There. I’ve said it. I’ve said the words I’ve been afraid to say for weeks, months now. This is what I feared. This emotion that I do not know how to process. This emotion that I do not know how to rise from. This emotion that I can’t make go away. This emotion that consumes me from the moment I wake up. The one that keeps me from sleeping at night.
We all make plans. Long term plans. I made a five-years’ plan. I was going to graduate university, get a job at an advertising agency and work my way up to one day be the Creative Director. Get my own apartment. Call my mom when I missed her food. Have this life that was so perfect and filled with flaws that were sprinkled all over it like tiny little snowflakes. I was moving forward and there came a point when I could see everything I ever wanted right there in front of me. All I had to do was grab it with both hands and never let go and I almost did. But then..
..The Universe happened.
I can be naive and childish about a lot of things but the very big decisions, I put a lot of thought into and I insist about sleeping on it because I believe you always see things more clearly after a good night’s rest. So that’s what I did. After a lot of thought, I made the decision to drop out, not because it was the right thing to do for myself but because it was the right thing to do for my family. I told myself it was a temporary situation. What I’d forgotten was that my five-years’ plan didn’t have enough wiggle room for that break. Because when I made that plan, I told myself it was all or nothing. I aimed for All. Life gave me Nothing.
In two months, it’ll be two years since my life stood still. When everything around me came to a screeching halt.
I’ve written five versions of this post. Nothing sums up what I’m feeling. I have no words to explain this thin line I’m standing on. This feeling where the smallest of pushes will turn me into a crying mess. I have lived all my life with insecurities that I locked deep inside me and some time over these past few months, they’ve been set free. I avoid conversations. I ignore successful people. I refuse to acknowledge happiness. Not because I’m jealous or negative. But because I long for that. Because it was so close and now it feels like a faraway dream that I might never have. I am the Titanic right after it hit the iceberg. Filled with chaos. Falling apart.
The most success I’ve had today is that I swallowed my tears. I didn’t let myself cry like I wanted to. And that’s not ok. Not by a long shot. This cannot be my life. I have made so many mistakes but the biggest one so far was the moment I let myself sink.
When talking to my father about a potential groom, I always said – “He has to be the kind of person that started his life from scratch. He can have the smallest apartment and we could be saving not more than $10 a month and I will still be proud of him because everything he has came from his hard work. I will remind him everyday that he’s worth it. Because he is all that matters.”
This was the mistake. I had so much encouragement and pride towards someone I’ve never met and yet, I didn’t have it for myself. I didn’t tell myself it’s ok to fall. I didn’t take pride in having the strength to live through that. I didn’t encourage myself enough to want to rise from this and make a life for myself. I didn’t value my life enough to do something about it. I just let myself go.
When I started this post, it was going to end right here. But as I pour these thoughts out, I’m starting to see things with clarity.
And now when I look back, I feel like I’ve paved the way to my own depression and I’m afraid that if I don’t do something about it, this will be the rest of my life.
So this is where I will start. Today, right this moment I take an oath to myself that I’m going to turn this around. I’m going to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’m going to find a Plan B and leave enough wiggle room for a Plan C. My cousin is getting married in March. When that wedding comes, I will not hide behind a fake smile. I will not avoid conversations. I will not find excuses to not go. Because right now…
I feel like a failure. But it’s not who I am and I won’t let it be.
70 thoughts on “I Feel Like A Failure”
Everyone goes through this, not just you girl. After five years of toil, I am still on a job hunt! It is going to be an year now and I can’t even think of a pg at the moment. Not because I can’t but because it would ne another year of prep and three years studies which wouldn’t do good to my marriage. But I am sure this phase will go soon and I will rise too. So don’t be hardon yourself. Things will fall in place and besides you are truly gifted and would make an excellent creative director!
Thank you for the kind words 🙂
I don’t know where to begin. Unfortunately, in this place, even if I’ve proved how incredible I am at something, they need a degree because “the rules say so”.. But I gotta start somewhere. I just need to figure out where. Good luck on the job hunt. 😀
Thank you and wish you the same too!
I started reading this post i felt bad for you, sorrow. But at the end i felt great that you realized what you have to do.
That is something i felt a few months ago. Nothing was going properly, i felt really depressed and shitty. I am still trying to get it together but i know i can never go back to way things were but reach a place when i have changed and changed for the better.
I read somewhere that the best way to get through a bad phase is just one day at a time, not lose patience.
