Updated: Feb 8, 2019
"I learned working with the negatives can make for a better picture "
- Drake, HYFR
I’m not going to lie. I thought that, “you had to fail to grow”, saying was some bullshit. One, who wants to fail and two, again, who wants to fail. But honestly, I’ve been failing a lot lately and been growing even more. My podcast for all intents and purpose has failed. I’ve applied for retreats and competitions, clearly, I haven’t gotten them. And this summer, I had an event that failed miserably. Like, Sis, if it wasn’t for my family, it would have just been me. Saying it was a humbling experience, is putting it mildly.
Since I’ve started my podcast, I dreamed of having watch parties. I wanted to record them and interview people about their reactions to the show. As well as having trivial and impersonation competitions. But besides, thinking about it, I never took steps towards making it happen. The truth was, I didn’t think people wouldn’t come. Or get it. But really, what I was afraid of was to fail. Still, the universe provides when you desire something. My Dad got access to a building, a friend said they would make flyers and I still almost made another excuse. Then I remember the time in the hospital and snapped out of it. I remember not knowing and everything turning out fine. So, I decided what the hell and threw a Power Watch Party. It was a complete fail. Like how do you have a Power watch party with no Power?
The watch party was a complete mess. Not because no one showed up outside of my family. It was a failure because I failed to plan. I failed to be proactive and my indecisiveness showed in the end results. As much as I want to say, that saying is some bullshit, it’s not. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences. While doing the podcast, I discovered that I have the ability to learn how to do anything. And quickly learned, that doesn’t mean that I should be doing everything. It taught me how to work without applause and recognition. How to be willing to adjust my vision and expectations in order to grow into who I wished to become. I learned how to seek help and to never take things personally (well, I’m still working on that part).
These failures have shown me, that you can’t be a jack of all trades, at least not in the beginning. It is ok to want to be multi-hyphenate, but it doesn’t mean that it all must happen right now. There is nothing wrong with slowing things down to strategize and prioritize. My partner had to remind me, that the fact that I was willing to do the event. The fact that I showed up, planned and executed, is more than what most people can say. Most peopl have dreams, of how they want to live their life, but very few take the steps to make those dreams a reality. Taking the first step is major. Failure is just a matter of the mind. On Queen Sugar, Charlie said a line that summed it up perfectly:
“If you fail but learn a few lessons on the way. You’ve won.”
Doing something that you know that you’re good at, is not brave. It’s safety, it’s comfort and nothing is wrong with that! There is beauty in the known. But there is an adventure in unknown. How would you ever know if you’re good at something if you never even attempted to do it? How would you ever know if you could meet your goal, if you don’t even try to meet it? I’ve been telling you, that I’m a writer and that I’m working on this great novel. But my actions have proved that I’m trying to be everything but a writer. My words and actions are not in alignment. I deserved to fail.
Social media got to me. I can be honest and admit that now. I saw people starting businesses and throwing events and thought, hey, I should be doing that too. I told myself, that all this extra stuff was to build my “platform”, but I was really afraid that this amazing novel, wasn’t amazing at all. I was afraid to become the writer, Iclaimed to want to be! I was afraid that people wouldn’t get me and I would be too “out there”. I was scared that I wouldn’t find an agent because I wasn’t popping on social media. But the truth is, I was thinking about the finish line and everything in between, instead of focusing on the most important thing: Writing that muthafucka!
Publishing has been around well before social media; and it will be around if this thing suddenly self-imploded. What these failures taught me is, that I must decide on who/what I want to do. Or fail trying to be something I’m not. I had to define who I am and then work to become the best at it. People may be more popping than me on social media, but I can guarantee, no one is working harder than me. I'm taking the time to hone my craft. Now when I feel that tickle of panic, I think about Drake's Daddy on that one song:
“Real shit is going to last. All that other shit, will be here today and gone tomorrow.”
Issa became Issa because she can write. HOV became HOV because he can rap his ass off. Beyoncé was born Beyoncé. The people that I admire, became great at one thing. and then everything else fell in line. Clichés maybe clichés but they are rooted in truth. So, I’ll leave you with this one: If you want success, start failing!