Failing at Failing Forward by Succeeding Anyway?

Another blogger, with a much bigger following than mine, has a contact me notice that you can request she review your blog. She’s a professional editor for her day job.

This should be right up my alley. However, she very clearly specifies that bloggers should prepare for constructive criticism if they request a review. I perceived a bit of a challenge in those words: don’t ask if you don’t want to know. I chickened out on hitting submit.

Somewhere over the past six months, this blog appears to have morphed subtly in its original intent. I am still pursuing failure therapy, but at some point, this blog became more the record of my daring elsewhere than a direct means of pursuing negative feedback. It has become more a place to process and move on from failures in real life than a way to solicit new ones. If you challenge yourself (stumble and deal?) enough without prompting, why add even more?

I took an improv class. (I’ll take another one eventually, but they never did fit me in off the waiting list. It’ll be January before I have new stories. I still go to the Slam open mic nights, though. Don’t want to get rusty!) I wrote a poem and shared it.  I told people – albeit anonymously – that trauma f*ing sucks and makes it hard to envision a normal future and that I go into tailspin whenever I get negative feedback. I semi-shared that I sometimes must fight not to shut down when I can’t make the world safe for specific someones who can’t speak for themselves. (I have not always been as overt about the last one, but the hints are there if you read between the lines.)

Because I am taking more intentional and unintentional risks than expected in my real life, I haven’t felt the need to invite critique into this blog. I’ve kept it a haven to learn to share instead of isolate (as is my norm) after existing failures, and to self-soothe before trying again.

I still occasionally push the envelope on my writing, just to prove I can. I have realized, though, that I prefer seeking any rejection letters to be had outside of this blog and then telling you all about them. I would rather offer up one blog post for potential sacrifice on a separate media website than the whole blog itself. I won’t say I’m my own harshest critic; that would be a lie. The harshest things I say to myself were all said by someone else first. (Did I mention trauma f*ing sucks?) However, I will say I’m my own harshest critic right now. (My boss is a contender, but he’s not the title holder.) Blame the ADHD nervous system, blame trauma, or blame the fact that I’m just me, but every failure triggers the same hard-wired RSD response it always has when a failure matters to me personally. I still haven’t banished the bully-in-my-brain.

I know what I’d say if I were critiquing my blog. I’ve said a lot of it here anyway. I’m too wordy. My tone can whiplash from a “bare your soul” mental health blog to a political blog to a humor blog. Those attempts at humor are a bit cliché, and sometimes I veer far from the original thread before the post is finished. I still make typos (go on, check, I do.) I regularly miss some subtleties of the blogosphere (like that if I respond to a daily challenge I should change the default picture that came with the post to one that makes sense with what I wrote.)

My cardinal sin is probably that I started with a clear conceit for my blog, but I have drifted from it over time. I’m thankful you all didn’t really do what I asked you to do, which is tell me how unprofessional my writing is. I do need to know how to improve my corporate polish, but I can’t improve if I’m too ashamed to present at all. Exposure therapy alone does not seem to work for RSD, but perhaps in combination with interpersonal therapy does! The kind words of others have helped when I feel like I have recently experienced more failures in real life, thanks to the accelerated learning curve of chronic illness and another spin on the trauma wheel of fortune.

I was never good at journaling for mental health. I have ADHD – emphasis on the H. I’m a Chatty Cathy, even though I’m unequivocally an Introvert. I leave a trail of half-assed hobbies behind me. Journaling went the way of knitting and “writing letters you don’t send,” among many others: good self-care in theory, but in practice too internal to drown out the thousand other thoughts swirling in my brain. There’s something about having an audience, even if it’s a small one, that regularly check in on me that keeps me accountable and that keeps blogging from being as tedious as journaling. There’s something about an audience that is nicer to me than I am to myself that buoys my confidence to bounce back from failures in real life, too. I don’t naturally reach out for support, because I don’t expect it to be there. It’s a lovely surprise when it is there unintentionally.

A big thank you to all my regular readers for holding my hand through my (soon to be, this coming week-ish) first six months of blogging. Happy American Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. Hugs to any who view visits with family with trepidation, or as something to be avoided entirely. 

I hope you’ll keep tuning in in the future for more of my exploits in corporate world ridiculousness. I’ll keep asking you all to support me in the most important step in failure therapy: learning to be gentle with myself after any ridicule stemming from it. We’re going to my Partner’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving, so I’ll be back to blogging the week after next.

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7 thoughts on “Failing at Failing Forward by Succeeding Anyway?

  1. I like your idea of keeping your blog a safe space where you slowly grow, instead of inviting critique on it like in a book review. We all need to work out what’s in our heads in our own way, in our time. Besides, blogs are a bit like children – they grow as they do; you can try to mold them, nurture them, shape them, but eventually they find their own purpose and shoot off in directions you had never dreamed of when starting them. And I think that’s OK. For whatever it’s worth, I enjoy reading your blogs. 🙂 In fact, I enjoy it enough to nominate you for the Unique Blogger award. I hope that you will participate, and if you do, I would love to see your responses (more info on my blog page)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think writing is so so good for recovery, whether it be a private journal or public blog. The latter takes much more courage though, so when you reach your six-month mark, be sure to give yourself lots of love and praise. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you didn’t go through with being critiqued. I don’t think blogs should be up for critiques. It is your story, what you want to share, when and how and whatever direction. It would be more of a critique of your life and you don’t need anyone’s opinion of that. You are moving forward and sharing your life journey with us and that is such a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you should write whatever is in your heart to write. You shouldn’t worry at all about editing…your followers are following you because they care about what you have to say…not about how you say it. We love you just the way you are!

    Liked by 1 person

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