Things fall into place eventually but not lose hope.
Looking forward to the next following post!
I think that needs to be the goal. To believe that the change is for the better. At this point, I’m struggling to accept that anything can be better than what I had originally planned but I’m going to do what you said. Take life one day at a time and find in me the patience I seem to always lack.
Thank you 🙂
It’s always a sad realisation when you see that you’re plans didn’t come to reality, but that wasn’t your only shot, I promise. Sometimes it’s the things we didn’t plan to be doing that we love most and the ‘mistakes’ we make that lead us to where we are happiest. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you did the best you could with what you’ve had. Be honest with yourself about your reasons and realistic with your goals and things will work out.
Come to think of it, I had forgotten all about writing until everything crashed. It was something I used to love and just eventually lost touch with. Today, I have so many people that don’t know me giving me so much support through a blog that wouldn’t have existed if my plans had worked out. And now I can’t imagine living in a world where I’m not a writer. I’d never thought of it from that perspective. Thank you 🙂
Exactly what I mean. Life may kick us in the nuts sometimes, nut as we drop to our knees we find something cool on the ground. And thats as profound as I get at this time of the morning lol
That is actually a really cool way to put it. 😀 Good morning 🙂
It is definitely a morning. Is it good?
I kinda slept through my morning. I didn’t wake up till twenty past noon. So I’m presuming it was good? 😀
I overslept by half an hour, spilt coffee down myself, burnt my tomgue and my ibs is playing up. It’s fucking fantastic.
I am going to use that J.K. Rowling quote! So glad you found it. I had a Psych teacher who told us making a decision is a good thing whether it is the right decision or not, at least you made a decision. So you made the decision to drop out. Something was learned from that decision. You grew somehow. Hang that Rowling quote on a wall.
I found that on Pinterest. It was like finding words that were written just so you could read them at this point in life. I am going to get it printed and framed soon. It gives me a positive vibe every time I read it. I like what your Psych teacher said about decisions. Making a decision in itself is a very difficult task at times. Thank you for the positivity 🙂
I will make a post in reply to this one. I hope that is okay because the comment I have to make is too long. Just so you know, I’ve been there and I hope the post I will write will give you encouragement that you need as a new year comes. 🙂
That would be amazing. Please do give me a link to it once you’re done? 🙂 Thank you 🙂
Here is the link as promised: https://driagoolinde.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/re-i-feel-like-a-failure/
It’s no secret that our plans have a tendency to not work-out exactly the way that we wanted, but often a door only closes so that another one, a better one, can open up for us. I was the same as you, made my long-term 7 year plan and felt that I was set for life, but my heart isn’t in it, and now I can’t get out of it because of contracts that I signed when I was 18 (I’m 21 now) . Don’t despair because you feel as though you’ve failed, be happy and excited rather to find a new path; I believe that God has a plan for all of us, if we let Him work for us, 🙂
Now that I’m writing after what feels like forever, I think maybe that’s something that could have happened. Maybe I’d have picked up advertising and changed my mind with no easy way out. I’ve come to realize that the more miserable I feel, the more in God I tend to believe and I really hope he has a plan because I’m struggling to make one. Thank you 🙂
Reblogged this on Mary The Little Writer..
I wish I didn’t have to say this… but…I have gone and still am going though those types of times!
I want to be a writer… but I have trouble spelling, (thank god for ado spelling!)
But you’ll get through don’t lose faith! 😉
I’m reminded of the statement – Every problem has a solution. 🙂 Thank you 🙂
I think everyone has, or will, feel like this at one point or another. Embrace it, as you are, and realise that there’s time for plan b through z…
The scary thing for me is even when you do begin to realise your dreams and plans fall into place – as they very luckily are for me at the moment – there’s always that nervousness at the back of my mind that it could all fall apart at any moment. It’s about the journey, not the destination and we’re all in this together! Great post-keep it up and your goals may find you quicker than you think!
I always always have that fear. When something’s too perfect, I tend to look for the wicked witch. It’s like every happy story has one lurking right around the corner. I am very destination-oriented. I could relate to the quote “The end justifies the means” by Machiavelli. And that might be a very wrong approach.
When I’m looking back, I realized there were so many things that I could have focused on enjoying at that moment but didn’t do so because I was too focused on the future. Funny enough, had I enjoyed those things, they might have actually helped me get to the destination.
