flailing, crumbsandgrace


“He didn’t want to try it because he might mess up.”

My son’s speech therapist started the lowdown on his moody cooperation yesterday, but I already knew exactly what she meant.

It runs in the family.

It’s how his sister wouldn’t attempt to cartwheel, or tie her shoes, or ride a bike, because she couldn’t automatically *DO IT* and she couldn’t stand anyone to see her struggling.

So, since that’s clearly an unwinnable cycle, she just DIDN’T. She didn’t learn those things for a reallllly long time.

Don’t we want that “before” to “after” picture without the unpleasantness it takes to get there? Or even just to know what we are capable of without anyone watching us figure it out?

Me: Hey future me, am I going to be any good at this?

Future me: Nope. Don’t bother.

Me: Good to know. More coffee, then?


I want the success, not the flailing.

I want to credit my natural ability, not a bunch of striving attempts.

I don’t want anyone to see me struggle.

But, well….that’s just that same old cycle.

I’m about to flail in front of others, and it makes me a bit nauseous. I’m starting a fiction-writing course tonight when I have never written anything on a page other than features and narratives.

It’s terrifying – not just the humility of learning something new as a full-fledged grown-up (am I too old for this?), but knowing I will FLAIL in front of others as a full-fledged grown-up (too old for this too, right?).

I don’t know if I will make it to the beaming “after” photo or not. I don’t know if I will bumble around with my cartwheel until I’m flipping through the yard, or curse my shoelaces and wonder if I am just not the kind of person meant to tie a bow. 

But I did tell my daughter this↓ the other day:

EVERY SINGLE PERSON who knows how to tie was taught.

Naturally, I have no idea if she even heard me, but I sure heard myself (self-congratulatory parenting is basically the only congratulatory parenting I know).

There is no tying without the TRYing, for anyone. The bow is worth the flailing.

I am proud to know several of you friends who are pursuing new things. Music, dance, adoption, career changes, fitness – just to name a few. You encourage me that nothing comes without the trying. And trying. And trying. No matter who is looking.

So I’m going to try something new, too.

I’ll wink at you as I flail by.


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