Monthly Archives: July 2012

Just Another LITM

FACT: This is the first blog post I’ve written in 2 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days.

FACT: My life has been awesome the past few months.

FACT: My life has been CRAZY busy the past few months.

FACT: I have a stack of The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail waiting to be read right now because my brain has had trouble focusing on the small type and/or messy handwriting surrounded by doodled-in margins.

FACT: Last night before I went to bed, I took one off the stack to read as I fell asleep in order to begin tackling the mound.

FACT: This is the second post in a row where the entire purpose revolves around a LITM quote.

FACT: I enjoy these very much and share them with the hopes that you will, too. 🙂

This is what I mean about success, and my confusion as to what the term really means. Does it mean being good at the things you do? Or loving the people who love you? Being kind to those in need? Enjoying the esteem of your peers? The adulation of strangers? But how can any of these things be called success if you, the person in question, can’t experience them as success? If, instead, you sit around thinking that none of it matters and instead cling to your shortcomings and failures? 

“Success” is a thing we are so pressured to achieve in our careers, and even moreso, I feel the pressure to define that by money or stability or title, which is not where I look for in terms of defining my own success (though it is defined very differently by different people, and I am completely ok with that). Steve Almond, this particular LITM author, poses these questions to the reader later in the mailing:

When’s the last time you felt like a success? When’s the last time you felt like a big fat loser? Did these feelings have any correlation to what was happening in the real world?

Those are going to be my personal food for thought as I reflect the next few days, but I want to close with his final conclusion of things, which I found to be particularly reassuring at a time when I am doing a lot of soul-searching and thinking about things I’m hoping to chase (or just plain figure out!) in my near (or distant) future.

I don’t know anyone of consequence who isn’t heartbroken every single day, who doesn’t struggle to feel good about themselves, who isn’t petty and guilt-ridden and mean and afraid…You don’t have to pretend you’re not a mess. You just have to do something interesting with your mess.

Almond’s words struck me because it’s true. If you don’t think about where you fit, you don’t do something you love. If you’re not doing something you love, your passion is not invested in anything in the world. And if you have not invested love, energy, and all the strength you can muster into a project, you do not even CREATE (let alone encounter) an opportunity for your heart to be shattered into a million pieces.

It’s just as I’ve always believed but never been able to adequately or eloquently communicate: safety does not equal success…at least not for this gal.