by Miguel Quezada
As a kid, I failed in many little things. Basketball, because I had no coordination. Or when I tried to ride my bicycle over a motorcycle ramp and fell and broke my wrist. Or when in the seventh grade I asked Destiny to be my girlfriend, but she said, “Nooooo!”
When I was young, I didn’t believe I was my failures. All they amounted to were failures. They didn’t get in my way. I kept falling, but picking myself up and trying and trying and trying.
As I grew up, I seemed to fail a lot more. It seemed I couldn’t do anything without failing. When I failed, people would tell me that I was a failure. I knew I wasn’t but I began to think: “hey, they might be right.” I began to doubt myself. When it came to trying new things, I instead skipped out, because I was afraid to fail. I gave up on playing soccer and science class. I stopped trying and trying and trying.
Soon people no longer had to tell me I was a failure. My self-esteem suffered, but I didn’t want to admit it. I covered it up by acting tough and told myself I didn’t care what people thought. My belief that I was a failure made me see myself as a loser.
Without knowing it, I became very frustrated with myself. I did not see myself in a positive way. It made me depressed. I became very impatient and angry with myself and other people. Without knowing it, in my failure I began to do negative things. For example: when I got in some fights and won, I felt better because people would say I was a good fighter. I didn’t like to, but it was easy to do. Fighting did not change that I saw myself as a loser. If anything, I felt worse. I didn’t care about myself, and I covered up the pain by doing drugs, drinking and partying.
At some point, I lost the ability to recognize the difference between failing at things and being a failure. I believed that I failed because there was something wrong with me. Once I believed that I was a failure, my attitude and how I dealt with life changed. I believed in this so strongly that when I did want to change my attitude, how I saw myself, I thought it was too late, so I gave up.
I didn’t care when I was expelled from school. I didn’t care when I went to juvenile hall, and I didn’t care when my parents told me to stay home. I wish I would have cared. If I had cared and learned how to cope with my thinking and belief that I was a failure, I may not have ended up in prison.
We all fail in things, but a failure is not who we are. If you keep falling, pick yourself up and try and try and try again. We are not our failures.