Wednesday, September 16, 2009

falling down & getting back up

{little m racing around the livingroom}

i have long held this flawed belief that i should be an expert at things the first time i try them. if i am not really good at something, then i either quit, complain, or feel stupid so i never try it again. (disclaimer: i don't like this personal quality, i'm just admitting that i have it.)

exhibit a: going to a new class at the gym. 

for instance, hip hop. 

for instance, hip hop that has very long and complicated routines. 

and so obviously, since it is my first time attempting the class and its' 28-move-long routine, i suck. and i never return and i feel like an extremely uncoordinated klutz who should be banned from group exercise classes. 

there are plenty of other examples, but let's just stick to one for today.

suffice it to say, it is one of those qualities that you loath in yourself, but it is so ingrained that it is hard to talk yourself out of it once you start to go down that path. daughter.
17 months of experimentation as she has learned to nurse, roll over, eat solids, crawl, pick up her pacifier and put it in he mouth, walk, listen, and so on....has taught me one thing: it's ok to fail the first time. and the fifth. and the 78th. because by the 116th time, you'll get it. and by the 2,345th time, you'll be an expert. 

my daughter doesn't have all of the hang-ups i do about feeling embarrassed, stupid or other people thinking she's not cool. she falls and gets right back up to try again. then she falls and tries a new method.

i know this is not a revolutionary thought, but i wonder when it is that we lose this tenacity, this drive to keep trying something until we master it without fear of rejection or failure. it has taken a one year old to teach me that it is ok if i'm not that great at hip hop.

i went to a kickboxing class a few weeks ago. and i flailed and messed up and missed complete moves and jabbed when i was supposed to uppercut. i sucked. but the whole time i kept telling myself: this is the first time i am taking this class. it took little m months to learn to walk, and now she runs around the house. i'll be a little better next time.

so i went  back again, and to be honest i still wasn't that great. i started to slip into frustration and my old perfectionist self. then i remembered: it's only my second time. i'll be a little better next time.

it's ok to try something new, fail miserably, try again, and yes, try again. otherwise when do we discover anything new? i look at my daughter and she delights in the world- in all of the new and undone and potential. i want to be like that, even if i get some bumps and bruises along the way.


  1. thank you for this reminder. many xs and os to you!!!

  2. I still fall down a lot and soil myself. Mostly on purpose.

    Can't I just blame someone else for the times when it is an accident?

    Why not?

  3. I needed to read this today, on so many levels, for so many reasons. Thank you, Susannah.

  4. as someone who tried a zumba class for the first time this week and felt slightly-if-not-completely uncoordinated. hoorah to doing things again and again and again.

    loving your blog. we need to figure out a time to get together now that i'm in the bay.


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