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And acceptance

By River JoyPublished 10 days ago Updated 3 days ago 7 min read
"Accidental Noir" River, 2020

"If he made me in his image

he's a failure too"

Laura Marling, Failure, Alas I cannot swim

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I am objectively a failure. Now, hear me out, before you try to pump me up I'll give you a good argument why it's true and also a pretty decent argument to why it's okay.

So from society's standpoint I am not living the ideal life, and to be honest I am not living the life I want to be. I am something years old and I've yet to thrive, there is a lot of things outside of me that feels like I've missed my chance. I look at my peers and they're doing well, they're successful and starting to mark off things in their life that feel very far off to me. I feel like I am only now starting the learning curve that others my age started long before I did.

I worry that I am a burden and that I will somehow become a burden. My mental health is complex, though I'm doing exceptionally well right now there is always a fear in the back of my head that I will become someone that needs more care than I do now. I will admit, I need accommodations in life, and I'm lucky that the people I love graciously make them for me without question. Regardless, I still fear that the reasons that makes me so far behind many of my peers might be my undoing in the end.

There are so many things that I'd love to put into peoples (ahem employers) heads to give me a chance. So many things I'd like to convince myself to do to get people to see the same. There is the weird balance of disability, the feeling of helplessness because you are frozen in this cycle of things that looks like laziness but are really fear; and the feeling of shaking someone and saying "I am awesome if you just trust me, give me a chance I can show you that."

I digress one of the things that I'm learning is my growing up was both immediate and stunted so the fact that I'm a bit behind my peers is okay. I had to protect myself, then I had to find myself, then I had to forgive, then I had to start moving on. This way I was put in a position that I had to do the work first, and it was hard. It hurt. It still hurts. Some days it's impossible. Now, I can take care of it, I can take care of me. So of course, now that I know myself and find confidence in my art and my writing. I am ready to start thriving.

But I am impatient. I am ready to jump into a new existence with the love of my life and start living a quiet life of baking shows and silly mocumentaries. I want to skip the hard part because I'm tired of hard parts. I'm ready for a job that provides me enough to live simply alone without my parents or roommates but good lord I do not want to go through the interview and application process.

The world is chaos, however sometimes I think I've had a bit more than my fair share. The fact that I feel guilty for admitting that might be all you need to know about my soft center. I have always been sensitive.

All of that though, has made me kind, has made me love without fear, has made me strong and passionate. It has made me good. I am not confident enough to say I wouldn't have been good without my story. I'm not here to debate nature versus nurture. I do know that I can look at another person and imagine them as a complex human being. That does not mean I do not judge, and it doesn't mean that I like everyone I meet. I do give them a chance. I think people who fail a lot are willing to give others a lot of chances.

So many people have written so many beautiful things about the lessons that failure teaches us. The shame I feel is from me. From society. The strength I feel is the fact that every time I have fallen I have gotten up. Often with so much help, and sometimes with a little resistance on my part. I am ready to thrive. My movement might be slow but it is still movement. My demons may not want me to make that phone call, but dammit I did!

So I have started changing my internal dialog, if I am anxious about work I start listing things I like about being there. Now even though it sucks a bit, I am having an easier time going and staying. This is a tactic I learned when reading about how to transition children from daycare to home and the other way around without meltdowns. I'm not a parent, I'm just autistic and sometimes shit is just interesting. Also, it works.

I'm starting to tell myself that what I write is worth reading, that I have enough experience to go for the job, that I am worthy of the love I receive. Now of course I know none of this is life changing advice, we've heard it. I will say it is working for me. Along with a routine, because I don't do well in chaos, though I do create it!

"Failure" looks like stepping down from a stressful job that didn't pay me enough to step into a part time gig to save my sanity.

If you were to look at me and speak with me you would not see the failure on my face. You probably would not see the failure in my movements, although I do not make a good first impression. It is just who I am. I've got to mask hard to make a good first impression and it's only worth it for job interviews, and I even question that.

You would see parts of my story on my arms and in my eyes. They are scarred and I am no longer ashamed of them. It is part of who I am. My eyes, they are more piercing than they used to be, though they will not meet yours. They are also kinder, for they have seen so much. So failure, it doesn't seem like the huge thing it used to feel like. It feels like just another part of my story.

Of course the dark thoughts come with each rejection (or sometimes perceived rejection, but that's a topic for another day). Now I can talk myself through it.

So yes, from an outside perspective I'm not doing so hot, but that doesn't mean I have not come so far and will continue to climb out of this hole. It also does not diminish the wins in my life. I am a good artist, a decent writer, a pretty great poet and a kind person.