Thank you 🙂
So very glad you have decided to take a stand and make yourself better. I just wish I could finally set a goal like that for myself.
It’s a struggle still. I feel very strong for a moment and then the next morning I’m back to where I was. I have to keep motivating myself everyday and it’s taking a lot of energy. But fingers crossed, I’m going to make it out of this mess.
Thank you 🙂
it’s only human to feel like this sometimes but you have the power to overcome it. attitude is the thing. perhaps you’d be interested to me read my post, “we are born the fail…”
I will read it asap. Thank you 🙂
Everyone feels the weight of their world crushing them at least once in their lives. Sometimes it lasts long, sometimes we can pull ourselves out. I’ve been there. I graduated school and still felt unhappy. I travel now. I take each day as it comes, and stop wishing and wanting, because when your ready, life will be too. Check out my blog for some inspiration, hopefully I can help . carelessfolks.com
When I wrote this post, I thought it was the least relatable post I’d ever written and I’m surprised to see I’m not alone. I hope I can pull myself out. I will read your blog asap. Thank you 🙂
You just need to find something that inspires you, and it will feel the void that your feeling. Believe me. Fall in love with the World girl! and if you like reading, I recently fell inlove with a book called The Buddha Walks into a Bar, its not overly religious or anything, its just a reminder to not be a victim of our own emotions 🙂 Good Luck and keep sharing, this community is a wonderful thing.
I love reading. I will try to get my hands on it.. Falling in love with the world sounds like a plan that might work.. 😀
You are not the only one who goes through this. I got through those thoughts to. I was forced to get out of college just to work. My mom told me I had to stop going to school because of our home situation. I want to encourage you with something. While being out of school, I am working two jobs focusing on my career by being a Motivational Speaker. I’ve already met well-known poets who I admire now. All this to say, it’s okay to be out of school for a while. You never know this might be time to focus on your dream. School probably was taking longer any way. You can sitll be successful to achieve your dreams while being out of school. I know plenty of people who did it. Look up famous entrepreneurs. I’m glad you made that decision with your self. Keep moving foward. chase after you dreams and don’t let anyone stop you. Stop over to my blog sometime. http://thepoeticchild.wordpress.com
I am always so very happy to read your comments because you always say such positive things to me. I’m struggling to find work that’s related to what I want to do and I’m afraid to settle for something that’s completely unrelated. I feel like it’s not just the out of school thing. It’s more the fact that out of school has put a huge wall between me and my dreams and I don’t know how to work my way around it. I can’t figure out a new plan. I don’t know what I want anymore. I will have to find my way around it. I will go see it asap. Thank you for the positivity 😀
I pretty much made this same mistake it a different way last week and I know how you feel. I’ll post the link to the page if you ever feel like you want to relate. Your post helped me so I’m always looking to do that same.
I will go see it asap. Thank you 🙂
I hope you’ve found the sort of therapy that helps to mitigate this kind of pain, be it group or individual. And your quote from J.K. Rowling is spot on. I know it’s tough to be objective about oneself, but think of it this way: maybe you’re not falling apart as much as you are shedding some major illusions you’ve had about yourself and your life. The hard truth is not easy to see and a heavy burden, but it’s vital to confront as you try to decide what kind of life you really want for yourself. Good luc!
I love the last thing you said. That is something I need to focus on. The kind of life that I really want for myself is probably the first thing I need to figure out. It sounds so simple but it is indeed one of the most important and difficult decisions I have to make to move forward. Thank you 🙂
It was so nice to read as you thought your situation through and found some resolve to improve it with positive thinking.
I sympathise with you, very much so. It was only a few weeks ago that I admitted out loud why I am so often stressed or unhappy – “I feel like a failure.” Or at least, I feel like I haven’t reached my potential and it’s taking far too long.
Then I realised that my entire sense of self and success is built on values and goals instilled in me at school, over a decade ago. But it’s not just about your salary, your position or your profile – it’s about your achievements and the satisfaction you derive from them.
Now I’m considering a career change and am seeking opportunities to impact the people around me more directly and positively, rather than making “success” all about me. The podcast I record with my partner at http://greensnowball.wordpress.com/ is a start towards more ethical, more satisfying living for both of us.
Thank you for sharing.
