The beauty of failure

Hey all,

There is a thing I have been thinking about a lot recently and the clue is in the title so this should not be a surprise but it’s the idea of failure. Failure can resemble certain people, significant events, targets, anything. Whatever it resembles to you, failure should not be feared. It is as inevitable as the next breathe you take (and now become hyper aware of). I feel that as a whole, the majority of people I know, fear failure for the fact that they perceive the outlook others will have on them and because of the deskilling factor it plays. But when you look deeper, I don’t remember constant success growing development and resilience. It is within the failure that we learnt the lessons that form our values and our identity. The ethical guidelines that we internally adhere to become the cornerstones of your identity, both professional and personally. And it is within these failures, do you realise what we desire the most. The things that we are willing to let life kick the crap out of us for day after day. Success is great, but failure is damn right beautiful.

This made me think about the failure as an event. If it is as inevitable as I think it is, then it is actually the event more than the emotion. Why? Because everyone will experience failure in their life, that will happen. If you haven’t yet, brace yourself. Someone may fail to meet you, you will fail a job interview, your jeans will rip. These are all examples of failure. But those are all not individualised and you cannot change the presence of these failures when they come. But what is different is the emotion that it provoke. The emotion that you choose to react with is what we do have control over. The thinking between the failure is also your responsibility. So what I am saying is that if you know you cannot change the event (failure), then it’s the thoughts and behaviours that we associate with that are our responsible and so our the consequence that follow those behaviours. If you fail and then you self destruct then you are responsible for the aftermath. The red button will only activate when you push it. I think what I ask myself all the time is what is I never pushed the red button again? What would happen to me? I think it’s time to re-evaluate my own rule book.

Despite this spontaneous re-evaluation, I still choose not to be afraid of failure. I like the growth that parallels failure’s presence in my life. I do one thing that scares me everyday and sometimes hope that I fail. I learn the rules better than way. I learn where I can push the boundaries and where I stand with people. Apologises are not hard to come be with me around and I would much rather ask for forgiveness than permission. To failure is to ultimately succeed. You cut your hair often to make it grow, and the more your fail is the more you learn. I don’t learn through my successes. That’s a reinforcement of what I already know what things I am good at. Why do we as humans think that we must be perfect? That we will get it right without practice? Is everyday we walk this earth another practice day? And when you fail, who’s standards are you failing by? If the answer is not your own, stop whatever you are doing and look in the mirror. You should always and only set your own bar. You do not owe anyone anything.

Screw the others I say. Fail gloriously and as often as you can. The beauty of failure will forever outweigh the dizzying unsteadying heights of success. Your platform will be more stable with deeper roots and a familiar face. Someone said to me once, “don’t judge someone by the successes under their belt, but their reactions to the failures they experience”. I finally get it, I finally see the honesty in that. Failure hurts in the moment you experience it. I don’t love those moments. But what I do love if the thought I have directly after it. The “I am never wanting to experience that again” and the “what can I learn from that?” That’s where the success happens. That’s where my identity is taking shape from. Bruises are only so deep but values run to the core. Failure makes me build myself from the inside out.

Today, I failed, I failed little and often. But I learnt things by doing it. I learnt that I do really value my space. My me time is my favourite time. I realise I give myself to a lot of people, and I don’t want to change that. Maybe I just realise that that requires me to take more time hiding away. A lesson can only be learnt when thought about and reflected upon. So here I am, thinking about it.

Time for sleep,

Ivy xx

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Hail to the victor

Evening all,

What a week this has been. The highs were Sam Smith – he was incredible, great company, great music, and I saw an overwhelming support for the LGBT community. It blew my mind to see a proud gay man receive love from a sea of faceless fans. Then I went to some work related events and then, the best part…. coming home.

I love coming home. I love getting into my bed, having both sides to myself, having the duvets to hog, having my lights and candles on, having time to let it all go and be me. It’s when the makeup is removed, the door is closed, and the world is shut out, is when I feel most authentically myself. It’s not that the world doesn’t get to see me, it does, it’s just it’s these times that I don’t have to share me, I get time all to myself. No demands, no emotional knife fights, no hawks circling ahead. It’s just my feelings, my own emptiness. I like emptiness, it is ever eager to tub-thump it’s way into me. Despite the universal connotation that emptiness is solely negative in experience, I feel the positive and the quiet it brings to my life. The empty is to be vacant or unoccupied, to be without a load or cargo. Is that not a majestic feeling? How can that be a bad thing? This feeling is Christmas for the women with a million and one thoughts a second. For the women that needs to know “what it all means”. For the women that gives all to everything I do. To be empty, to be null and void is what I strive for every day. It means I did well, it’s my “job well done” feeling. The you did good kid. It’s the moment I put my sword down and celebrate victory. I made it home, I made it back to me.

