Trying, trying, trying. And then, what? Nothing.
Try AGAIN. Dust yourself off (like Aaliyah said)
But, seriously. You may be thinking what good is all this trying if nothing happens? Or you may be at the point of giving up. Truth is, at least you tried! Failure is great feedback.
Think of all the successful people you know (a single parent, teacher, business owner, Pastor, stay-at-home mom, fashion designer, vlogger, etc), what kind of person would she be if she gave up at hard? Or, better yet, no?
Failure, is not only a part of success, it teaches us how to be successful. We should welcome failure as a friend – evidence that success is near. But, don’t let that fear of failure stop you from even trying at all.
Truth is, I fail more often than I’d like to admit. Even if it looks like I’m doing it all well. I’m not, half of the time I have my eyes closed. And the success I receive I credit to the One on high.
Trying Ain’t Easy
But, trying, is a feat in and of itself.
A couple of weeks ago, I workshopped my very first nonfiction piece in my Master’s of Fine Arts program (woot woot). My cohort of grad students is a small group of liked-minded people, extremely talented and passionate. Their work has a lot of heart, intentionality, and amusement. So, I jumped right out there and volunteered to workshop a piece first (you only live once, right?) It was a piece about black hair (which I write about often) and I was unsure of how it would be received by a group of my complete opposites. I figured I should over explain in my essay about the processes, texture, and products of natural hair because, well, they needed it. It wasn’t that my piece wasn’t received well (by most) it just rubbed people the wrong way. I was accused of being “too formal” (which I’ve never heard before about my writing or personality). And one kind spirit thought my words weren’t graduate school appropriate. She didn’t like the slang (informal!) of the words creamy crack and big chop. And said that my words should be better because I hold a degree in English and am a graduate student.
Now, going into the program, my nerves were high and doubt was set in. But it never crossed my mind that ANYONE would question the validity of degree, I mean I worked hard for it and am actually using it still today. I bent over backward to get into that program (which is elitist), meeting the same requirements everyone else had. So, I was immediately offended by her comments, but there was a part of wondering if she may have a point. But I couldn’t sit there and let think she was right, without giving her any pushback to challenge her assumptions. And before I could say a word, my professor stopped my almost rebuttal for one of her own. She explained how I am the agent of my writing (the captain, the Queen) and it’s up to me who I chose to write to. She used the word “blacksplain” before it ever left my lips. If I had a dollar for every time I had to do that in this program, I’d be able to pay back all my student loan debt.
Trying Again Is Easier
That small capsulated moment changed my entire mind about my graduate degree, the goal of my writing, and where I want to be after I’ve completed it. I felt a need to be that black voice (though, I am only one person) because I am the only black voice they are probably in contact with. And I know my writing is not only good but worthy of acceptance into an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in non-fiction, and a teaching license in English, too. So, I must be doing something right. My trying again was with a poem I wrote about my name titled What’s In A Name? After Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Except, of course, I talked about black culture, black names, and black ownership. Blackity, black, black, black.
I realized it wasn’t my fault she chose not research those terms which led to her disliking my piece. But it was my fault if I chose not to try again. And it was a whole lot easier that time. Sometimes you just gotta own it, no matter how many times it takes. Try and try again.
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