That’s one of the fears. That this path I might choose to take from here might not be as fulfilling or as satisfying as what the other one could have been. And I know it’s never the right thing to live with what if’s and could have been’s but it’s just always there in the back of my mind. I will check out the podcast right away. Thank you 🙂
I am going to go at this from another perspective, you are not a failure you are giving the love, admiration, and your independence to others at this time. When you are ready to reclaim it do it in steps start with interdependence and work your way back to independence. This is a normal process that happens to every human at sometime in their lives. I can look for the statistics if you want since I have spent almost 2 decades supporting children and adults that suffer from mental illness or mood disorders that control them.
I am a consultant to these families however I am willing to lend my expertise and unbiased perspective for free. If you want to reach out I will listen it’s always confidential. Take one hour at a time, deep breaths and only be as hard on yourself as you would want others to be on you.
When it comes to social situations pinpoint 1 person, begin your interaction even if it’s just taking steps to get within a few feet away. Try to make eye contact a few times and you never know what happens from there. You could even use a friend or relative to start the interaction to get your feet wet and you can speak and share as much or as little as you want.
Remember to celebrate each step you take even if you are doing a dance in your head that only you get the honor to be a part of. You can do what you can picture just make take small steps because a bunch of small steps turn into many situations and before you know it you are counting situations and not steps.
That is really good advise for social situations. I’m constantly nervous about family gatherings. I actually took your advise at a recent party and it ended up being really easy. Thank you so much for that..
Perhaps this is one of the many reasons that I feel a little too lonely at times – I suck at communicating my emotions. Given the choice, I would just close up and put on a fake smile. Small, baby steps. That’s what I keep telling myself. The frustration can get the better of me but I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day – as cliched a statement as that is.
I will definitely keep the things you’ve said in mind. Thank you so much for the help 🙂
I am thrilled that my advice helped you. If you keep at it, it will become second nature. Yes, you are right Rome was not built in a day but lets hope it doesn’t take you as long as it did take. Practice does make perfect.
If you are out and you feel your anxiety creeping up get one person to be your wing man or woman that way you always have a person with you. Hopefully you will pick a person who won’t let you sit and hide in a corner but someone who makes you get your butt out there an maybe your tail on the dance floor.
“I’m going to find a Plan B and leave enough wiggle room for a Plan C.” I think this is the heart of you moving forward and positively. Like you and everyone else who responded to your post, I have also felt as you do now. I want to share one of my favorite quotes with you… “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that Oaks grow strong in contrary winds, & diamonds are made under pressure.” I am sure you will be as great as you want to be but only if you remind yourself that things change and you have to roll with the punches..and remember that nothing worth having is ever easy. 😃✌️
Plan B is overrated. Anybody I’ve ever known, including myself, who had a Plan A and a Plan B failed at Plan A because they started thinking of Plan B when things got a little tough. Somewhere along the line, your unconscious told you that the Plan A you had was not right for you. Things could be worse, you could be stuck in Plan B. I know this, because I was stuck there on and off for 20 years.
You are looking for a new Plan A. And when you find it, and you see the possibilities arising from it open up in front of you, you will pursue it with the same vigour as the first one, if not more so, which means you will more than likely succeed. Think of your first Plan A (and your so-called failure to achieve it) as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. I saw a quote from a Kevin Bacon interview, where he said that his key to success was only having a Plan A.
I hope that makes sense and is helpful. I really enjoy reading your posts, even if they make me feel a little sad. We’ve all been there, and might still end up there, yet I doubt many could express it so beautifully. Deep down you know you are on the right track – this is visible in your clarity.
@mkmacinnes – The biggest problem I currently face is that I never had a plan B. It’s why I feel so defeated. I never thought something could go wrong. I had THE PLAN of my life..
But that being said, I see what you mean. In a way, thinking of the new plan I make as plan B, it will forever end up feeling like an alternative to a life that I couldn’t have. It wouldn’t motivate me enough to achieve. I like the idea of another plan A. I am starting to slowly form one but it’s definitely a work in progress. It’s going to take me some time to figure that out. *fingers crossed it works*
Thank you so much 🙂
I love that quote ! My current favorite quote is.. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
And I love that you said that nothing worth having is ever easy. It truly isn’t.. Thank you for the kind words 🙂
I love the phrase “I’m going to find a Plan B and leave enough wiggle room for a Plan C.” As someone who has been dealing with depression (on and off) for more than 20 years (since the sudden death of my mother) this post was a superb reminder that life goes on (and so can I).
