Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I have waxed lyrical before now about Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes before now. It's no secret I think she's great: funny smart and with an attitude I both admire and wish I could emulate. So it comes as no surprise to learn she's also brilliant when writing about things that have nothing to do with beauty. A concept, even, that is almost anti-beauty: failure.

Like most people I've experienced by fair share of what could be described as failure and at times it has crushed me, depressed me and made me wonder if I'd ever bounce back. I fear I may even have fallen into this category of people, described by Sali:
"There is no one duller than a person who quacks on about life having dealt them a cruel hand. Seriously, these people are impossibly draining and so comfortable at their own pity party that repeat failure is not only a forgone conclusion, but also a lazy way of never aiming for success. Don’t be that girl. In one year, my closest friend was made redundant, diagnosed with cancer, and bereaved when her partner was killed in a terrorist attack. And yet she still put herself directly in the line of failure to launch her own small business because otherwise, she wouldn’t be living. Some failure is inevitable, but it’s never the beginning and end of your story unless you allow it to be."
Once upon a time I had a tendency to feel sorry for myself. My life wasn't, objectively speaking, all that hard but it felt hard to me and I let it weigh me down.

These days I try very hard not to be that person. Like Sali I have a friend who has faced a real shitpile the past couple of years: a seriously ill husband with ongoing health complications, the loss of a second income and all the resulting money problems that come from point a and point b. To an outsider it seems like just when one problem resolves itself another appears. I have no idea how she copes as well as she does but she has taken everything on the chin and doesn't let any of that grim awfulness stop her from living and taking risks, not to mention still being a top friend always ready to listen to other people's problems and take them seriously rather than just (justifiably) shrieking: "My problems are bigger!" in response.

I may never be quite so zen and awesome as her but I also credit myself with having learned the ability to suck it up and move on when the occasion requires it. Many times, of course, it's not as simple as being able to suck it up or get over it. Some problems, or failures if you like, require you to be able to ask for help and to accept it. That in itself - the asking, the accepting - is a way of trying to rise above your circumstances at a time when it feels like you're swimming through treacle. It can also be kind of a bitch to do.

I'll give the last word to Sali but if anything I've written here resonates you must follow the link above post haste and read the full article. She is a delight. She's also quite a dab hand with the ol' make-up brush. Just sayin'.
"You simply cannot enjoy success in the same way if you’ve never felt failure."

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