On Not Being A Failure

As you my have noticed from my Fruggebeast definition, I am trying to feel like ‘less of a fraudulent failure of a grown up’. Please note that this does not state I am trying to BE less of a failure, just that I am trying to FEEL less like one. This is an important distinction because I must remember at all times that I am not a failure. I’m going to say that again because it’s worth repeating to myself sometimes to make it sink in: I AM NOT A FAILURE.

I am not a failure if I am sitting eating toast from a Little Mermaid plate in my pyjamas at midday.

I am not a failure if my kitchen is an absolute tip.

I am not a failure if I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. And no idea what that sentence even means.

I am not a failure if I fight with my partner, can’t drive, overspent last month, am an awful sleeper, or can be a grumpy mess.

Now I was going to write here ‘I am only a failure if I stop trying to be happy and to make others happy’ but then I realised that’s not even true either. If I have a shitty day and can’t bring myself to pull my way out of sadness or I snap at my loved ones I am a still not a failure. Don’t get me wrong I’m not giving myself licence to do whatever the hell I want and screw the consequences or anyone else’s feelings, I am simply acknowledging that while you can still fail at certain things I guess I don’t think you can be a failure as a human being. Failure is such a complete and final word and doesn’t describe the human experience at all, which is complex, continuous, messy and just as wonderful as it is horrific.

While we’re nerding out over words let’s actually consider the whole phrase: fraudulent failure of a grown up.

Now I know what you’re thinking – ‘you’re the one that wrote that phrase you muppet!’ – but bear with me. I wrote those words because that is how I feel sometimes, yet when I break it down I realise how preposterous it really is. I’ve already mentioned the ‘failure’ part, now let’s look at the ‘fraudulent’ bit by reversing the situation. If I thought a friend of mine really had it together with the perfect life, job and relationships then one day I found out they were in massive debt/depressed/getting divorced/a secret hoarder, would I cast them out into the night screaming “You fraud!”? No. Obviously. I would realise that the ‘perfect’ exterior they appeared to have was a combination of them just holding things together while going about their life, and my projections based on what I felt about my own life. The really funny thing is that we often care so much (often too much) about what people think of us, and yet if we feel like a failure while others think that we are successful or have it together we don’t feel bolstered, it just makes us feel worse!

Finally, let’s talk about being ‘a grown up’. Sometimes I think that I don’t qualify but then I can’t name what those qualifications would be. Deciding on a career? Being over 40? Having children? Eating dinner at a dining table (having a dining table!) instead of on laps in front of the TV?

I think not, and do you know how I know? Because already I: work, am over 30, have a mortgage and a cat, and cook my own dinner each night, and none of those things make me feel any closer to ‘being a grown up’ yet. And when I talk to other friends they all say the same; the ones with high-flying jobs, the ones with wonderful children and partners, the ones with beautiful homes. So I guess maybe being a ‘grown up’ is just realising that life keeps throwing things at you, and you keep dodging them or being hit by them or dealing with them, all the while feeling like an eight year old playing dress up as an adult. In that case – hurrah! – I’m definitely a grown up already.

In conclusion, this post didn’t go where I thought it was going at all but we took a nice little trip. To sum up:

I am not a fraud. Getting on with your life while sometimes feeling rubbish is not lying.
I am not a failure. Life as a human being is not a pass/fail situation.
I AM a grown up! Almost definitely. Well, maybe the jury’s still out on that one…

Thanks for reading,

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