Failure is definitely an option.
Try to say that again without cringing.
Failure is definitely an option.
It’s normal for life to have ups and downs, for some things to be out of your control and for milk to be spilt.
“You learn more from your mistakes.”
So why does it hurt so bad ?
I’m honestly writing this from a place of failure with a capital F. I work with the urban poor and fight for the weak. Of course you’re gonna lose. You’re gonna be gutted out and be cut at your knees. Excuse a small trip down memory lane if you could appease me.
I’ve lived my life thus far in school, used to winning and people playing by the rules. Now, I’m not as sure what the game is anymore.
Grantors will lie to you.
People who agreed on one budget, will cut if by half after months of work.
They will promise solar panels today, and when they see how poor the people in the slums are. They’ll take it back and say sorry and buy you food from a posh restaurant.
We can’t invest in you.
We thought you were an untapped market.
We’re sorry your enumerators were threatened with gun violence. We don’t understand how hard it is for people on the ground with poor people mudslinging each other for leadership. We won’t send local reps. “we’re a pro poor international organization.”
We’ll send money, but won’t empathize with any of the work.
The first major project I headed, tanked. Budget cut, deadlines looming. Data complete, but painted a picture of disaster. The communities we were working with were poorer than the average slum dweller in Metro Manila and all I could think of was that this international grantor was a giant A-grade Bastard.
And to top it all off, our local fund holder, stole money.
Bastard number 2 got fired only months later.
It would be a huge understatement to say that I was very gaddamned stressed about it. but you know what ?
I learned and became a better person.
None of the rosy tinted eyes of development work being angels out on the ground doing God’s work anymore. Nope.
Y’all gonna be smart , deft warrior ass level valkryies who can sniff ulterior motives out and who can weave money out of thin air. Who can speak in tongues to convince persons of your cause, to convince them to be kind and to see their own persons in the eyes of the weak.
To have indomitable spirits, even if your knee deep in debts.
It’s weird, but the past few days I’ve been happy.
I finally know what I want. I finally know how to make myself strong. If you looked back in my new years resolution, I prayed for my manipura chakra to bloom. The seat of the warrior archetype, the yang force that insists and gives birth to material reality. At that time, I’ve had my life dictated to me too often, trying to fulfill others wants and expectations instead of listening to mine.
None of that bullshit anymore.
I actually fucking know what I want. I want to be strong and respected and smart enough for no one to do that to me and the people I represent, not on my watch. I’m still a tiny intern right now, but you better watch out world, because those grantors are not gonna trick me with fine print. Are not gonna one-up me by being from a european country and being educated.
You were not informed with who you were messing with.
And frankly this is like some insane sports match where I’m meeting with an unexpected opponent. And you know what,
Thankyou for that, Bastard.
I actually want to grip harder into my muscles into my will and into my teeth because you have not seen the last of me and I’m going to come out of this better. I’m gonna find a way to make money. I’m gonna get good at this. I’m going to lobby to my last breath the rights of urban poor and thankyou for reminding me that some people are just fake ass piece of shits when they say they’re helping the disadvantaged.
This reminds me one time when I confessed and I got shot down.
I won’t go into the details, maybe you can read the rest of my blog to snoop around about that. But never have I been more motivated in my life to become a better person after that. Because in some twisted fucked up sense I thought, if I was more independent, if I was more financially reliable than a poor thing in an NGO, and an artist to boot —
I could have swept you off your feet.
I could chase after you and woo you over so much more better.
I could do a grand gesture and say HEY.
I can handle myself. I got my life down pat so wonderfully and I want you to be part of it. I just want to spoil you and collaborate with you and none of my worries are your responsibility. I take care of myself. I take care of myself just fine.
I’ve never been so motivated.
I’ve never been more convinced with what I want to learn and have for myself and grow into than after some fucking defeat.
For people who do sports this may be familiar to you, but as someone who is allergic to all things competitive. I’m finally getting it. I’m FINALLY getting it.
You have something to fight for. That’s what a frustrated defeat is.
You didn’t just have expectations, you had STANDARDS. And after coddling yourself and forgiving yourself for being stupid, you pick up the pieces and build back better. Brush it off and remind yourself of your own worth. Except this time, you’ve got a different game plan.
I’m finally getting it. Failure and defeat, can be sweet.