I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to sit down and just write in recent months. To write about how I’m feeling. To write about the mountain tops and valleys of life and everything in between. To write about my family. To write about the pull that I feel between here and there — at a time when “here” was Michigan and “there” was Patagonia. That pull is the same, but “here” is once again Patagonia and “there” is now Michigan.
I feel as though the wind has been knocked out of me in recent months. I feel as though life is a bit of a blur these days, and I’m having a tough time bringing everything into focus. I feel as though I’ve been running on autopilot — I can’t imagine how my mom, or my dad and sister, must be feeling — trying my best to support, take care of and be there for my family, those I love and myself.
I’ve felt dried up, void of emotions and words. At times, I’ve felt as though there’s nothing left for me to give to those I love or myself. I’ve felt numb.
The last 2-3 months could be a novel in and of themselves. I suppose all of our lives are that way to some extent. Each day carries so many ups and downs and details that are small but important.
I’m getting ahead of myself. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where this story begins, but I think this is a place to start.
A few years ago, after a particularly tough night — one of those nights where the weight of the world seems to come crashing down all at once — my mom wrote these words on a Post-it Note for me and left them on my bathroom counter.
“I love you, Em. You don’t always have to be so strong.”
I have that note saved in a box somewhere up in the U.S. And even though that note is not physically with me here in Argentina, my mom’s simple-yet-profound words are with me always.
You don’t always have to be so strong.
I’m realizing more and more that I tend to carry the weight of what can sometimes feel like the world on my shoulders and that no one is putting that pressure on me but me. I think this is human. I think we are all guilty of this to varying degrees.
Let’s talk about failure.
Why does this word carry such negative connotations? Why do we fear failure? Why are we so afraid to fail? To accept defeat? To be knocked down?
I suppose it has a lot to do with the way failure makes us feel. Both in the moment and sometimes long — far too long — after the moment has passed. Failure stings. It doesn’t feel good. It’s tough. It’s humbling. It can feel unfair. It can have everything to do with us; it can have nothing to do with us.
No matter how it feels, I’m learning it’s important to remember that failure isn’t half-bad. The more I live, the more I realize there’s actually a lot of good in failure. There’s a lot of good to be drawn from failure. We learn a lot from feelings of failure; we grow a lot from feelings of failure. In fact, there’s often more to be learned from failure than success.
Twice a week, I workout with a group in a park in Recoleta — a neighborhood here in Buenos Aires. I take the subway to and from the park and have to switch trains about halfway. From my door to the park, the trip usually takes me around 40 minutes. And while I wish it were a little closer to home, my workout commute has given me moments to explore and appreciate the various forms of art that flow through this city.
This evening revealed one such moment.
As I was on my way home from working out, I transferred from Linea H to Linea B as I usually do. And as I came up the stairs, out of the tunnel and onto the platform, I was greeted by something familiar, something that immediately gave me chills, pulled at my heart and set my mind in motion.