Essence of Failure

Why do I try so hard to fail?

10th grade geometry was a bitch. The teacher, Mrs. Shuman, was great. She was motivating and intelligent and very helpful. But after endless amounts of homework and help after school, I still managed to fail or do very poorly on every single test.

I remember the new year. Things felt fresh. The 1994-1995 school year, was the year I was motivated to bring up my G.P.A. I was feeling so good. When that first Geometry test came back graded, I was mortified that I received a “D.” How could this happen? I put the work into it. Something wasn’t clicking.

I was crazy-motivated after that. I studied HARDER. The 30 theorems we had to memorize, I stayed up all night reciting them until my dreams were possessed by them. The next test, I was anxious. I turned the front page of my test over and scribbled every theorem on the back. From there, I began each problem being able to visually see and reference for a solution. I turned it in, confident.

The test was returned and to this day, I will never forget the red numbers boldly printed on the top of my test.


It took everything inside me not to cry. How could this happen? Why? I was emotionally distraught and the day was essentially ruined. After school, I walked to Mrs. Shuman’s class and we sat in the desks next to each other and I held my paper….”I studied so hardddddddd.”

I will never forget the look upon her face that read “LIAR.” Surely, someone who studied, would not fail. She told me that the key to passing this test was to memorize those theorems. I flipped my first page over, laid them in front of her.

“I did.”

Her eyes widened as she read each line…..eyebrows closed in, deep in thought. She looked at me….”We have a problem. You have these written to the T!”

I struggled the rest of the year. But I believe she knew how hard I was trying. I think she was very forgiving of me. It was the very first memory I have of working so diligently at something and failing so miserably. I passed with a C in that class but even after all these years, I still feel the presence of that same failure.

I never thought that I would be reminded of my failures in Geometry when I leave the man I love.

My relationship with Dream Guy has disintegrated. The measure of heartbreak is so great, that the essence of hope still lingers. I realize this is unrealistic, but emotionally, I feel unready to fully let go. Like geometry, I worked hard. I put into it everything I had and am sickened with failure.

I know the journey ahead of me is long. Heartbreak feels like a void to which I have nothing to fulfill. It will take time. And I know I will endure.

The best of me is yet to come.


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