Fate is such a subtle seamstress. Even when my life is unraveling down to its smallest fibers, right around the corner the loom is suddenly strung once more and everything is pulling itself back together again. In a matter of days, I had died. In a matter of minutes, hours, I had been brought back to life. I had lost both sleep and sanity last month–both responsibility and intention had vanished with the moderation of my mind. And now, now all of that has been brought back to me. Now all of that has left me overflowing with such joy I’m on the brink of tears in any given moment, simply overwhelmed with this magnificent and beautiful intensity.
Taking a look at my goals for March is depressing. It starts off on the left-hand side remarkably green, but as the weeks progress, one by one green dots turn to orange–failure. Lack of achievement. Missed accomplishment.
I could easily give up. I could easily say, like with many New Year Resolutions, I’ve missed my mark. I have loosed my arrows and now my quiver is empty. I have nothing left to give. I shall break my bow and bow down to the powers that be, the societies and stigmas that have kept me from the success I had dreamed of months ago.
But I refuse to do so. I refuse to succumb to the fates that weave reality. I refuse to do it. I did not make resolutions to be broken–I made goals to be kept. My long-term goals have not changed, not changed one bit; only my short-term goals, those steps I am taking to get there, have transformed into something new, into a path with greater clarity. Every moment is a moment to learn from–and when good things come into your life, time seems to make itself. I have had my hand at failure. I will not lie and say I have only found success in my life. But to hide my failures is unbecoming; by embracing them, I can learn from them and grow into something–someone–greater.
In three words: I’m marchin on.
No, my “g” key is not broken–I am merely alluding, as often I do, to another favorite song of mine–“Marchin On” by OneRepublic. I was first introduced to OneRepublic with their inaugural single “Apologize” and continued to grow fonder of their music with the release of “Stop and Stare.” However, when money came to music, I hadn’t loved them long enough to choose them over my other musical favorites. With their second album came another single, “All The Right Moves,” that I fell in love with instantly. Little did I know that great songs like “Secrets” and “Good Life” were also theirs–not until I got their CD did I learn that.
But, wait, didn’t I just say I wasn’t buying them? Well, as it happens, there are perks to being a student, such as Amazon’s Student Membership (if you’re a student, look it up. Right now. Bookmark this page and go look. Seriously. Do it). Aside from a free trial of Amazon Prime and reduced membership fees, they also have five-dollar digital album downloads. Back in January, I found three musicians marked down–Thriving Ivory, Vanessa Carlton, and OneRepublic–and jumped at the chance to get three CDs for the price of one.
One of the songs I fell in love with the first time I heard it was “Marchin On,” which quickly became the seed for many a Genius playlist while wandering on campus. It begins generally enough, wouldn’t you think?
For those days we felt like a mistake
Those times when love’s what you hate
We keep marchin on
For those nights that I couldn’t be there
I’ve made it harder to know that you know
We’ll keep movin on
Encouraging, isn’t it? Even before chaos hit the fan and strings began to unravel, threads snipped and snapped, massive ropes lifelong loomed tugged and torn in two, this song resonated deeply inside me. The beat–right right right right left, right right right right left–was infectious and bound itself to my heart, each beat a step in the song–right right right right left.
This past month I felt like I was marching against an insurmountable army. It seemed like every time I tried, I just came up a touch too short, a few hours too late, and always behind on sleep. I wrote in my journal five times. My mind was mess. My room was a mess. My room was a reflection of my mind and neither was a pretty place to be.
Although in general I was able to drink enough water to meet that goal (given the rising heat, I should exceed this minimum for maximum hydration), and although I did meditate each week, I found my exercising habits not as sound. I also learned, and elaborated in a previous post, that my best way to meditate is to do these others things I don’t get to–most importantly, writing in my journal. I also learned that getting up a bit earlier to exercise makes for a more wakeful day than if I plan to do it before bed and crash instead.
This month, I’m going to do what I did in February: Keep my goals the same, so that I can instill these habits definitively before trying to push myself further. Being that I fell short in many regards this past month, I feel it’s even more important that I keep working at these minimums until I challenge myself to a new maximum.
For those doubts that swirl all around us
For those lives that tear at the seams
We’re not what we’ve seen
For this dance we move with each other
There ain’t no other step
Than one foot
Right in front of the other
Keep moving on. I’ve felt a lot like a failure this past month. Had I studied harder, I would have passed all my tests with grades I wanted. Had I planned better, I would have written a good paper–instead of a piece of crap three hours before it was due. Had I been better–timelier? more organized? what?–had I been better, I would’ve gotten our club’s points submitted on time and we would’ve won the semester-long contest. But instead, I failed.
Failure makes me doubt myself. Doubt makes me lose confidence.
Confidence that I struggled to have in the first place.
I was told yesterday that when I’m speaking in front of others, I’m confident and calm. I was flattered. Honored. Yet I suppose the surface does not show the tumult underneath. My nerves lock up. My mind shuts down. Sweat collects in uncomfortable places. I persevere because I’ve learned to dive into depths that guard me. Is that confidence? Is that calmness? I can’t say with certainty, because Doubt is still there.
But I persevere. At least that we can agree upon.
There’s so many wars we fought
There’s so many things we’re not
But with what we have
I promise you that
We’re marchin on
We’re marchin on
For all of the plans we’ve made
There isn’t a flag I’d wave
Don’t care where we’ve been
I’d sink us to swim
We’re marchin on
We’re marchin on
The words speak for themselves. As they did in January, they uplift me. They encourage me. They motivate me. In this place of precarious balance–this cornerstone between life and death, between order perceived and unseen, between failure and success–the rhythm pounds into my doldrums and keeps my heart in check, my steps in process, and keeps me moving on, no matter what evils stand before me, no matter what obstacles get in my way.
We’ll have the days we break
And we’ll have the scars to prove it
We’ll have the bomb that we saved
And we’ll have the heart
Not to lose it
Never give up. We’ll go at it together. Let’s just keep marchin on.