My jewellery says a lot about me. I have two necklaces that I wear every day. One necklace is a mountain range in a circle. I wear this because I lost and, more importantly, what I found. I found myself on that fateful mountain. The mountain cleared up my scars and made me realise how beautiful I am and my life is. I will never forgot what I found up there. My other necklace says one word:

Querencia (n):

Pronunciation: kɛˈrɛnsɪə

A place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; place where you are your most authentic self

I got this from an amazing company that I have followed and wanted a piece of their collection for years – Speechlust. They put the word ikigai on a necklace, they put several words – meaningful words onto necklaces. Anyways I spent a considerable amount of time (months) on this choice because I wanted to make sure I had the right word. Why I love this querencia so much is not just between of the definition. That is simply beautiful in itself but is the deeper meaning behind the word. It’s a Spanish metaphysical concept. The origin of this word comes from the verb “querer” which means “to desire”. But what is really interesting is that in Spanish this word means “to haunt somebody” however when in English, it means “to be safe”. This discordance is something that I resonate with on such a deep level. I use to be haunted by my experiences, my mistakes, my own self destructive behavior that have left some fathomless scars. I haunted myself for far too long and to be honest, I didn’t care to find a home. I didn’t care about what I put myself though. I floated through life without a care for a consequence and although I didn’t do any permanent damage to myself – I will never forgot the hurt I caused, the mistakes I made and the people I have lost along the way. Then I woke up on a mountain, broken, alone, scared and fearful that my life as I knew it was over. Slowly but surely, I started again. When I was learning to walk again without my brace, I learnt how to be human again. I began to feel the reality of life. I let go of my hurts and patiently healed my open wounds. In terms of querencia, I felt like I was learning to speak English, I learnt who I was, who I wasn’t, who I wanted to be, and how to be that person. I learnt to be safe to myself. I found my home. Crap, I actually wanted a home. So when I get home now and I feel empty, when I make it home, I celebrate because this is for me. This is for all of the things that I found when I stopped being my own ghost. When I stopped saying it’s not okay to be the authentic Ivy, don’t be that person. When I stopped all that, I found my home, my safe place, I found me. The strength this place gives me makes me wish I found it years ago, question why I ever let it go but glad to be back.

So celebrate your victories, find what makes your feel most strong, your home and be you.

Ivy xx

Smoking it

Good morning all,

The coach has just left the station and away I go. London is calling again, she missed me and wanted to catch up (and apparently a phone call won’t suffice).

What will the capital bring to me this time? What tickles my fancy? The cobbled street of Covent Gardens where raw talent is found in abundance and the sun always seems to shine? The culinary demises of Borough Market where I always wonder why my food never turns out this good? The eclectic delight of Camden Market where the price are always good and we hold out for all things beautiful and loud? Or do the squares draw my love for people watching out of the closet again? Where I can grab a cup a coffee and my notebook and watch life being lived around me? God I love London. Never bored, never too tired of seeing all she has to offer me. In exchange I promised to visit more regularly. So here I am fulfilled my promise. I found my cosiest jumper and jeans, my hat is at hand, notebook, too few a books (only brought three!), tickets to see Sam Smith, and a need to reboot.

Recently things have been messy this end. I started to see my “areas of improvement” take over and I’ve been, well, stopped in my tracks. I just sat and seen the effects of the chisel. I briefly let the chips occur, I let the world take its pieces, I stopped fighting. I didn’t feel like me at all. I have never just rolled over and played dead. I don’t do being dead well. Doesn’t mean I do living well either but that’s a development point from these last few weeks. It’s finally time to hit refresh with intention this time. Be the change Ivy, be the change you are living so copiously to see.

In light of this, think I am going to back to my roots today. It’s time to feel my second skin again, rebuild the protective shield. What better way to take time out then lose myself in a sea of people and didn’t even need to pack my invisibility cloak. Coffee and Leicester Square seem to be pulling at me trouser leg. I want to watch how others are doing it, gather some tips, amend some rules in my own head. Remove some old thoughts that I will not be needing anymore.

