I have failed.
I suppose I mean that in both the macro sense – I think we’ve all failed at something at some point in our lives, it’s part of the human experience – but also the more literal, immediate sense. If I’m honest with myself and with you, I’m writing this from a pretty piss poor place in my life. I debated whether to be this transparent on such a public forum and, if I were to be, how articulate to be about it.
There were a few considerations: first, I didn’t want to write this in such a way that might hinder my ability to fix my current situation. More directly, I didn’t want to write this from an emotional place or be so revealing that it forever colors how others view me, particularly professionally. But I also wanted to be honest. I wanted to write this in such a way that I felt better for it, a cathartic post, if you will. Unfortunately, the two conflict.
For me to truly experience the kind of healthy catharsis that I’m seeking, I’d have to be so honest about my circumstances it may be admirably transparent to the casual reader, but my professional prospects would forever be tainted. For example, at one of my old jobs, I once shared a deeply personal story about a bout with homelessness I experienced; while some thought it was really brave of me to share it, others were really uncomfortable. For them, while they were glad I’d obviously overcome it, they were like many who associate a stigma with those afflicted by homelessness. “There must be something wrong with him if he’s homeless” kind of thing. So imagine if I’d blogged about my homelessness while I was experiencing it – while I was actively looking for a job or seeking out contracts to pay the bills – it would have colored the way potential employers would have seen me or given irresistible leverage to potential clients who would have known I needed them more than they needed me. I’m no fool, I know that sometimes perception trumps reality and the perception that one has their shit together often helps make that a reality, while the reality of not having your shit together – when obvious and broadcast – can be a self-perpetuating circumstance. So the probably unhealthy but necessary mix sometimes is to suppress the most sensitive things that one is going through when they know that disclosing them ultimately may make fixing them even harder.
Such is the conundrum I face now. As you have probably realized, I’m not going to be very honest about my current circumstance. The truth of the matter is that while it might be awesome for my mental health, it wouldn’t help me dig myself out of the hole that ultimately has caused me the greatest mental stress. The short-term relief being honest and transparent with you and myself would bring would only delay the long-term resolutions necessary for long-term relief. In short, me being honest actually hurts me more than it helps. Sometimes life makes you choose between your sanity and your reality. And unless you’re really fortunate or, conversely, have nothing to lose, your reality will always trump your sanity. That’s just the way our society is set up. #kanyeshrug
It’s a terrible place to be emotionally, however. It’s a constant suppression of emotions that probably should have their moment of expression, but because my life can’t afford the collateral damage such an expression might cause – nothing extreme, but like the homelessness example above, external perceptions can have negative effects on one’s personal goals – I have to ignore them and keep trudging forward, hoping that substantive improvements in my life will ultimately cure all. It’s sort of like in football: when a team is losing, all of the sudden locker room issues start making their way to the press and every issue – big or small – is magnified to be gargantuan because they are all considered contributors to the losing. But if you win – well, as the saying goes, winning cures all. Winning minimizes all of those stories, not just externally but also within the locker room. Those problems you might have with your quarterback all the sudden seem trivial because, well, you’re winning. That contract dispute? Blah. Winning makes everyone come back to the table with a positive outlook and determination to get a deal done. Trade requests? Why? We’re winning, why would I want out of a championship culture?
So, too, is life. Or at least that’s my bet. That ultimately winning cures all. That if I can simply win – in this case, solve my most pressing issues and get my life back on the track I believed it was on before – all of the other issues will dissipate. I don’t know if that’s true. And as I read this, it probably isn’t. It certainly isn’t the most healthy way to address personal trials, I’m sure. But it’s my way. As thoughtful as I am, I’m a realist. I know that even had I been willing to spill my soul on the internet, it wouldn’t have actually made any of the problems I would have talked about any better. And since I’m pretty linear in my logic, if it doesn’t help me fix the problem, it also doesn’t seem to be worth my time.
So this will have to do. Not necessarily an honest, transparent post, but a post about why I thought about being honest and transparent but opted, in the end, to play it safe.