This Should Be Good: I Was Told to Write an Essay on Failure
By Chris Tabor
I called the Airport too late. I waited until three days before the first paper was due. I had a bad feeling that they wouldn’t return my calls in time. In our next class I told my instructor that I had failed. She decided failure was a good topic for an essay. I think I agree.
I cannot start any essay without outlining what I want to say. I opened my writing journal to brainstorm. The first page caught my attention. The very first idea I wrote about in this journal was my thought on failure. Read closely. See if I learn anything.
Every time you fail, you think you can beat it next time. You know you can.
You have failed before. You have a part of your past that you shouldn’t have done, which you can’t take back. You cannot take it back. That is the reason you are haunted by failure. It will never be forgotten. A friend will forgive you. Another will not. Your family may understand. They may forget. You never will.
You do not have regrets. You do not wish to change any of the choices you have made because you know this wish is useless. You cannot change anything.
Today you are happy; but suddenly, beyond any will of your own, you remember your failures. Why? You are not unhappy. Failure is not a catastrophe. It happened yesterday. Why does it bother you today?
That does not change the fact that you cannot forget about it. You have to find a purpose for your failure. If you are going to fail, give it meaning. Learn something from it. Do not make the same mistake twice. The incapacity to forget your failure is the souvenir that will help defeat it. You will know when to use it. The moment will scream at you. You hear it loud and clear. There is no doubt that you will make the right decision this time.
You begin to doubt.
Don’t listen. Ignore it. Complete your failure. This time it will not hurt. You are only human. You fail.
Why didn’t you pay attention? Your memory served its purpose. Another failure has joined the company of countless others. You can never take it back. You better beat it next time. Human or not, beat it next time.
You fail again. What’s the point? As much as I try not to, I’m still going to fail again. You decide to start new.
Don’t think about it. The more you remember your failure the harder you will try not to fail again. The harder you try not to fail, the more likely you are bound to do so. The cycle plays through your head. Do you believe it? Think whatever you can convince yourself of.
Only after a while does it start to sink in: you are starting to get this right. You forgive yourself. Remember how long it has been since you have failed? A comforting voice whispers to you. Smile. You have done very well. Drop your guard. You have turned off your memory: a cruel prank. Don’t think twice about it.
Suddenly, you have bitten into the forbidden fruit. Realize that you are not clothed. What have you done? Comfort leaves you and the memories flood your head. Remember it all. You are alone. Never forget that.
Start new. You figure out a way to beat it. You hold out for a little while but eventually it beats you.
Please, ask if you have done anything wrong. All you have ever done is try to do the right thing. Ask what the right thing is. You know what the answer will be. Try to listen. You have arrived at today with the confidence that the things you knew were so. You have made choices accordingly. Now remember. There was a choice you have never had to make. Force yourself to pay attention to that choice. The choice you avoided. You left it to the flawed in exchange for honesty. It was clear then. Have you done the right thing? Now you get to think about it. Could you have chosen it, if you tried? Could you have changed things? Do you have regrets?
The flaw you ignored became strength never gained. It is now knowledge not learned. Did you do right? Don’t answer yourself.
Now you are meant to notice what you are without. You know that what happened could not have happened differently. You will die trying. None of that matters. You will still always aspire towards the right thing.
You try again, you fail. You try again, you fail. You try again, you fail again. You realize there is nothing you can do. You can’t win. You will never beat it. You are trapped. You can’t accomplish anything - on your own.
You were not left behind.
© Chris Tabor