Lesson truly learnt,

Ivy xx

Silence is golden

Good midnight all,

It’s half past one in the morning and the world is sleeping. It may not be evident by my quality of writing but I am indeed awake. So awake that I cooked (warmed) some poptarts up and have been sitting in bed thinking about my life. Why does my brain feel it appropriate to switch up the gears now? Was it the coffee? Was it the over played repeats of past interactions? Is it the worried of what is yet to come? Maybe it’s the poptarts? It’s chocolate by the way.

They say silence is golden, but why does it feel so deafening tonight? Why do my thoughts play me for the fool today? This is not okay, I keep telling myself to stop thinking but I can’t. As I type to possibly incoherent post, a part of me realises that I don’t think I want to stop thinking. I have taken comfort in my own thoughts for years. I have retreated to be place, my rabbit hole for years and years. My relationships have previously taken me away but they always end and I retreat to hibernate. I hibernate until I am ready for the world to see me again. Until I feel strong and brave enough to be seen again. Tonight I reached out to the world, already knowing it wasn’t vibing with me, only to be matched with my expectation, to get a wall of silence. I felt the coldness of the moon and all of the lights went off. I have left myself outside alone but I’m holding the keys. I see the warmth of my bed, the duvet and my pillows and my fart lights sparkling at me. Oh it’s such an inviting scene. But I am still standing in the doorway waiting for something. What am I waiting for?

1:48 on the clock now and my thoughts are so fast and furious. I hear the gentle busy of a distance world outside of my walls. The rare light passing my window. I wonder what is keeping you up sir or madam? Are you driving to see a loved one? Are you going home from work to an empty home with a unsympathetic cat who wants feeding? Are you wide awake like me driving to figure it all out? Do you stop and see my light and wonder the same about me? Well let me be the mythoclast and tell you that I am just a wandering soul looking for a cup of coffee and an ear to bend. I am looking for myself in amongst the visible. If you saw you, you wouldn’t miss me but I’m not easy to spot. It’s like the hardest game of Where’s Waldo you will ever play. That’s simply my anecdata of my own situation but I ironically feel it is spot on. But anyways, I’m up. I’m awake, I’m verbally wandering the street, driving stolen cars and causing havoc on my own virtual city. I am doing all this without leaving the bed, and wow it’s a miracle – you really can be in two places at once. It’s like my thoughts have been my feet and I have walked for miles and suddenly realised how far I am from home. I didn’t think to stop, turn around, do a lap. In this moment, Forrester Gump popped into my head. You know when he has been running and running and then he just stops. That’s me, right now. I have stopped. I have stopped running and I have turned around to face the followers, the world, the miles travelled. I am looking but just don’t see it yet. I need to stop looking so hard, so deeply, so frantically. I need to merely observe, to stand and observe what I have achieved and not what I have still to travel. Changing direction hurts but it’s then changes you. I want to be the change I seek. I want to see the beauty in myself every damn day, not just the really great days.

So, I am buying a bike in the morning (or this week), and I am going to change the transportation. I never liked running anyways. I want to ride a pretty bike with a basket and a bell and a leather seat. I want to see the distance back in a new light, at a new speed, at a different pace. I’m crapping my pants but I am heading home. The bed is calling and I want to dream. I want to be my dreams one day. I want to say “holy crap, this is my life” and really mean it. Really feel it. This transformation isn’t going to be beautifully done. It’s going to be bunny hopped and gasping. It’s going to be the “will she, won’t she?” story! Let’s find a daisy and pluck out each petals one at a time and place our bets and who will win, just like when we were children. Will she? Will she not. Will she? While she not?

Guess what, I will,

Ivy xx

The dangerous game

Morning all,

Isn’t it funny that the environment around your life has change in a matter of days? That everything you thought you saw around you plays a game of spot the difference upon your return. Or that even your autopilot mode forced a change of cards. Either way, when you next look up, it’s the end of the line and the conductor is shouting “all change please”.

