Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Finding courage in the midst of failure

It's not easy to fail repeatedly. It's not possible to fail repeatedly if you only try once and let your failure keep you from ever trying again.

I'm having a frustrating experience this week. I used to have a hobby aquarium... 4 years ago before all of my life got put on hold and we moved to Connecticut (I call those the Dark Years, that time in Connecticut...). When I had my aquarium(s) I kept angelfish. They were beautiful and so happy in my tanks that I had two mated pairs and produced a LOT of angelfish fry to trade back to my LFS (Local Fish Store). One might say that for a hobbyist, I was an expert.

So now that we've been back in California for 6 months, I decided to fill up my aquarium again. I spent a month preparing, cycling my tank, doing water tests and changes as needed to get things just right. Then I brought home three BEAUTIFUL little angels to live in my tank happily together.

That was Friday. Today is Wednesday and I am down to one. That's right. TWO of those angels have died in the past five days. I'm mystified. The LFS owner is mystified. I'm crushed and disappointed, too... and doubting my skill/experience. How could this happen??

I find that writing is a lot like fish keeping. There's a fragile, almost mystical balance we're all looking for. When it's good, we find that place where our characters thrive, where our agents think we're brilliant, where our novels touch lives and inspire others to write as well. And when it's bad... woe is us! We might as well give it up!

I'm in that bad place right now... both in writing and in fish keeping... and I keep reminding myself that only by making mistakes can I learn and grow... and that even though the disappointment of not getting it right is physically painful and emotionally crushing... trying again and getting it right is worth the effort. In the matter of fish keeping, I've been there before. In the matter of writing, I am trusting the experience of others.

Does anyone else out there feel this way?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Riding again

I've been riding for the past 6 months... at least twice a week... for the first time in 3 years. I'm still a beginner. I was when I decided it was time for a break. I didn't find a barn or motivate myself to "get out there" and take lessons or do ANYTHING with horses while we lived in Connecticut.

But now we're back in California where my wonderful amazing barn friends are... and something is different about me and the barn than it was 3 years ago. I guess I needed to hit the reset button. I'm not even going to try to analyze it. I'm just grateful for it.

I ride this cute little morgan mare named Rogue. She's not mine. She belongs to the daughter of another of Debbie's students... the daughter has just gone away to med school, and so someone needs to keep Rogue working. What a deal for me!

She's got just the right amount of sass for me, and we seem to get along (as long as I keep her in treats, that is). Plus, she's just so darn cute!

Yesterday we hit a milestone, Rogue and I. We went over a cross-rail! It's been more than 3 years since my last cross-rail. And we had a blast!

It's baby steps toward a goal of confidence and joy in riding... and I'm hoping that I can transfer it over to other areas of my insecurity and anxiety-ridden life. I'm going to beat those monsters yet!