Failing at Life – A Question

October 6th, 2020, Tuesday 6:03am

I wonder if I’m doing this right. This thing called “LIVING”. Am I mastering it? Or am I failing big time? What exactly is the way we measure success in living each day? Is it by the amount of joy we feel daily? The amount of friends we have? Love? Is it how we give to others? Is it how we make someone smile or belly laugh so much it hurts? How do I know?

Honestly, I’m not sure I know. What I do know is there are times when I just feel good. When I’ve accomplished something, it feels like I’m getting this LIVING thing right. Yeah. For example, last week I figured out all that tech software stuff for an acting class I was taking. That felt good, but I wasn’t actually that great at the ACTING part so – I guess that balanced out? I felt like I accomplished something but failed anyways?

Maybe it’s when I know I’ve helped someone? I always feel good when I’ve successfully helped someone. People say giving is a selfless act. It’s not.  When you give, you get. And if you don’t know that, then I’m so sorry, you’ve never truly given to anyone. Clearly, when I’ve helped someone I always feel good.  Last week I walked by a homeless woman – a white woman, who was maybe in her 30’s. She was filthy from sleeping on the street and she seemed kind and sincere.  She asked for money. I told her with such softness that I didn’t have any cash on me. That was true. She thanked me and I went about my business – buying myself a muffin for breakfast after a good long walk and workout. I decided to buy her some breakfast too. I got her a variety of things to choose from – a hot breakfast burrito, a blueberry muffin, a couple of different drinks (whole foods really does have the worst single drink options).  And I paid for everything via mobile app with the cashier – I then remembered I never walk out of the house without my emergency stash of $5 in my cell phone for a bottled water and such if I needed one on my long work outs – the times I would walk by a store or food truck. The times before I knew how to mobile pay anything.  Uhem, I never used the $5, but it’s that old school “safety” thing. I put the money in the bag for her …and when I walked outside. I saw the young lady still sitting sadly on the sidewalk hand to head. I said “excuse me” and handed her the bag. I told her, “I bought you some food, anything you don’t want please share with someone else. Also, I did have a little cash after-all, so I put that in there as well. I hope it helps.”

I thought she was going to cry. She said thank you and didn’t open the bag at all. She just stared at me as if in disbelief. I said bye and walked away.

As I turned the corner, I saw her engulfing the burrito. It was clear she was hungry and had been for a while. I teared. I didn’t want to let her see me, see her so I went down a side street and when I was far enough away, I just stopped and had a hard cry for a minute.  In my mask. In public – though no one was around…what a horrible country we live in where anyone should be hungry. I don’t care why people are hungry and homeless, it just shouldn’t be an issue in this country or anywhere else on this earth, to help someone…but especially in the United States of America. It breaks my heart thinking of it right now.

Uhem. So, I helped someone for a minute but it was then balanced out by the sheer disgust that in my country there’s a young woman, in this much pain and no matter what she’s going through, she should have food and shelter, period.   

If I’m being honest and thorough then – about this thing called life – then “good” moments seem to be counter-balanced by bad moments. I mean, that’s how life works, right? Ebbs and flows. Good and bad. And maybe the real measure of a great life is how you get through all of it?  How you walk to the other side of all things that come your way? What a lot of people like to call the journey?

Yeah, so I keep asking the same question:  how do you measure if you’re doing this life thing right?

Maybe it’d be easier if I can detail how I’m doing this Life thing wrong?  Hmmmm….

My first thought is I haven’t accomplished the very goals I’ve wanted for a long time.  That’s what makes me think I’m not doing it right. I feel like it’s proof I’m doing it wrong. 

But I also feel helpless in the big things too.

