Poetry can be inspiring, motivating, heart-wrenching, powerful, but it always inflicts emotion. It can pull at my heartstrings or just make me laugh. Writing poetry is a hobby for me and have decided to keep a notebook in my backpack just for this purpose. While sitting at the car wash a couple of weeks ago (why does it take them so long?) I penned this one I call The Big Fat Fail.
Enjoy and let me know what emotions you feel when reading it by commenting below. Feel free to share your stories of taking your “sucking lemons” failing moments and how you turned them into “sweet lemonade”!
The Big Fat Fail
Fail forward, they say! And I can’t disagree, but it’s hard to focus while nursing skinned knees.
Bumps, bruises, scrapes, the inevitable aches, the road rash of crashing, but that’s what it takes.
To live is to fail, that’s the lesson I’ve learned through age and experience, or just getting burned.
20/20 vision for me has ALWAYS revealed, every fail that I’ve suffered has earned me more steel.
Failure = Opportunity! To this I confess, I love who I am now, having passed or “failed” each test.
Be sad in the moment, scream, cry or kick, but look for the good, and lickety-split,
you’ll find your opportunity, practice! Give it a whirl! The Big Fat Fail can turn (I promise) into your pearl.
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A Story of My Best Friend’s DepressionThe Back Story
Have you ever had one of those days? Or maybe one of those weeks, or months, or a year? How about multiple years? Well, this is a story of my most precious friend in the entire world who was in his second year of things not going well at all and me being in such a dilemma watching him suffer that I just had to figure out some way to help. My best friend is my husband and he was drowning.The back story all started when his mom passed away in March of 2014. No, I think it actually began around December of 2013 so let’s begin there. Our family-owned business was doing great! While we are a very small company, we had always seen an increase every year or at least stayed level, even during the recession. We had been in business for ten years and decided it was time to expand our space. We spent quite a bit of money with upgrades and of course the new rent amount, double the utility bills…you get the picture. Not two months later everything stopped. Quite literally stopped. I swear that our clients were abducted by aliens and left the planet for at least six months. Business was that bad. That’s enough to cause anyone stress, right?Enter mom falling again and going into the hospital. She was in ICU for awhile, began to get better, was moved to the rehab facility that we didn’t like much and during this whole transition, my hubby contracted bronchitis. Not only is bronchitis a knock-down, drag-out illness, but it rendered him unable to visit his mom for fear of getting her sick in her current condition. While he was on the mend with crazy antibiotics and rest, mom took a turn for the worst while still in rehab by catching a deadly form of pneumonia that put her back in ICU to what would become a fight for her life that she was unable to win.Not only was business bad and he was sick, but his mom had passed away which is always a heart-wrenching thing. He was close to his mom, taking her out to dinner on Wednesday nights and us having family dinner with her and the rest of the family every Sunday. While after 5 weeks of her being in the hospital it wasn’t completely unexpected, it changed everything.A couple months of sadness pass and we enter the summer months. Business still isn’t going as well as we would like and while his mom and dad had a trust (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) so that things run more smoothly, you still have to take care of things…lots of things. Bank accounts, the house, furniture, knick-knacks, jewelry, the dog, and enough Christmas decorations to light up the White House…you get the idea. That’s when the shingles hit. More antibiotics, more rest.Then come your first set of holidays without your mom with whom you’ve spent every Christmas with the exception of maybe one or two from the time you were born. No one feels like celebrating, much less decorating, even if you have White House worthy decorations. That can just be tough. Really tough…more depression.
January rolls around and he feels a little ambitious. The business picks up just a tad and he starts riding his bike again, but this time he isn’t recovering very well. Gym workouts? Same thing. Sore for too many days than you should be sore. He hates going to the doctor so he toughs it out for a few months to around the one-year anniversary of his mom passing and takes a little fall on his bike. Nothing major, just a little “owie” on his elbow that starts to get better until about two weeks after when the scab gets bumped off and it gets infected. So infected that his one arm looks like Popeye (no joke!) and of course we were out of town so you end up at an unfamiliar urgent care. Dual shots of antibiotics in both butt cheeks (writhing on the bed kind of pain for those shots!) and oral antibiotics just for kicks….let’s just knock this out along with any good flora you might have had left in your intestines up until now.That was the last straw. He felt so miserable, so depressed, couldn’t work out, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I imagine that this is the definition of a permanent funk that just won’t go away. It was awful to watch. It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried to “pump him up” as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say…it just wasn’t enough. I felt completely helpless as to how to help.
