The Flip Side

My whole life, I’ve been pretty good at anything I’ve tried. I’m smart, a quick study and able to pull of pretty much most of the stuff I’ve done by the seat of my pants. Case in point, Engineering class on circuits. I sucked at that class, it was at 8 in the morning and I nearly fell asleep almost every day. I studied here and there, did my assignments, got by and woke up two hours before the final, crammed and passed. Exhibit B: Physics 269 – optics. I was so lost I didn’t even know what the class was really about. I got a tutor, learned how to derive my own formulas and got my C-minus (required to take the next level).

I can count pretty quickly the times I’ve absolutely bombed something (PMAT 451 the first time around – Got an F. Take two I got a C, but by PMAT 453 I pulled off an A minus). I came thisclose to bombing PMAT 491 but since the rest of the class was sitting at an D average, the prof said whatever we got on the final would be our final grade. Despite the fact that he put two concepts we had never taken in class on the test, I got a B (it was an open book test and I was able to teach myself out of the textbook and get the gist of it).

But all this leaves me with a paralyzing fear of failure. I don’t mean to come off as a jerk saying that I’m good at stuff, what I’m saying is, I’ve always been able to pull it out of the fire (as my mum says). Consequently, I absolutely fear failure. I don’t know what to do with it. A by-product of this is that, now that I’m older, I rarely try new things. Knowing that the coin I’ve been tossing has been pretty consistent in coming up heads, I’m sure that there are a number of Tails with my name on it. I’m a math major, for crying out loud. I know the stats.

So what’s a type A squirrelly girl to do? I’m trying to embrace the failure. In baby steps. So I have been working on my issues s-l-o-w-l-y. I’ve purchased a new pattern for knitting, and while you’re thinking this does not exactly sound like bungee jumping, for me, it’s been a learning process. I’ve started and pulled it apart 10 times now. It’s been VERY FRUSTRATING! Knitting is supposed to be relaxing but right now I can feel my blood pressure skyrocket as soon as I pick up the needles. My head bent over, my shoulders hunched, I’ve GOT TO KEEP TRYING! No matter how many times I fail. It’s getting better. I may not even have to rip out the stitches this time. We’ll see. But the urge to toss it aside and declare it MORONIC is overwhelming!

So, it may not seem like much to you, but to me, this is the first lesson in Failure 101: How to fail and move on. We’ll see if I can get back on the Roller-blades this summer. I haven’t fallen yet, so I know that there is a massive wipe out with my name on it. There’s got to be, I’m a total klutz.

I wasn’t always like this. As a kid I used to ride my bike super fast and then hard brake on gravel. I would ride it all over the place with my friends and never gave a thought to getting hurt, but two massive wipe outs has me fearful of gravel ever since. I have some lovely scars on my knees that are still purple to prove it, and they are over 20 yrs old now.

So I guess I have to try and find the girl that used to jump down 6 stairs at a time, despite being told it was dangerous. And if I fall, I’m just gonna have to get back up.


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