Little D loves his chicken nuggets. They’re almost sacred to him. Well, yesterday we decided to go to our local (and not so authentic) Mexican restaurant. I mean, really, how authentic can it be here in the middle of the deep South USA??
Anyway, We ordered our food and Little D, acting on inspiration from “Agent Oso,” decided to order his own meal. He did so well! His garbled message came out “I want to eat chicken nuggets and French fries all GONE!” It was pretty clear to me, but the waitress had no idea what he had said. I was just beaming that he tried and did his best! Who cares if it wasn’t perfect!
Then that got me thinking… Why don’t I care if Little D is perfect, but I put myself through the ringer if I get one thing slightly wrong? What is the difference between my expectations and elation for Little D’s many accomplishments and my almost constant (okay, it’s not that bad) thought process about myself that I’m somehow failing, not good enough, never will be, etc. etc. (Alright…. It’s pretty bad.)
What’s worse is, I’m the only one who sees myself this way. My husband acknowledges my faults and gently tries to guide me in the right direction. My friends seem to ignore my faults all together. I’m horrible at calling or even texting to keep in touch and they still love me. Over the summer I blew off (by accident and forgetfulness) one dear friend almost 7 times in a row and she still wants to be my friend. (Although, I’m not entirely sure why… see! I can’t even tell this story without beating myself up over it!) Not to mention my parents, who it seems could not be more proud that I’m their daughter. So, so many others who have pitched in, helped out, been there for me because at some point I was there for them… and still I think I’m not a good friend/mother/wife/sister/aunt/teacher etc.
Well… I’m here to put myself in time-out. Time out from the beatings, the shameful feelings… the disappointment. I’m not in this life to be perfect, I’m in this life to enjoy it, to love people and be loved in return, which as we know is “The greatest thing you'll ever learn…” (Eden Ahbez, "Nature Boy,” 1948, from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Love).
So to remind myself, and anyone else who might read this, that it’s ok to fail once in a while… even 7 times in a row, I wrote this blog entry. Here’s a list of other people who failed and didn’t give up… eventually they succeeded or we wouldn’t know who they were, much less care about it. These are a few that I care about most… for sentimental reasons:
Henry Ford: He invented the assembly line, American-made cars and was a very successful businessman. But, did you know that his first business failed and he was broke five times before he found success in the Ford Motor Company
Bill Gates: A Harvard drop-out and failed businessman – that is, until he came up with Microsoft and … the rest is present … I’m writing on a Windows powered PC. Thanks, Bill.
Ludwig van Beethoven: He overcame his father, his musical superiors, and people who said he would never succeed with either the violin or composing. At least once a week, maybe more, we all hear Beethoven’s famous 9th symphony played as background music to a commercial, movie or other video media. His music is triumphant, much like his life. And oh yeah… did I mention he wrote most of his successful symphonies after he was completely deaf?
Albert Einstein: He holds a special place in my heart because, like my son, he had a delay of speech, and didn’t read until he was 7 years old. People around him thought he was mentally handicapped and anti-social. (Sounds like high-functioning ASD or Asperger’s to me, but I digress). He got kicked out of school and other schools wouldn’t take him in. However, now we all know E=MC2 and his Nobel Prize pretty much says the rest.
Sir Isaac Newton: Brilliant scholar, ground-breaking researcher… the man was, in a word, GENIUS. However, when it came to the family farm, he failed. … Thank goodness! After he messed things up pretty bad at home, he was shipped off to Cambridge… now Gravity is a law and there are all kinds of things related to it that wouldn’t have happened were it not for his black thumb.
Thomas Edison: If I could go back in time and meet any inventor, Thomas would be the man I’d wanna meet. Not because he was especially sociable. In fact, he was so hard-working that he isolated himself from many friends… but his constants stayed around. Teachers told him he was stupid and wouldn’t learn a thing. He made 1,000 failed light bulbs before he came up with one that worked. Talk about PERSISTENCE!
Abraham Lincoln: We all recognize him as probably the greatest president our country has ever seen, but did you know that he went to war as a captain and came home a private? (That’s several demotions in a row, people). Also, did you know he lost one election for the presidency before he won? He also ran for a number of other offices which he lost, but he didn’t give up. Oh yeah… he also failed as a businessman too. Some hero!!
Oprah Winfrey: Well, you’re either celebrating or cringing, but let’s just all agree that when it comes to girl power, no one really has it like Oprah. She had a hard childhood, was abused and failed at her career. She was told she was “unfit for tv.” Well, not according to America!
Fred Astaire: Another man I’d like to have met. His name is almost synonymous with great dancing – eat your heart out, Dancing with the Stars! He was told after his first audition that he would never make it as an actor, a singer or a dancer. Well, 76 years in film later and 38 musical films under his belt sure showed that first casting director, eh? As a side, Fred kept the hand-written note from the casting director, “Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." in his home to remind him how far he’d come
Lucille Ball: Best known for her role on I Love Lucy, this powerhouse diva had 13 Emmy nominations and won 4 times! She also earned herself the Lifetime achievement award from the Kennedy Center Honors. The failures, of course, came before her role on the loved TV show. She was considered a failed actress and disappointed all of her drama professors. Take that, doubters!
Marilyn Monroe: Finally, and not because I love her least, I included this buxom blonde. She was so sexy in her day and was a pin-up to end all pin-up girls’ careers. She also sang, acted and danced. She was told by modeling agents that she should be a secretary instead, how wrong were they! Oh, and did I mention my favorite part? This woman was no size 2, she was probably closer to today’s size 14!