I’ve been thinking about this word since yesterday — not in terms of what’s beating in my chest, but instead in terms of what’s running through me, what propels me. My will, my life force, my energy, my gumption, my courage, my vitality.
Some days it feels stronger than on other days.
I have not succeeded much more often than I have succeeded. In fact, when I look at my life, it’s rife with supposed failure if we’re weighing wins and losses in a practical sense. I’ve failed at two marriages, never made a record that sold more than 75,000 copies (and most of them haven’t sold half that), never had a top 40 single (or even close), have played to more half-empty rooms than sold out ones, have never been gainfully employed in a way that could be written down as work experience on a resume, I haven’t invested well, I have made a lot of what amounted to questionable business decisions, I struggle to keep up with my friendships, I’m frustrating in a relationship, and I’m a fair to middling mother. Though I am an incredibly fortunate woman, things have not been exactly, let’s say, easy.
Sometimes I feel like Alabama Worley (Patricia Arquette) in True Romance when Virgil (James Gandolfini) beats the life nearly out of her, then he gets up to shoot her and she holds out a corkscrew she’s managed to find on the motel room floor to defend herself with. He smiles at her and says, “You got a lotta heart, kid, you know that?”
I keep getting back up and trying to do better. I keep trying not to die. That’s what most of us do.
We have heart.
I think I started thinking about this because I picked up a book called “The Rise,” by Sarah Lewis. I’m 14 pages in and I can’t wait to read every word. It’s about failure. Specifically, about what we find in failure. Thank you to The Unspoken Podcast (love it) for the tip, by the way.
I want to send these words out to everyone I know who is in danger of losing heart due to the past few weeks of ridiculousness we’ve had to endure. Please don’t. It’s so easy to get discouraged, but think about where you get the juice to get up in the morning and make eggs instead of having cold cereal. Think about how you push yourself to do three more reps during your workout instead of giving yourself a pass and stopping. Think about giving birth if you have to (those of you that have) and how hard that was and how you’d do it all again for that sweet baby. Think about the things you’ve worked your tail off for and how good you felt after you did. Think about where we’d be if those who came before us hadn’t persevered, if they hadn’t kept going and working at whatever seemingly insurmountable task they had before them and saying, “No — I’m not settling for that.”
Think about how you’re a badass at life.
I have failed at so much so many times. But if I’d sold a million copies of my first album I probably wouldn’t have made what I think my best one is. If my first marriage had lasted I wouldn’t be emotionally awake or had the humbling experience of having to check my own stuff. I’m not one of those, “I’m thankful for that bad thing that happened because it made me who I am today…” people. Of course, everything that happens makes us who we are and it doesn’t have to be bad to be character building all of the time. Spare me. I’m for good things shaping us through increasing gratitude! I digress… My point is, we do find ourselves when we have to pick it all up and try again. And we find that we have more heart than we thought we had.
That is a lovely, awesome thing.
Sending so much love today, particularly to my fellow failures, who keep getting back up and trying.
Happy Monday, Y’all.