You can’t always succeed

I am a failure. Yes, you read that right: I am admitting I am a failure.

Why do we fail? Sometimes, we just didn’t try hard enough. Maybe we didn’t have the experience necessary. Perhaps the conditions were just wrong. Whatever the cause, the end result is the same: failure. But we shouldn’t fear it; failure is common and it is necessary. To fail is to indicate that something wasn’t right — that, for reasons we don’t understand at the time, the conditions for success weren’t there. That isn’t a personal slight, that is simply life. Sometimes we can do everything right and still fail.

My mother once told me that she was the world’s greatest quitter. She rarely held a job for more than a few months before quitting, with the longest she ever held being after college for 3 years. She quit that one for much the same reasons I quit club fed: it drove her to absolute madness. For people like us, working with others is a difficult grind, especially in person. Something about us just makes others dislike us, for reasons unknown. Perhaps appearance; mannerisms; speech; or some other aspect of our character. Whatever the case, it makes jobs difficult. As a result, we quit a lot — and fail a lot.

For 5 years now, I’ve been writing novels. I started when I still worked at club fed, mostly as a mechanism to create that was easier to do than a lot of my other hobbies. It didn’t take a lot of preparation and I could go as slow or as fast as I wanted to. It was a way to make sense of the machinations within my mind, to make those nightmares I always had to be good for something. As things got worse with my job, the harder I wrote. As the rage built up, so did the words. After my grandfather’s death, my mother suggested I try writing full time; I didn’t think it was a good idea, until I had a vivid dream of suicide.

It’s a hell of a thing to die by suicide. In the United States, it’s the 10th leading cause of death. Many factors can drive it: loneliness, poor health, lack of opportunity, community — even jobs. Especially jobs. I can remember my suicide quite well: a stainless revolver, rotating around to my forehead, then the cylinder rotating and the shot going out. Everything goes blank and I felt the bullet trail through my skull. Then I woke up. I decided that it wasn’t worth dealing with the unending discrimination at club fed; it wasn’t worth dreading going to work every day, dealing with the endless stream of nonsense by lazy, fat, government bureaucrats who made sure everyone around them were as miserable as they were. I gave them one last chance: I still had a mediation scheduled with the director the next month, so I told myself that if he could at least not lie to me, then I’d stay.

The director lied to me. “I can’t do anything about them,” he told me, when I asked him about why my two bosses were allowed to discriminate my hearing. That isn’t true — it’s far from true. The proper words were: “I don’t want to do anything about them.” I handed in my resignation that afternoon, simply saying I had a better opportunity elsewhere. I lied, of course; there are no opportunities out there for people like me. There is only worse and slightly less worse.

I sometimes wonder if I actually am alive and that dream was reality. That I’m not really here, writing these words. That this is death and simply an extension of what things might’ve been like. Ever since my mother died, it’s felt as if things are steadily slipping out of my grasp and reality is slowly falling to pieces. Nothing makes sense — and how could it? How is it supposed to be anything but fragmented chaos? It only makes sense as words in a story.

As Terra completes another rotation around Sol for the third time since my mother’s death, I’m just as lost and confused as I ever was. I am a failure, yet I still write these words, hear these thoughts, and draw these breaths. It will never make any sense and perhaps it’s not supposed to. I continue marching down the path of failure, for no other path exists. I am failure, and failure is me.

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