Andie M. Hayes

Author | Artist

Failure Is Not an Option

Yesterday, I experienced my first ever spelling bee! Now, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t she too old for a spelling bee? And to answer you, yes, technically I am. BUT I’ve started back working full time (more on that later) and my job just so happens to host the county spelling bee every year. So yeah, I’m a little excited and I don’t care if you think I’m a nerd for thinking it’s super cool.

I was able to sneak down to the event yesterday and I’ve gotta say I was impressed. And terrified. And anxious. And crazy excited to see all these kids lined up and ready to spell their little hearts out. Maybe I’m overly “enthused” because I never got to go to a spelling bee. Somehow, despite being an English major and a pretty good writer, I never got the spelling bug. I’m a terrible speller. I’ll probably have to run spell check a second time when I’m done writing this because, hello! I bombed virtually every spelling test handed to me. I’m just no good at it. But these kids were. They were spelling in different languages, they were picking up on silent letters, they were sounding out words I’d never even heard before. These kids were legit. And by the end of the round I felt like a proud mama, even for the kids that misspelled their words, because they’ve all got the guts I don’t have to get in front of a crowd and possibly fail in front of them.

Failure is a big thing. It can totally ruin your self-confidence and it can scar you for life. Like the one time I had to sing in front of a group of parents, mom included, and missed a key note. Sure, I was only 8. And yeah, there were other kids singing much louder than I was in the first place, but to this day, 19 years later, I still remember it. My face got hot, beads of sweat formed on my back, my ears turned bright red like they always do whenever I’m embarrassed. I was a little kid, but getting it perfect in that moment meant everything to me. It felt like the worst day ever. And I bet some of the kids from yesterday felt that way too.

But there’s something else to be learned from making a mistake, even when it feels like it’s the end of the world in the moment. IT’S NOT. You go to bed the next night, you wake up the next morning and even though the tinge of defeat might linger for a little while, you made it through it. You survived. You’re alive to try again, to try harder.

I’m slowly learning that that’s what matters most in life. Not giving up. Sometimes I want to. Sometimes it feels like the only thing to do, but there’s always a better choice. Sure, it might take a little more effort, a little more mascara, but the opportunity is there for the taking.

So that brings us back to the new job thing. After a little more than three years out of work to deal with endometriosis, I’m back on the grind. Sometimes it feels weird, surreal even, because for the longest time it seemed like endo had beaten me. There were loads of days where I could barely get out of bed in the morning to brush my teeth, but here I am. Back waking up at 6:30 (7 when I can push it haha!) getting dressed and actually leaving my house every morning again. Yeah, I’m a mess most evenings when I get home and sometimes I even get in the bed before 7, but every morning I wake up and try again. I try. Over and over again and you know what, I’m succeeding.

And lemme tell ya, success feels grand.

-A