This past weekend we hosted a birthday party for our oldest little girl. We took nine little girls to a local school of cosmetology for hair, make-up, and nails. I went to a party like this when I was little and I will never forget how amazing it felt to be treated like I’d seen my mom treated at salons. To have a stylist working on MY hair, and MY nails, it made me feel so special!
A few weeks ago we created fabulous invitations with pictures of make-up and accessories and we ordered a cake from a local cake shop that would mirror the invitations. It was a marble cake with chocolate butter cream frosting. When all of the little girls had received their treatments, we filed into the lunchroom and did cake and gifts. As I was cutting pieces of cake my resolve? Resolve that has lasted me three months? It began to waver.
You see, I’ve been on a weight loss adventure since the beginning of June. Thus far, it’s been a success. With a goal of losing the 40 lbs I’ve gained since meeting my husband, I’ve lost 25. Things are going great. I don’t feel deprived, for the most part, and I feel amazing. Recently I’ve had some hard days. Days in which I think to myself ‘I don’t want to think about weight loss anymore.’ Or ‘I don’t want to work this hard.’ Or ‘I’m tired of weight loss having to be on my mind and part of my daily activity EVERY SINGLE DAY.’ But even though I’ve felt tired of it lately, I haven’t gone off the plan, and I’ve continued to lose little by little.
Yes…well…ahem. That was, until that beautiful custom baked cake looked me in the eye and practically FORCED me to have a piece. And then perhaps another. And then? All bets were off. I mean…I had most certainly already screwed up…so why not REALLY screw up?! We have cookies in our household for the little girls lunches. Typically I have no issue staying away from them. When I can’t eat any I have no problems avoiding them. It’s when I have one that there’s trouble in River City. Well…since I’d already had cake…I wondered what a cookie or two (or 11) could do. The entire weekend was like this. When I woke this morning I had a sugar hangover and my stomach felt like it was going to revolt in an entirely unpleasant way.
I went back to the weight loss plan this morning, and as I drove to work an idea started to take shape in my mind. As in…what is wrong with me?! In my past attempts to go back to school I’ve found that once I veer off track, skip an assignment or miss a class, I tend to do exactly what I did this past weekend. I go really off track. I miss more classes and more assignments. My list of things to do to get back on track and caught-up gets longer and longer. And it becomes almost a test to see how far off I can go and yet still succeed. If I miss all of this homework AND miss all of this class but STILL pass…what a success I’ll be! The need for a good grade falls by the wayside because simply passing, after all of my procrastination, will be a miracle.
Similarly if after this weekend bender, I can go back to my diet today and lose more weight or at least maintain, I will be successful. Then, who cares if I don’t get all the way to my goal, because at least I was still able to lose something in spite of my eating every Oreo, dipped Halloween cookie, and all 53 pieces of cake in my wake.
And what about this blog? I haven’t been writing much lately because I’ve been feeling uninspired. I’ve lost readers. I’ve stopped loving it. But, I’ve reasoned, if I throw out a post from time to time it should be “good enough.” It’s not like I’ve stopped writing, right? I’m still posting from time to time, and tweeting from time to time, so I’m still “writing” and I’m still “blogging.” But I’m not posting anything of consequence. I’m not putting myself out there. I’m not being vulnerable.
Remember that paralyzing fear of failure? Umm…yeah.
So essentially, by screwing up, I’m saving myself from REAL failure. I’m not trying as hard as I can, I’m not doing my best work, so really…failure goes out the window. If I can maintain in the face of procrastination and sugar and Twitter…then I’m a success…right?
Well sure. If I’m okay with mediocrity and never really knowing what success feels like.
TODAY: What if I stop fooling myself? What if I try to give it my all even in just one aspect of my life? Then maybe this crazy fear of failure will give way to what it feels like to ACTUALLY succeed?