So I'm going to keep creating and trying and telling my truth as honestly as my heart can take because it does not matter where you are in life. It is possible to climb to a place of success, this is coming from a person who is currently unsuccessful. So I believe it. It's not too late to start over, and I suppose I have to take my own advice there on both the confidence and the creating.

Anyway I think this is getting rambl-y though I have not checked my word count yet. I also didn't edit this so it might be a mess. What can I say? I'm tired. I felt the need to get this out though. We all feel that urgency towards doing something great, we wouldn't be artists otherwise. There is not a race though, we will all make great things.

Also a lot of this rambling mess was inspired by Hi Ren, if you are not one of the seven plus million views I would recommend it. Here is the link. I also would recommend poking around his discography. He's quite brilliant. I was going to write a proper review but I'm honestly still speechless weeks later, and frankly unable to be that vulnerable.

Uh this is more informal than my normal posts so I feel like I have to sign off or something

Make something today,


This feels weird on this post, but you can now view and purchase my visual art! Including the piece featured here!

self helphealing

About the Creator

River Joy

I make things with paint and words and light. I was once described as an asshole with Mr. Rodgers vibes.

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Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (24)

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  • Adan Javeda day ago

    Very well done 👍🏻🤩 Here is my article you need to read this:

  • Jeanell Norvell3 days ago

    Good personal insight. I like the use of shifting in thought. Your Bio made me smile. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • JBaz4 days ago

    I like your honest approach throughout the entire piece. Very open. Well deserved Top Story

  • Kel 4 days ago

    This is a really eye opening piece!

  • Rey Visionary5 days ago

    So brave, narrative is amazing

  • JANE AYU5 days ago


  • Em Starrrrr6 days ago

    River!!! What a beautiful, honest, heartfelt piece. Your words show so much vulnerability and so much strength. It takes real guts to share the real and the raw (hence why I hide behind a pseudonym haha) and I felt this on so many levels. Thank you. x Congrats on scoring Top Story by the way! So glad to see you getting the recognition you deserve.

  • Dana Crandell6 days ago

    Congratulations on on a well-deserved Top Story!

  • Akii6 days ago

    congragulation on your top story

  • Krish6 days ago

    what a story is this... i like your way of story... i am to replicate you..i learned lot from ur story.... and then impliment in my story... i you have a time come and visit my page...

  • Dana Stewart6 days ago

    I admire your bravery and honesty. A moving piece, raw, butt naked. You are a very talented writer. This Winston Churchill quote sums it up nicely, the trying that is: Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

  • Congratulations on top story! Your raw honesty narrative is refreshing, keep creating indeed!

  • Loryne Andawey7 days ago

    Congratulations on your Top Story River. I'm glad to see you fighting against the tide of what society deems success to be. Success is what we define for our own selves. Well done.

  • Heather Hubler7 days ago

    I've found so much of life to be about learning, and learning about yourself is one of the greatest things. So glad you're giving yourself grace and learning to appreciate all the steps, forward and back. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself. I look forward to reading more of your work :) You have a wonderful gift.

  • Lamar Wiggins7 days ago

    So brave of you to get this out in the open. It's part of the healing processes each of us must face at some point. How we deal with self-realizations determines where we are headed next. The part where you said, "I think people who fail a lot are willing to give others a lot of chances." this made me pause, to really understand this, and I get it. Thanks for sharing! Hearted and subscribed!

  • Leslie Writes7 days ago

    It is hard and life is chaotic. This is a great piece.

  • Madison Newton7 days ago

    An important message, thank you!

  • Wow, I don't know if this should be under "motivation" or "confessions." The key part for me was "So I have started changing my internal dialog." This is soooooo important. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Great story , congratulations on your Top Story , and you have my subscription

  • Funny you mention rejection, perceived rejection. It is a daily struggle. I continue to write for Vocal, even though the challenges, terrify and berate me. This kind of writing...moves me. Thank you for being so open and encouraging

  • Aphotic8 days ago

    You are so right, these thoughts and feelings plague us all at times. Even some of the most amazing people I know sometimes doubt themselves. Getting back up after every KO is what matters and that in itself is a success.

  • "I felt the need to get this out though. We all feel that urgency towards doing something great, we wouldn't be artists otherwise." AMEN. This, in a nutshell, is the creative fire, and keeping it burning is perhaps the greatest success of all.

  • Donna Renee10 days ago

    ❤️ perceived rejection plagues me all the time

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