1/52: Failure

January 4, 2014

It’s a question on one of those ice-breaker type sheets sandwiched between “Who was your first celebrity crush?” and “If you were to start a band, what would you name it?”

What do you fear most of all?

While Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Sadly No Marmots are interesting (or at least mock-worthy) answers, my answer to the above italicized question proves sadly unoriginal.

I fear failure.

Not any failure mind you. I don’t mind getting badly beaten in a game of Words with Friends or even experiencing a humiliating Galaxy Trucker loss at a family gathering. I’m not going to go all Maria von Trapp and sing a song about these failures being my favorite things, but they really don’t scare me.

What I fear most of all is public failure and the humiliation that comes with it. Back when I was in 7th grade, my school decided to take the kids up to the slopes of Ski Bluewood for several days of fun. Since these were school days and we were supposed to be “learning”, we had to take lessons. Reflecting on it, this was a fairly genius move by the teachers. The students were stuck in ski school for most of the day, and they could spend their time hanging out in the lodge or hitting the slopes. However, I guess they deserved such luxuries seeing as how they had to survive the purgatory of the bus ride. A journey rife with the stench of puberty and hormones that oozed from pores giving off highly obnoxious vapors.

While my teachers felt relief, and my peers felt freedom, I was a twisted knot of anxiety. I had never skied before, and knew I was not good off my feet. But there I was, on top of a hill, with ski instructors and classmates looking on. I watched my classmates glide down gracefully, planting poles down and carving out cursive lines along the slope. When my turn came up, I had one goal in mind. Don’t be the worst. It seemed attainably modest. I wasn’t trying to be Alberto Tomba. But as I started to go down, my fear unraveled me. I was too tight, I was trying not to do things wrong instead of trying to do things right. So I fell. Someone may have gasped, maybe it was all in my head, but I could feel the tangible disappointment of my peers. I managed to make it down the slope, my shamefully hanging head giving me an aerodynamic edge. Consequently, I was placed in the “bonehead math” of ski groups.

That is the exact kind of feeling that I have made a habit of avoiding in my life. However, I’ve evolved a bit since junior high. And being a parent now, I want to provide a positive example for my kids. And that means handling fear like a mountain lion. Making eye contact, staring it down, and not running (if you think this post is total garbage, at least you might get saved from a mountain lion someday— so you’re welcome).

So what’s the point of rehashing childhood insecurities and talking about my unoriginal fear? It really comes down to a resolution. Last year was not a good year for blogging. There was much to blog about with the birth of my son, but I didn’t even make it all the way down the slope. This year, I want to do better, and I can’t think of a better motivator than the risk of public humiliation.

My goal for this year is 52 posts. I’m sure some will barely qualify as that in length and quality. We can all hope that this doesn’t come down to 50 haikus in December. But I think some good stuff will come out of the jumble. Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking and ruminating and coming up with disturbing puns.

Now, “public humiliation” may be a bit of a stretch, since judging by the statistics provided by WordPress, only one person has even looked at this blog for the past few weeks (thanks, by the way). And I guess I could just delete this post and only one person would be the wiser.

However, accountability is a very powerful motivator for me. I’ve written 30 lullabies in a month, run over 100 miles in a summer, and written 30 thank you letters in 30 days, all because I didn’t want to fail publicly.

In addition to dancing with my demons, I really do look forward to the rewards of 52 blog posts. Writing is something that is transcendent and transformational for me. I get high on it. And years later, I’ll have a record of what happened, who I was, and where my fear took me in 2014.

A preview of some possible topics to look forward to:

  • Why the song “Royals” by Lorde is the best song EVER
  • My acknowledgement of bad musical taste and my quest to change that
  • How my minivan is fairly manly when compared to the rest of my unmanly choices
  • Why every future parent should consider being a teacher
  • My son’s hair indicates he will be a Korean dictator. What shall I do?
  • Kids and PhDs say the darndest things



7 Responses to “1/52: Failure”

  1. Debbie Says:

    We’ll be looking forward to reading your musings. 3am? Seriously???

    • teachiro Says:

      So were you my one faithful follower? It was actually more like midnight when I posted this, but I think my settings are still on eastern standard time. Thanks for the comment. Knowing people are reading will be the equivalent of having an exercise buddy.

  2. Great goal, Ronn! I look forward to the future posts! Especially the “royals” one. ..

  3. Eileen Kakazu Says:

    Look forward to reading your 52 posts. We always enjoy reading them.
    Really liked your poem. You have a gift and I know it didn’t come from me!!

  4. Guess who’s back, back again!

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