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  • Amanda Stockton

Dive into the Tide

On the issue of failure.


I think that I have failed at every single thing that I have ever attempted.


I mean. When it comes to anything real. I did fine in school. I passed my driving test on the first try (albeit barely). The general societal requirements…I do just fine. Society’s pressure to fit into the box kept me motivated. Because I wanted to be anything but some kind of disappointment. And that was always in the scope of someone else’s eyes. My father wasn’t exactly the forgiving bohemian type. God. Anything but that.


But I have failed in every other way.


Failure by leaving a stream of unfinished projects, dreams, education, and self development dumped in the proverbial trashcan. No. Not trashcan. Because all this shit is just piling up like dead cats in an episode of Hoarders.


The truth is.

I’ve never held anything that felt real.

Aside, perhaps, for a pen or vine of charcoal.


I’ve been working on this book, and all of its world and evolution…for eleven years.

Eleven. Years.

Not an exaggeration.


And that doesn’t really even bother me. The place where this project started was small. It was timid and meek and underdeveloped. Hm. Sounds familiar. Because that was me. So book and I went on this long road together. Where it is now, and yes it is still not perfect, is lightyears from where it was when I’d started it. It has some original elements. But, damn. It grew. It matured. It. Got. Stronger. I needed to become this version of me in order for my book to be this thing that I am now actually pretty proud of.


And I’m trying to feel that too. Trying to see that. Beyond the book.


Here it is.

It is still not done. I mean. It’s drafted. Redrafted. But. Obviously, it still needs work.

Hard truth, I don’t know how to dedicate myself to anything that is me. Because I’ve taken so long to figure out who that even is, what that even means. And every time I find myself on the cusp of that discovery, of making that nosedive…someone moves the pool. And like Yosemite Sam, I land flat on my face.


So, maybe it’s that I’ve spent so long learning not to touch the burner. Can’t get burnt that way, right?


Here’s the thing though. It still burns. I’ve spent so much time trying to make everyone else happy, trying not to step on any toes. Trying to stay unseen, unlooked at, and all that brought me was unhappiness. Burning without fire...just smoldering.


Life. My friends. Is a fucking ride.

Because here I am. I made the decision, at the beginning of the year, that 2019 was going to be transformative. That I would climb that fucking ladder, go to the end of the diving board, and leap.


I did not know what that would look like. And still don’t know what it’ll look like by Christmas. I will say, however, that the things and the people, that have been added to my life, in whatever capacity I’m allowed (hello Ocean’s Crew), have impacted me in all the right ways. People who understand you, who speak your same nonsense, feel words and art and poetry in ways like you do…it is mesmerizing. It is inspiring.


There is this meme (isn’t there always a meme?) about the seed that grows, not knowing the outcome, how it must only look like destruction. (Look it up)


I feel that. The destruction.

Crumbling.

What was my vss for shatter?

“Watch me crumble.”


I don’t talk about the behind the curtains chaos. Not to most people. I have a handful of wonderful humans that I talk to every day. And you’re all so far away. And I love you.


But failure.

Failure is big. It is consuming and it often enough feels endless. And holy hell, is it so often lonely.


This year. My year of me. The things 2019 has brought into my life are a series of highs and lows so damned polar, it would look more like an ECG than a rollercoaster.

Failure is normal. It is natural and to be expected. It hurts. It’s unsettling. It looks a lot like destruction.


Some things, some dreams, some relationships, they have to die. In order to nourish the field for the flowers to grow. Or some poetic bullshit.


More like...Here. I’m sitting at the beach as I write this and I can hear the thunderous tide of the ocean beating against itself. The sea is a place of refuge for me. It’s tranquil and beautiful and freeing. It’s also chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous.

What is the sea other than a bowl of decay? When you stop and look and really think about what dwells in that water. Death. Shit. Garbage.


But also.

Life. Brilliant, beautiful, abundant life. Chance. Opportunity. The unknown. And across it...other lands. Places I've not seen nor could really even imagine. New discoveries. New for me, at least.


The sea has depths so great no light can penetrate. And pressure so immense it could literally crush the life out of you.


The ocean is life. Too often do we look at life like some circle (thanks Mufasa). But it's not really that simple, is it? A circle is one single line. A line is linear. Life is a fucking whirlwind. A swirling mass of shit and beauty happening all together, all at once, feeding off of one another. Round and round and in and out. A crashing tide. Growth and destruction happening simultaneously.


I’m failing at a lot of things right now. I’m falling. And in my head it’s no longer a pool that I’m heading for, but the sea. And maybe I’ll fall right into the open maw of a great white shark and it’ll be the end of me. Maybe I'll drown. But then…also…maybe I’ll hit that water and the tide will carry me home.


Fail. But keep trying.

Fail. Stumble. Make mistakes.

Failure will feed your starving foundations.


Learn to stand back up. Find your feet. Feed the fucking soil.

Life is a swirl of colors and texture. Feel it all. Live.

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