I hate to be the cheesy one that quotes this.. But – Yes We Can 🙂
Thank you so much 🙂
No comment I leave could really tell you anything you haven’t already heard from others or thought about yourself. Just know that sharing your innermost feelings, while it is healing to you, has been refreshing and healing to me as well. Thank you.
Thank you so very much 🙂
Nothing to really add, but to add that you voice what so many feel.
I never realized this was such a common feeling until I started reading the comments.
Thank you for reading 🙂
Before I make my comments, I have to say that you’re an excellent writer. You write so well that it gives the reader the feelings of sitting across the table listening to you talk. I’ve been blogging for many years, but I don’t remember the last time I had 56 replies like you’ve had on this post. This says a lot about your writing ability. I am jealous 😉
I skimmed through all the replies, but don’t think I saw anyone asking why you dropped out of school. Why did you? Why is a college degree such a big deal in your life? Is it possible that you’re caught between the two worlds of Eastern shame based and Western guilt based cultures? Is possible that you’re expected to feel/act one way with your Indians parents at home and another when you’re outside the house (away from Indian mindset and environment)? If my questions resonate with you, then, coming from your background, and having experienced the shame of not living up to a standard that my Eastern culture had set for me, maybe I can help you. Otherwise, please know that you are a great writer.
Just some thoughts and questions.
For starters, I just want to say – Thank you so much. As for your questions – There was a lot of little reasons why I dropped out of college but the big one was that I did not see the point in spending money we did not have. It just didn’t feel right. For the first few months after I dropped out, I was rather numb and I wondered if maybe I didn’t miss it the way I should have. Like you said, the society I grew up in expected me to miss going to university and I just didn’t feel anything. I also didn’t feel happy. It was a pretty robotic life. And in some ways, when I think about it, I feel like I would have been just fine if I had been anywhere but here. I interned at a national newspaper. They loved my writing, offered me a job and then retracted the offer when they realized I didn’t have a degree. Every opportunity around me that I might even be too good for is not offered to me as long as I don’t have a degree and that is one of the reasons why it has come to be so important.
On another level, I enjoyed studying. I loved Mass Communication. It was perfect for me. I miss that. I miss going to classes. I miss learning something new everyday. I cannot believe I’m saying this but I miss cramming all night for exams.
Lastly, I am definitely ashamed. This is a society that says “He has two degrees !” and when they look for a partner, they compare how many degrees each person has. In a world where no matter how talented you are, if you don’t have a certificate from a reputed university that proves you can pass an exam you’re not considered “successful”, I feel ashamed and disappointed because I had the opportunity to make a better life for myself and I made a selfless choice that I don’t want to regret but am starting to.
I don’t know if all that made a lot of sense or answered your questions.
Thank you 🙂
It made a lot of sense. Over forty years ago, having faced the same shame you’re feeling due to failure at school, I came very close to committing suicide. You see, guilt is the outcome of what you do and shame is who you are. I so deeply understand what you mean when you say, in that community, you’re always compared to someone with more degrees, money, success, power, or better looks and you ALWAYS come short. A shame-based society sets a standard that no one is able to ever reach it, so we all feel as failures. For whatever it’s worth, you are NOT a failure. If anything it is your society/culture’s mindset that has failed you.
Thank you 🙂
Luckily, I know a lot of people that are supportive, understanding and less demanding. People who have gone through the same kind of problems and the same social pressure and have broken free from it as well. So for now, I’m grateful for that and I’m just going to hold on to them until I can get my feet back on the ground.
Thank you so much 🙂
I’m glad that you know you’re not alone. Good night for now!
Good day 😀
For what it’s worth I love your writing style. You are far more insightful than me, but I think we might agree on a few things. Loved it. Keep it up.
Please know that you are not alone in your feelings. Sending you warm hugs of support. Your post has inspired me to write something on this topic; may I have permission to link back to it?
Thank you so much and of course. Absolutely. 🙂
Hi, I just wanted you to know I finally wrote that post. There is a link back to this post you wrote.
Hi, I just discovered your blog. This post is so honest. Its so brave of you to admit you feel this way. I have been there too. Actually, I get this depressed feeling every year. It always comes back to me. It can last for days. weeks sometimes months. So I understand you.
How is the progress going? How are you feeling right now?
Hi. I was feeling a lot better for a while there but then it all went South yesterday and I was just an emotional mess all evening. It’s a struggle but I’m trying not to give up on myself just yet.Thank you 🙂