One thing I have learnt over the years and it recently hit me when I said it to a friend was that I know the true meaning behind “be careful what you wish for”. I have learnt the value of these words separately and as the string. I don’t know about you guys out there, but when I wish, I ask the stars for what I want most in that moment. I have never wished to win the lottery, for world peace, or for things like shoes. I’m not that way inclined. This may not be a shock anymore, but I have always wished for love. Even writing this now sounds pathetic but I think I have to let this all go. I have had some incredible people try and love me over the years. I have had different version of love stories that all could have been beautiful variances of something that could have resembled the happy ending. And at those times, I think I attracted what I was ready for, the first love, the ideal woman, the lover’s leap, and the best friend turned lover. I had all of the main themes covered by love stories. I’ll describe them one by one to help you understand their characters and that chapter:

  • The first love – first relationship with a woman and together for 4 years. We were that couple that met and everyone knew we would get engaged and when people asked “how did we know that we didn’t want anyone else” we said we just knew. In my head, we were the couple that didn’t “need to date around” and we would make it. God I was so wrong, and a month after we got engaged, we ended and tried to be friend years later but well we just don’t work as friends.
  • The ideal woman – one of the more recent woman in my life, a work colleague. When I thought about my ideal partner, this woman ticked all the boxes. Clever, reflective, similar job, independent, beautiful, honesty every box was ticked. We were getting to know each other and well, all I can say is that weeks of hurt and uncertainty later, we ended. I pushed too hard for her to give me more far to soon, much sooner then she was ready for and she broke my trust. Safe to say we ended before we began and now it’s feels like we never existed.
  • The lovers leap – this is my aka ultimate love story, the one I wanted all along. From a young age, my favourite love stories were those where the couple married soon after meeting, days, weeks or months later and then loved happily ever after. I had this. 3 months in and I was engaged and buying a house. The story was beautiful to me. However, a beautiful story has to have the right characters. When it came down to the wire, I knew it wasn’t right. I left everything and walked away.
  • The best friend turned lover – the one I didn’t see coming but has stayed around for years. The one where our kids would be picture perfect and inevitably the road to an us was future focused but rocky. The permanence of a future was something I didn’t doubt and her love was my backbone. I will never doubt what she felt for me, and no doubt still feels. But we ended and the road to us currently seems to have been more of a cul-de-sac. We go around and around the house but never get anywhere. Safe to say, she spoke and I have finally listened.

So why am I explaining this. Well I think I have lost these individuals along the way, these stories will forever remain chapters in my book that have ended. So I was thinking about it. At one point in my life, I wished for all of these loves. I wished for these stories to play out. Was I watering the plastic plants thinking they would grow? I have had the love I wished for and I lost it. Whatever you have, you only lose what you cling to. But what if what you cling to, wasn’t never yours? What if I wasn’t meant to have any of them, what if I was just a chapter in their books?

So the wishing game needs to come with a health warning. The dangers are occurred by just playing. If you put your desires into a box and say that is what you want, you limit yourself. You are the only limit to your life. You set the pace of your life and I know what it means now by you have time. I have time to find out what character the next person will play, or if any of the above will make a comeback, who they will play. I just don’t wish for them anymore. I will take my time on me. Someone once wrote “working on myself, by myself, for myself” and I don’t know who it said it. However, may be that is because it is the determined voice of every person who wants to find themselves and their place in their own story. I go back to the conductor who is saying “all change please”, well shouldn’t that be me in my life? It won’t get any better than this. This is the “one time” performance and the world’s eyes are all waiting for me to take center stage. They will take you on my own estimate of my worth and on the performance you give. I will be the one winking back when looking directly into the eyes of the biggest storm. Maybe, for now, I am just looking for my lines. Maybe I just want to find myself and be her. I know I want love. I don’t want to be single forever but if that’s the cards I am dealt, I will play my ace.

I would like to apologise to all those people named above for the role I played in our demise. I was one half of the problem. Thank you for trying to run with me when your legs were tired. I hope life is good for all of you, and if not, I hope it gets better. If any of you ever come back, the kettle is on. There will be no more scripts for you to have to memorise, no more obstacles. If not, then I respect your decisions. This isn’t an invite for you all, and I won’t be sending this as a letter and making contact. It’s just an invite to say that if you still feel our chapter isn’t done, the ink is still wet, then pick your moment, say hello. I don’t have the script to say this is a happy ending but everything starts with a hello. To the next character to want an appearance, tread with caution and actually, hold off for a while. I’m not an easy person. My own mother calls me hard work but I’ll bring a love you have never seen before, shall we get there. Give me time to warm up to an idea of unscripted life, I’m currently licking my wounds in my rabbit hole but I’ll be back. That all sounds like a contradiction but I guess what I am trying to say is that, I am open to whatever life has to throw at me. I am letting go on my own narratives and letting things just play out now. I’m lost for words and I have to rely on myself.

