Lifestyle The Word 4 minute read

The Power of Embracing the Suck Factor


A lot of the stuff I write sucks.

Sometimes you readers will let me know.  Most of the time, I read something I wrote days or months later and am gripped with embarrassment and regret.

What in the hell was I thinking?  

            I know people must think I’m an idiot, illiterate, or crazy.   

            Shit, I used to know grammar. What in the hell was I trying to say?

I wish I could erase many of my posts from the universe, yet in today’s world, that is impossible. They live on — forever.

There are many nights that chamomile tea and Unisom can’t stop the hamster in my brain from repeatedly running my poorly written words round and round.  There are many dinners where my “support group” must listen, reassure, and pour (wine helps numb the pain) as I mope about the trash that I let the world (or rather my 25,000 readers) read.

I hate sucking; however, I have accepted that some of my posts will suck.  I will fail, guaranteed.

And guess what, I write anyway.

After reading a nasty comment (some folks seem to take out their anger about their boss, baby daddy, or taxes on me), I write.  After reading a piece of constructive criticism; I write.  After I have read one of my old posts, with disgust and embarrassment, I write.  Every time I want to quit (which is just about every day), I write.

So, even when I suck, I’m successful.  I won’t allow failing sometimes to control me at all times.

How much do we fail to accomplish because we fear failure?  How many times do we not dance, sing karaoke, ask for a raise, change jobs, start a business, move to a different city, because we are completely afraid to fail?  Actual failure doesn’t ruin us; the fear of failure does.

There is enormous power in embracing failure and not being intimidated by it.  I accept that some of my posts won’t be good; and I am okay with that. I accept that some people won’t like me or my writing, will write nasty comments, or will unfollow me. (heck, I can’t please em’ all).  Sure, it doesn’t feel good. I will continue to have sleepless nights and endless conversations with my friends; but it doesn’t feel as badly as not trying would ultimately feel.  I don’t want to be that old woman, wearing a flowered housecoat, sitting in front of the TV with a heart full of “I wish I had’s.”

Instead of avoiding failure, what if you viewed it as part of the process?  Once we accept the worse of a situation, we usually still proceed.  We didn’t stop flying when TSA made us take off our shoes and limited liquids.  We didn’t stop traveling despite terrorist attacks in London and Paris.  We don’t stop dating or falling in love because we’ve got rejected or hurt. What if you treated failure the same way you do a cold: you don’t like getting them, you take vitamins, eat well, and wash your hands to prevent from getting them, but you know that you are going to get one.  Oh well!  You aren’t going to sequester yourself inside 365 days a year to prevent from being sick for 5 of them. Right?

Sucking sometimes is a part of doing.  Even the best people do poorly.  Nothing makes me happier than going to concerts.  I’ve been blessed enough to see many of the greats multiple times.  Many years ago, I saw the magnificent Chaka Khan in Atlantic City and her vocals were off (I refuse to say that she sucked).  I’ve seen her twice since and she was splendid. Similarly, I recently saw Stevie Wonder in Washington, DC.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t a successful performance (perhaps he was hoarse).  But, his Keys of Life concert was one of the best musical experiences of my life.  So, although my natural instinct is to quit after every failure, I remind myself that even The Greats aren’t always great.  And look who they became because they didn’t let the fear of sucking stop them.

There is something that you’ve been wanting to do and you haven’t because you are scared of sucking.  You probably will suck a little or at some point.  So what?  We all do.  Embrace the suckery and move forward.

Make your dream and your drive bigger than your fear.  The rest of us flawed humans, who have sucked a time or two in our lives. will applaud your boldness in pursuing your dreams and celebrate your persistence when you keep going, despite sucking every now and then.

My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more


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