, an excuse to wear spandex short shorts???! You get it.

LMU had two viable options: The cheer team, which was mostly gymnastics-type cheer and not pom-dance cheer (VERY DIFFERENT, MY FRIENDS) and a hip hop team that I have since forgotten the name of. There were probably other options but these were the fruits of my Freshmen year research when I typed into Google LMU, LET ME DANCEEEEEE (AND LOOK CUTE WHILE DOING IT).

I walked into the hip-hop team auditions and was given a number. Immediately — It. Was. ON. A number to put on my hip?? They were full-on handing me the tools for the perfect post to prove to all my mates back home once and for all that I was CRUSHING it in college!!!!

I got cut the very first round.

I ugly cried myself to sleep and never auditioned again. It wasn’t shocking, I was so clearly not on the level of the other dancers. Most of them were studying dance in college and have gone on to be professional dancers on cruise ships and at Disneyland.

As for me? I became one of the masses. Like everybody else, I had to wait until Halloween for an excuse to wear spandex short shorts. I was devastated.

3.) Sorority President

This is my pride and joy when it comes to any story about failure.

My junior year of college, I once again set my sights on the position I was axed out of four years prior: PRESIDENT. This time, of my sorority that I held so near and dear to my heart.

I really can’t even remember all the specifics, but I do remember that I was soooo sure I would get it. I thought — this is why I didn’t get NHS president all those years ago. It was because my presidential duties were being SAVED UP for this moment. My true calling is to be the PRESIDENT OF MY SORORITY.

I filled out a power point deck that my fellow sisters read, alongside the other, not-going-to-beat-me candidates. I was sure. I was in. I was determined.

I lost.

4.) Sorority President, again

I was so positive that I was going to win this election, that I demanded a re-vote right then and there. That’s right. I HAD THE SORORITY RE-VOTE.

This isn’t like the next year or anything, it was the SAME NIGHT. Or the night after. Who can remember. You know what I do remember?

I lost. Again.

How hard are you cringing right now?

Want to know what’s worse?

BEING ME IN THAT MOMENT.

I went home. Turned on Adele. And ugly cried.

5.) That That I Took Up Knitting

Two years ago, I decided to take up knitting. I thought it would be the perfect hobby for the holiday season. I watched holiday movies, ate gingerbread, and knit headbands for all my friends as their Christmas gifts that they were sure to donate to Goodwill the following year and then tell me they “misplaced” it.

I tried to knit a blanket. It was to look like this:

cream blanker

^^^ IMAGINE THAT BEING ME! SO FUCKIN CHIC!

Aaaaaaand this is what I got:

Blanket.jpg

I entirely failed. But did I ugly cry about it?

 

(Maybe!!!!!)


 

I’ve always loved this passage from “Motivational Quotes to Get the Blood Moving” By Markus Almond:

“Here’s the thing about mistakes: No one is paying attention. No one knows you’re making mistakes but you. Call attention to them and everyone will call you a fuck up. Move on and no one will know the difference.”

I have found it so true. So why then, am I doing the exact opposite and point all of you to some of my failures? Because I love them, and because they do not matter at all.

I would have sucked as NHS president. I was no where good enough to be on that dance team — I really just wanted community, which I found in other places. I had a blast as a VP in my sorority and my re-vote is actually my most favorite story ever. I have no idea where that washcloth/scarf/blanket is. (Probably Goodwill.)

At the time, I felt like such a big fat failure, but now? They are trivial and silly and funny to look back on. I thought they meant so much. And they actually do — but in a different way than what I thought.

Now, their meaning is to remind me to always be that girl who runs for things, tries out for teams, and demands re-votes no matter how vulnerable they make you and how hard you might crash and burn. Because you know what I can’t count and list for you here? The amount of times I took a big swing and it WORKED and it led me to this Double Stuffed Oreo life I get to live now.

Like when I said “fuck you” to the fear of failure, stayed on dating apps and met my cute boyfriend. When I moved to LA and made a life for myself. When I went after a “never going to happen” writing career and have the best job in the universe.

So I hope you guys will take some more big swings with me and vow to stop letting the fear of failure get in our way.

Orrrrrrr maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. OMG, is this post un-relatable? Am I alone in this? Will people not get it??? UGH!!!! What a fail.


 

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I promise I’m trying to post more. I also promise I will say this every time.

xoxo

Caroline

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