To Fail is to Understand That You’re Still Vibrantly Alive


What happens when you stop playing it safe?  What occurs when you place everything out on the line and push yourself to the edge of your life?  Not in a careless, manic way, but in a well-rounded way that tells the universe, “I’m taking the plunge because I want the full experience while I’m here.  Please catch me, and I know you will.”  What happens when you get to a point where you want to spread your wings, but reason and logic tell you no way, so you take a step back and comfortably close the door to the open air, sit back in your chair (tightly buckled in), and wait it out?  Pretty soon you’re descending back onto the ground, realizing your chance to fly is over.  “I’ll go about this a safer way,” you tell yourself.  “I don’t want to fail.”  No one wants to fail, or to make the “wrong” decision, but when you take the plunge expecting the best to happen, you’ll discover that your wings are expansive.  If you refuse to take the plunge, then failure is eminent.

A failure is what occurs when you do things half-assed.  Failures are occurring all around you all the time.  Failure is prominent in our society.  This is the play-it-safe zone.  Hardly anyone is out there taking chances or putting their life on the line for the sake of feeling something more than mediocrity.  No one likes feeling vulnerable.  No one likes instability.  It’s scary, so we avoid it.  And the systems are set up here so that if we’re not milling away at a day-to-day routine, things become unstable immediately, and we become vulnerable very quickly.  The problem is, if you play it safe like that, sooner or later the shell is going to crack itself open.  It may take longer, but it also may explode in your face.  The point is, you have no control over the shell cracking, because if you’re meant to do something, or to actually feel something while you’re here, then the guard will find its way down, and your sudden vulnerability will hurt even more because your resistance to your life has kept you completely numb.

Feeling safe is cute and all.  Putting a guard up each morning before you head out the door so you can maintain a safe lifestyle, is adorable.  Honestly, after what I sat through during six months of rehab – how I FELT something intense more often than not – I’d so much rather have someone in my face splitting my guts open and leaving me to pick them up once in a while, than sitting in a car every single day listening to Enya.  (Yes I still love her, but give me some Evanescence. Wake me up inside!)  Every now and again I’d rather have a heated argument with someone I love (to knock bullshit out of the equation) than to pretend everything is perfectly cool all the time.  I don’t mind feeling something.  I guess that’s what it boils down to. Actually feeling something (deeper than admiration, pride or frustration).

When you fail, it hurts, but afterward, you realize it’s not the end of you.  Knowing that you’re still alive and kicking after a failure, is the place where life begins.  It’s where visions get realized.  It’s where you discover that you’re not going to give up (no matter what) because life is more than a ticket punch (in and out).  Life is an opportunity to learn to fly.  We human beings don’t have wings for a reason.  We’re supposed to get out there and discover them for ourselves.  They are not handed to us.  They aren’t even obvious.  Each person has a pair, but most people never have the balls to find them because they are scared of what will happen if they take a leap of faith.

Recovery has given me both balls and wings, but it’s only because I failed so extremely hard in my life.  It’s only because I managed to eat shit so blatantly, and then chose to clean myself up afterward.  What I discovered along the way was that when I was broken down into pieces and emptied of everything I spent my life fueling up on, I was whole.  That was complete news to me.  You see, because we’re always out there trying to prove something, even if it’s that we have the choice to be an alcoholic, or that we are the best parent in the world, or that we can manage five-thousand things in a day, perfectly well.  We’re always trying to prove something, and if we’re not trying to prove something, then we’ve probably settled, or caved in.  That’s the real failure.

Playing it safe is not adorable.  It’s not cute.  And trying to prove something is a dead end endeavor. It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic. That’s what I’m saying.  I put it “out there” to some degree.  I throw myself out on a limb once in a while.  My life is out in the open for the world to see if they’re that interested in me, but like most people, I play it safe too. So what am I going to do about it? I am going to challenge myself to stop playing it safe.  Every day I’m going to do one thing new to push my limits.  If something scares me, I’m going to observe it and then I’m going to dare myself to walk through the fear.  If I am avoiding someone, I’m going to face them.  If I want something really bad, but I’m afraid to ask, I’m going to ask. Whatever man. I mean we all want meaning while we are here.  We want to matter, but that’s all an illusion of our ego.  If you want life to matter, then find your wings and fly.  Life isn’t about popularity or being the best.  You will never ever be the best at anything.  Someone else is better.  I promise you that.  You will never remain on the top, or in the limelight.  That’s impossible, and it’s not real.  What’s real is actually feeling something, and it begins with feeling raw as shit.  It begins with being vulnerable and so extremely scared that you’re shaking in your boots.  I’ve been there, and now I’m like, holding my own wings that I discovered.  I’m carrying them around in a laptop case while I walk around sipping my almond milk mocha, talking about dumb-ass TV shows on planet mediocrity.  It’s embarrassing.  I’m embarrassed.

You can’t do this thing half-assed.  You can, but I’m sorry – that’s an epic failure.  I beg you to challenge yourself today, to do something a little more extreme than usual.  Make a difference in someone’s life.  Confront someone that you’ve been avoiding.  Be fucking real. BE VULNERABLE.  It’s not going to kill you.  In fact, you’ll feel more alive than you’ve felt in a long time.  It doesn’t matter what people think.  It’s how you feel inside (as long as you are not harming yourself or another person – don’t be stupid).  It’s having self-esteem and knowing that you are going the distance in your life.  It’s discovering your wings and practicing jumping from that cliff that you’ve been avoiding.

Do you really want to die knowing that you carried your wings in your back pocket the whole time, or do you want to die with wings that look like they’ve been to the moon and back?  Do I really need to answer this question for you?  Sit back and fail, or step out and fly.  You’re choice.

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