As a last ditch effort, we tried what I call a “voodoo doctor”. Tons of blood tests run, loads of supplements taken (and when I say loads…I mean LOADS), more blood tests in certain intervals. No dice. My man was shot so full of holes you could strain spaghetti through him. His body had been hurt multiple times, his heart hurt over the loss of his mother, he couldn’t work out because it was debilitating which left his self-esteem in the toilet, and work wasn’t altogether going well either. Sleep was the order of the day and the more of it the better. I had to do something!The Physical Plan
I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, have taken classes through Dr. John McDougall and received a certificate in plant-based nutrition through eCornell University. I started researching everything I could about healing your immune system while my husband started reading books on the subject. While there is a ton of information out there and only varied opinions on the subject, we made a plan to repair his health.We started a 5-day juice fast following the incredible recipes out there by Joe Cross from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. (He has the best ones out there, hands down…although anything that juices a turnip ends up like smelly gym socks or disgusting body odor, so I don’t recommend anything with turnips in it!). Admittedly, after day 2 we were so sluggish that we decided to add a light, healthy dinner as we just couldn’t function at work without more food in our guts, it was wonderful and it made me feel great! It was the perfect re-boot for our bodies.We then followed up with a 21-day elimination diet that took out known trigger foods. All that means is that while you may not have a specific allergy to a food, you could have some sort of reactions to particular foods. We eliminated gluten products, corn, and soy because while they recommend also nixing dairy, we are already vegan so no worries there!We then followed that up with a 2-week round of Arbonne’s pre-biotic/pro-biotic packets once per day. Needless to say…it worked! While it took several months to re-gain strength and endurance (imagine not working out for 18 months…you’re a bit out of shape), but he’s doing fantastically well physically. He’s not 100% yet as I can still beat him uphill on a mountain bike, but he’s sticking right with me now so I know it’s only a matter of time before he will be kicking my rear end again!The Emotional PlanWhat happened with the emotional part, though? I can hardly wait to tell you! This is by far the most interesting and fun endeavor I’ve undertaken…all in the name of love and hope! I call it Eddy’s 60 Days of Sunshine and it brought my hubby’s soul back from the dead…literally. (You can download it for FREE when you sign up for my weekly emails on my website HERE)I got to thinking that the only way to reverse engineer something is to do the opposite of what got you there in the first place. The negativity had built up over a period of time. It snuck in until it had taken over the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body. While we had fixed the physical part which in turn helped the mental state, the emotional and spiritual still needed a tune-up.Enter a plan that included friends and family. I printed out 2 months worth of calendars for a total of 60 days and made a list of all friends and family members I could think of that cared about my best friend. The list totaled over 80 people. I then started making phone calls, texting, Facebook messaging all of them. I assigned one person each one day and the only guidance I gave them was to just check in, see how he was doing and let him know they cared and loved him and why.At first I decided not to tell him what was happening. Let’s just say that he was so far down what he would later call a “wormhole” that he didn’t even figure it out or get suspicious until day 16! Day 16!! I was at my mom’s and out of town for the weekend when he called me and I had to confess what I was doing. When I told him it was day 16 he was flabbergasted. I had to tell him who had been assigned which day just to convince him.He will admit that at first it seemed a bit saddening to learn it wasn’t the “universe” just reaching out to him in his time of need, but I figured we are instruments in the Lord’s hands and he has a lot to do so he uses us to answer others prayers for help. Even if they don’t realize they need the help.Some sent him texts or emails. Some took him to lunch or dinner. Some called and visited for an hour. It was an awesome experience to watch that much love being shown for one individual. And you know what? It worked! The 60 days ended with a trip up to San Francisco for him to play a golf tournament with his buddies and visit old friends. The perfect ending to a perfect 60 days.
My only dilemma as the days were coming to an end was how to keep the love going. I created a Facebook page dedicated to him and invited all of his friends to post about their experience they had on their assigned day. On day 60, I added my hubby to the group and he was able to read their messages. He will then be able to go back and read them when he’s feeling blue. He is also more connected to some long, lost friendships that had needed some attention.The best side effect getting out of this depression was the reaction from the friends and family I had asked to participate. I did not anticipate the good will felt, the love felt of service being rendered. The gratitude of those people that they were made a part of something bigger that quite literally saved a life.Today I am grateful again for my husband who supports me in all I do, even if it’s off-your-rocker kinda crazy (which lots of my ideas are). I am grateful to all who pitched in to make this project work. I am grateful to my daughter who would help me text and make some calls while we ran errands to set up the next week’s participants. It worked!You can listen to Eddy’s side of this story by going to Apple Podcasts, Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, Episode #011.While I am not a clinical psychologist and you should seek professional help if you are depressed,this worked for us and I am so happy it did.
