The Resounding Thud | Teen Ink

The Resounding Thud

June 7, 2012
By KristinC PLATINUM, Cupertino, California
KristinC PLATINUM, Cupertino, California
27 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
-F.Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby

"To write it, it took three months; to conceive it three minutes; to collect the data in it all my life."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Atychiphobia. The fear of failure. That is the one fear that plagues nearly everybody at one point in their lives. The unseen enemy that used to conquer me and hold me hostage, away from the possibility of success.

Failure, in retrospect, was a petty thing to fear, to cower away from and hide, as it is neither final nor fatal. But I still did. I fled from a mental whirlpool of wasted efforts and lost trophies and missed opportunities. I couldn’t imagine failure at the time, couldn’t fathom that it brought anything but disappointment. Luckily, my lesson was called to session when a class assignment asked me to set goals for myself, with the hope that I would look back on them with pride. I aimed relatively low, or so I thought: straight A’s, winning the local badminton tournament, and most of all, rock-climbing the most difficult wall at Six Flags.

But alas, I did not reach a single goal. Not even close. It was one abominably awful failure after another, pounding me like hailstones. The last straw was when I slipped off the rock-climbing wall, rear first, slamming into the mat with a resounding thud. I scrambled up again, then sank back to the ground, beet red and exhausted. Down again. Up again. And down again.

The usual crowd flitted about, finding themselves drawn to my humiliation like hummingbirds to nectar, buzzing around with polite interest, watching with a mixture of mortification and amusement. You see, I couldn’t climb that wall (yet). Even as I walked away, I could hear the muted murmurs of sympathetic bystanders, who were shaking their heads with shame and pity. Sometime during that day, I felt the urge to turn back and prove that I had nothing to be ashamed of, that they had no need to look down upon me with sorry eyes. Compelled to own my mistakes and take them to heart, I embraced this failure with my chin held high. The following year, I won a rock-climbing contest, first in my category.

True, success may bring fulfillment, but it is failure that does something that nothing else can. It opens a window of true introspection, presenting my mistakes in that raw, painful way, like a bottle of antiseptic poured over a wound, agonizing and cleansing at the same time.

And no matter how major or minor, failure will come knocking. Again. And again. But this time, I’ll be ready for it, ready to open the door and let it in, to invite failure to sit down and have a chat. Without a doubt, I feel secure in this knowing, this understanding that while failure is inevitable, it is something to commend. For all the embarrassment that failure brings, it is incomparable to the bitter regret of never having tried.

My deep-rooted belief in the potency of failure is unwavering; it is a lesson in disguise, an essential journey, and an opportunity to begin again, to attempt once more and strive with even greater purpose.

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