As I’m writing this, I just read Governor Gavin Newsom’s tweet that Justice Alito and Thomas are proposing to overturn marriage equality.  And if that new nominated justice is seated, it may happen. What. The. Actual. Fuck? What am I supposed to do about our country going backwards on multiple levels?  Honestly, I think marriage is such a pathetic joke especially with supposed “Christians” who are full of crap. What’s the divorce rate again?  Something definitely over 50%.  But for Gay people it’s not about the marriage part so much, but about being treated equally. Isn’t that what we all want?  To be treated equally?  My good Lord, I’m a Black Latina woman – a friggin’ hetero CIS goddamn woman and I want equality for my fellow human beings! I mean, Obama said it best (as I paraphrase here): “I can’t be free unless you’re free too.” Or was it, “…my freedom depends on you being free too.”  Whatever the exact phrase is, he said it brilliantly!  Ugghhh.

The point is Obama is correct!  Here’s the thing:  how is it possible that any person with even an ounce of intelligence deny love? And it’s so contrary to everything “Christian”. If you believe in God, and you believe even further that God created the earth, then how can you deny any living human being based on sexuality and preference? Even if you cannot wrap your head around the fact that being gay is a natural occurrence in over 1500 species (that’s scientific fact), how could you possibly justify being cruel and evil to another person in general, in the name of Jesus?  It boggles the mind. If you claim to be Christian, how do you justify not being Christian-like?  Ugghh…

I get so angry. The hypocrisy. The nastiness. People who call themselves Christian, are generally the least Christian people I’ve ever met.  It seems, real Christians don’t prophesize so much and instead behave as if instead. 

I feel so frustrated with everyday life because I feel helpless in fixing the big problems of the world. I can’t seem to even accomplish my personal very doable goals either.  Yeah, I’m failing at this thing called life for sure.

Look, intellectually I get that life is not some game to win or lose.  But I have to admit, all of this isn’t enough for me. Yes, I help people when I can – honestly, even when I can’t. I do feel joy in moments. And I get that there is a balance.  But I crave so much more and always have. It’s not about money or fame or material good, but it’s about being able to get what you want and move onto what’s next. 

I feel stuck. Why is it all so elusive?  To finish what you started? To move on from here?

I’ve always believed that humans are curious and once we accomplish A, B & C, we move on towards what’s next.  It’s why we fly. Go to the moon. And now need to go to Mars. It’s what differentiates us from every other species. We evolve at maybe a faster pace.  So, why am I still stuck here?  My goals are simple and very doable.  Oh, my goodness and if I hear one more person talk about visualizing I’mma lose my shit though.  The things I would want – is to do the work I love as a creative entity and be able to make a living doing it.  A decent living. Not barely making ends meet creatively. Wanting to love and be loved – a beautiful partner who is a good and decent soul would be icing. And those are not in any order, but they are top of the list.

And please let someone write – “be grateful” – so I can dope slap them fully and continuously.  Oh, wow…people don’t even realize how cliché that is and honestly how ridiculous it is. I blame Oprah actually. There’s no quid pro quo in being grateful and accomplishing your goals.  It’s funny how it’s always rich successful people spewing “be grateful and visualize” crap.  Most poor folk ARE grateful for whatever they have. Most folk I know who don’t have what they want in life do NOT walk around being ungrateful. They savor what little they have…

I don’t know what the answer is. If I did, I’d write it.

I feel at the very least, I may be praying, wishing and/or thinking about it all wrong. My prayer every day shouldn’t be to find ways to attain my goals. Maybe my thoughts should be something like asking God to make me completely satisfied with the life I have right now?  To make me less inclined to want so much what’s next, but to be completely in joy with where I am in this moment. To learn that THIS is good enough, whatever THIS is.  Hmmm.

I do remember, once upon a time, begging to make it to my 18th birthday. I lived in a constant fear of dying alone. I remember asking God to let me make it just one more year and I’d promise to… I don’t even remember what I promised, but I remember the ask. The beg. The pleading.  That’s how bad I felt life was back then – and my goodness, I have accomplished that fully and then some. And for what it’s worth, my life is incredible today compared to my childhood.  And I’m still here today.

Being satisfied with where I’m at right now still seems like not enough. But, maybe asking God for it to be enough, may be a good start.