A first-person feeling in second-person narration.
This is a somewhat experimental post - the closest description I’ve got for it is “prose poetry”. I experienced a somewhat painful failure recently, and found my catharsis in writing this.
Hopefully it can aid you in your own catharsis, or at least you can recognize something of your own experiences in mine.
It’s your fault.
It’s all your fault.
That thing you wanted? That goal you were trying to achieve, the aspiration you set your heart on?
You don’t get to have that.
It’s out of your reach now, and there is no second chance.
You had one shot and you blew it.
There’s no partial credit, no do-overs, and no time travel bullshit.
You failed, and there’s no going back.
You’ve got excuses - which is to say that if you ask your brain for excuses, it’s happy to generate plenty.
You were tired.
You were nervous or anxious or scared.
You weren’t expecting it to be like that.
You did your best.
Maybe it’s someone else’s fault.
Maybe they didn’t tell you ahead of time what to prepare for.
Maybe they cheated.
Maybe they don’t have a life and spend every minute of every hour working and you don’t and that’s why you lost.
Maybe they made the wrong call, chose the wrong person.
Maybe they’re idiots who just can’t see how amazing you are.
Failure feels like garbage. Not figuratively, either.
Well, of course figuratively; garbage can’t feel like garbage.
But if garbage was a person, it’d be you.
And it’s not unobtrusive. Garbage is very obtrusive, rot and decay and putrid pointlessness seeping into everything around it.
There’s no hiding what you are. Everyone who looks at you can see that you’re worthless, that no one wants you, that you’re the remainder of something that was once whole.
You’re a banana peel, moldy bread, nail clippings.
Because when you think about it, garbage probably feels like a failure too.
Failure is disappointment.
In yourself, yes - you wanted it, you expected it, it was so close and then- you failed.
But also in the version of yourself that lives in others. Or the versions of others that live in you.
After all, didn’t they expect you to be better than this?
Don’t the people that know you expect that you’re capable of achieving the achievable?
This wasn’t putting someone on the moon; nobody expected you to single-handedly cure cancer.
This was just…this.
And you still failed.
Like a failure.
Failure is action becoming character.
Failing is something you do - a verb, not an adjective.
A failure is something you are, now that you’ve failed: the stain of the verb has gotten on the clothing of your person, and it won’t come out, no matter how much you scrub or bleach or medicate or tell yourself that you’re more than a single moment of your life.
It’s on you, now, other adjectives along for the ride like germs in snot.
Greasy and moist and humid and gross.
You’re infected, and there is no cure.
You know that if you tell them - your friends and family and neighbors and assholes you pass by on the street - the little version of you that lives in their head becomes lesser. It gets tainted by the failure, and in the future they won’t think of you as highly.
If they ever thought of you highly.
You’re not so sure, now.
Maybe they never expected anything of you in the first place. Maybe you’re flagellating yourself for failing to live up to a standard that no one has for you.
After all, you’re a failure.
Why would anyone expect anything from you?
Failure is self-reflection in a carnival hallway.
Distorted mirrors on either side, throwing infinite grotesque distortions of you into cold relief.
The further you look, the more malformed you become, an endless parade of ill-made homunculi, iterated drafts of a Gothic abomination, all flesh and pain and anima bound up in thematic irony and awakened to suffer for narrative drama.
Failure is navel-gazing, purple-prosed scourges taking the skin from your back.
Metaphorically, of course.
Real scourges don’t wax philosophical about the nature of self-reflection or contemplate the way language bleeds events into identity.
Real scourges just hurt.
Failing happens, but failure continues to happen.
It is a state of being.
Failing is discrete: it begins, it middles, it ends.
Failure happens afterward, and continues to happen, and continues to happen, and just keeps fucking happening until the end of time, because nothing will ever make the failure un-happen.
Failure is, in the end, a question.
You’re a failure.