Do you know JK Rowling’s memorable commencement address given at Harvard a few years ago? She spoke about the benefits of failure and how starting from scratch has helped her build her current life. As you know, I love Harry Potter books, I love her life story – and now you probably wonder what is “but” going to be about. It’s not really a but, it’s just a different opinion.
So, mes amis, I have recently hit rock bottom. Again. And hard. There was a line in a film, something about rock bottom having a false bottom. Let me say this: when you think that life cannot go any lower, that you have stretched your coping abilities to the maximum, when you have reached the limit of your sanity and of your resilience, you might be in for a surprise: rock bottom doesn’t have a bottom! It can go as low as Mariana Trench’s bottom and then some! People say that hitting rock bottom means you can only go up. Wrong! I suspect one can go through to the earth’s very core.
If you expect a meaningful story about hitting rock bottom, I don’t have one. Coming back from a trip to inferno as a better, stronger and inspired person, with a brilliant idea which will illuminate my entire life … really? That may have happened to a few lucky and gifted people, I call them the chosen ones, but to the rest of the world, the ones who don’t have a hidden super gift they can actually capitalize into their happiness, to the ordinary people, it truly feels like …well, hitting rock bottom. And it sucks!
I recently read one of Nora Ephron’s books and I loved an essay called ” Flops”. I loved how candid she was about failure: “There are people who have positive things to say about flops. They write books about success through failure and the power of failure. Failure, they say, is a growth experience. You learn from failure. I wish that were true. It seems to me that the main thing you learn from a failure is that it’s entirely possible you will have another failure.” I loved her no b…..t approach, not putting a positive vibe to it. Why should I assign a positive feature to everything? Hitting rock bottom hurts and it feels awful. Why not keep it that way? Call me a negativist or a pessimist, but I really don’t get it: why transform every step of our experiences into a positive thing? It’s true, taking the situation simply as it is doesn’t make things better, but then …. why lie to myself?
One of the saddest things about a flop is that even if it turns out to have a healthy afterlife, even if it’s partly redeemed, you remain bruised and hurt by the original experience. Nora Ephron
After a life time of running from experiencing hurt, forcing myself to consider the positive aspects of every experience and avoiding staying in the moment when it hurts, I finally admit: I’ve failed, I’ve got hurt, I’m suffering, I’m truly and maddeningly lost and what is worse is that it may happen again and I may collapse further. It’s a part of life. So for me hitting rock bottom is just that: a slam on a hard cold surface, giving me bruises to my very soul, cutting through my pride and self-confidence, an infuriating and disgracing experience. Indeed, suffering has probably been my best teacher. But that doesn’t make it positive. It is and will remain cold, hard, humiliating, bruising and vexing. I will probably understand something from this nasty period, so by all means it is a learning experience. But I obstinately refuse to say how positive it is.
I wonder what would be the perfect ending for such an entertaining post :))
So have a lovely week, mes amis!
Image source: here