Letting it go,

Ivy xx

Suddenly

Meander

Captivating

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal

Morning all,

I woke up late this morning, then snoozed, then finally got up. I feel sluggish and weighted today. Then I had a very typical Ivy thought – “there is always tomorrow”. The second I said this, I changed my tune. My next thought was “get your crap done.” My life isn’t a redo later on, this isn’t the dress rehearsal. This is it. This is all I get. This is it, cover to cover and I don’t want it to full of “there is tomorrow” and “another times”. There is too much of that already. I wear those decisions like my clothes, public and available to be judged.

I want my confidence to be legendary, even if at times premature. I don’t want to be painfully cautious, hanging around to see if it all works out or if I’ll get hurt. I want to believe in my own bravado so that it becomes natural to me. I want to be confident in my vulnerabilities, if that is even possible. Being your little world’s greatest cheerleader is exhausting and I don’t want the title some days but I’m grateful that I am on my team roster. Pass me the shovel and I’ll dig a little deeper. I’ll see what under the surface, I already know I can be a beautiful thing. So screw this run thorough, screw the “come-to-the-light” moment, this is it for me. I intend to turn today around, I intend to make a day that I’d write home about. There is no in the meantime, where life stops for you and you can sort your crap out. You are there living in it and sorting it all out. Do you want to spend a lifetime sorting or living? Hands up for living,

There are my Pom Poms,

Ivy xx

Typical

Branch

Fact

Pillow talk

Hello world,

Today, well everyday, but especially today, I questioned voices, and why a particular voice can be so powerful even when unattached to a face or body. There is something about voices, that makes everything feel real to me. Even my own thoughts said aloud reaffirm their sense of reality, they become life and permanent. I cannot control them anymore, take they back. They demands my attention, my time, my emotions then. I never forgot things people say, the words that they have chosen to use. People think that words just come out but they don’t. You developed a vocabulary and you chose to use certain words to explain certain feelings and portrays certain ideas. Those are active choices made regularly. If you feel pressure to speak, well you are the one holding the gun. You may feel the pressure of a gun but stop holding your breathe. Your words are the only weapon you need to build or break someone. The last thing to ever fade for me were your words, your voice and not the gun you think you were holding.

But really, what’s in a voice, besides a collaboration of different frequencies with pitch changes. It’s crazy that those cords make something sound so beautiful to me. Is it the chime? The way you say my name? The emotion I feel? A combination with added bonuses? I lay at night and hear the spoken memoirs whispered between the sheets, our sheets, and I hurt. I sometimes cry. How we have fallen? I drive myself crazy that the monsters under my bed sleep more soundly than me. They rest peaceful whilst I think of things that would full the contents of their nightmares. Why those words, why these moments, why those connotations? Do you think back to your words and think “if only” or do you join my monsters and enjoy the pillow talk? Do you take the opportunity to peculate my own self worth? Do you phub my existence with your own preoccupation of your needs like you do with your phone in the middle of a serious conversation? Did you actively chose that path or did your voice habitually let that out? My voice has weight too and it’s getting stronger. I am getting stronger. I use to be beggar without feeling choice. I use to let my voice fade out like background noise.

Now, these days, it demands to be heard by myself. I hear it louder and it feels stronger than yours, or his, or those that I don’t even register. It tutti to me right now. It’s the flashlight in my darkness and my growing roots in a plant pot. The tears are drying, the monsters are becoming acquainted with my ways, soon they will be friends and their voices will be my shrink. I’ll like their range and pitch more than yours and your words won’t have the sting anymore. I will be my own intervention and you’ll think it won’t be fair but you’ll have to learn that this life isn’t for you. It’s for me, my struggles and my successes. You will see that you are just a needle and I’m the haystack. When will I start seeing this? I am the haystack. I am the substance without anyone else there. But just a note for you – don’t forget that as I outgrow the outline you have chalked up. I’m not done just yet. What’s in a voice anyways, think I may be tone deaf.

Let’s turn the volume up,

Ivy xx