Ditch the Negative Self-Talk by Listening to Your Best FriendIt took some practice to put this theory into motion for me, but like I always say, “if I can do it, anyone can do it!” I have issues with negative self-talk about my weight. I am not overweight, but I am hyper-conscious about my body shape. I am a grandmother after all and body parts that were once perky are now sadly stretching for the ground and have declared gravity as their best friend. As a friend of mine used to say, (who has since passed on, losing her battle with cancer), “I used to be a 36D, but now I’m just a 36Long”. Once I applied the “best friend advice” theory however, – it helped me start down the path of positive self-talk and ditch the negative Nelly ones. Let’s try it out, shall we?Take the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to your own personal negative self-talk. It could be anything, but usually you are able to think about it right away because it has been your constant companion for as long as you can remember. Now I want you to imagine that you’ve graciously gifted this negative thing or idea to your best friend. She is now you. (This works great if you do this in front of a mirror). Your best friend is now telling you that she hates the shape of her body and that dimples are only cute on baby bums, and that rolls are meant to be eaten not worn. What do you tell her?To put this in context, let me share an experience. I recently did this exercise in a group of about 40 women and I had the leader of the group as my “best friend”. She was telling me how she was overweight and hated the way she fit in her clothes. I then asked the audience what advice should I give her? I panicked as the silence dragged on for just a little bit longer than anticipated. I worried that people would actually start giving advice on weight loss ideas, diets that never really work, to fast, or to exercise like a maniac. One woman in the front row saved me with the perfect answer: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! There have not been a lot of perfect moments in my speaking career, but this one I will always remember. She said the answer that I had written down in my notes and she said it out loud and clear: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! I have given this talk several times since I originally wrote this blog and guess what? The first answer is ALWAYS – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!Ladies, try it out right this second. Take that negative self-talk and hand it over to yourself as your own best friend. What advice would you give that best friend? It changed the way I view myself forever. I am beautiful. And not in some egotistical way, but truly beautiful inside and out. Why? Because that is how my husband sees me, how my children see me, and how my best friend sees me – and now? How I see myself. My best friends would all come and tell me the same thing – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!Want to dive deeper into how negative self-talk relates to over-eating? Jump on over to my friend, Samantha Russell’s blog where she even offers a free downloadable workshop for you!
Bright LinesI have friends from many different faiths. Some of my friends and even strangers have asked me how I can be in what they deem such a “rigid” faith. So many rules…so many restrictions. But I believe that rules bring freedom. Enter in: Bright Lines.The proof is in the pudding…or jail. Yes, jail. Very simply put, there are rules set in place that if you break, you go to jail. In jail all of your freedoms are taken from you. Now someone else is in charge of what used to be your decisions. They decide what you get to eat, to wear, and where you can and cannot go. You no longer have control over your life because you broke the rules.Just recently I was introduced to the concept of Bright Lines. I looked it up on Google and here is what they had to say: “A bright-line rule is a clearly defined rule or standard, composed of objective factors, which leaves little or no room for varying interpretation. The purpose of a bright-line rule is to produce predictable and consistent results in its application.”Let me give you a few examples of Bright Lines in my life so you can see that you have Bright Lines already established in your life as well. I have a Bright Line that I have drawn about never consuming alcohol or doing drugs. I will not eat any animal products or watch R-rated movies. I even have one for never driving over 37 mph in our neighborhood because the cops are always perched somewhere and I don’t want a ticket! These particular Bright Lines keep my body happy and cheerful physically, my brain happy and cheerful mentally, and my bank account happy and cheerful for not getting that speeding ticket!There have been times in my life that even though those Bright Lines were established in what I thought to be in stone, I broke. I’m not talking about coming up and putting my toe right against the line. I’m talking about wiping the line away, jumping completely on the other side, feeling a moment of exhilaration for having broken the rules, and then eventually feeling guilt over my decision and the inevitable consequences.You have every freedom in making your decisions, but you are not in charge of the consequences. Good or bad, you do not have control over the consequences of your decisions.The reason I am introducing this Bright Line concept to you today is that no matter what your past has been and the rules that we have all broken, we can begin today to set up new Bright Lines for ourselves. Maybe it is something as simple as developing a habit to brush your teeth in the evening and not just in the morning. (My dad is a dentist and I’m still working on this one!) Maybe it is to not say something critical to anyone today, especially your loved ones. Maybe it is not to have critical thoughts towards yourself. Maybe it’s a bigger goal that you have in mind.Whatever your goal is, draw a Bright Line and as my friend and mentor, Susan Pierce Thompson says, “Simply Resume”. Don’t beat yourself up over having crossed the line. Just draw another one and resume. I wish you good luck with your Bright Lines! Sending love to you wherever you are in your journey.