My Un-Success Reflection

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So in my post that accidentally wasn’t posted until today, I left out one big part of my weekend. The Shakespeare Competition on Sunday, which I’ve been occasionally mentioning for the past week or so.

I actually left this out on purpose because I was a little frustrated yesterday and didn’t want to talk about it. However, I read some articles (The Importance of Doing Nothing and What Meaningful Reflection on Student Work Can Do for Learning) yesterday/today, and I’ve decided that I do in fact need to share about my mental status on that.

To try and stay honest (which is something I really try to do on this blog because I want to also be honest with myself when reflecting), I want to share a copy of a text I sent to someone (in fact the only person that I told about this situation besides the people present at the competition) about how I was feeling yesterday.

I’m just at the house alone talking to myself about how annoyed I am with the competition.

I did awful actually. I choked pretty majorly and spaced and got dizzy and went off the stage before finishing even the first one. (And I know them both. I’ve recited them multiple times.) And I was the only one to not finish, even other people who called for line were able to keep going.) 

But then of course afterwards Mr. Taylor and other adults were like “you have to come back next year though, everyone forgets lines sometimes, we want to see more of you”. 

The thing is I’m not annoyed that I forgot. I mean I’d be a snob to think I never mess up cus I know I do sometimes and I know everyone does.  (There were several people that had to call for line, but I did happen to be the first one that needed to and I couldn’t even remember after being told the line which made me more nervous while on stage).

But I’m annoyed because I walked off the stage. It was so unprofessional and while I don’t think I could have gotten back up at that point just because I really did feel like I was about to fall over (they asked if I wanted to start over but I was already back by Mr. Taylor and just said no because I wasn’t confident in myself) and that’s why I’m still frustrated with myself. I was unprofessional and lost my confidence and it’s driving me crazy.

I wasn’t very trilled about coming in to school today after that. My stomach now had new butterflies and I still remember how fast my heart was beating walking into first period. I was just waiting for people to ask “How are you today? How was the competition?” and dreading it.

I’ve never had something like this happen before and I didn’t/don’t know how to respond to the situation. I started the text saying how I was talking to myself last night, and this wasn’t meant figuratively. I was literally talking to the empty house, expressing different perspectives on how I should be thinking about what happened.

On the one hand, I’m not happy with what happened. I can’t just ignore it like it didn’t happen because it did and even though one of the many voices in my head is saying that I’m over reacting, another voice is saying “at least I am reacting”. Yet another voice is saying “shake it off. Get over it. Move on. Forget. It happens to everyone.” This last part keeps getting to me because I’ve seen others forget lines before, that I know happens, but I haven’t seen people leave the stage completely, and it makes me disappointed in myself to know that I did.

As expected, I was asked, but again I just kind of pushed it aside and left it with “I’m not proud of what happened and was pretty annoyed with myself last night.” No one pushed to know anything further than that. I’m not sure what I would have said if they did. I don’t know if i wanted them to ask more or not.

However, I finally stopped a little and thought, and decided I needed to share it somewhere.

In The Importance of Doing Nothing, there was this quote to start off the article, “Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous” – Confucius

I interpreted this quote a little differently keeping in mind how much I honor the general idea that “you learn more from your failures then your successes.”

If you only reflect on your successes, then you aren’t learning as much as you could be. 

Therefore I told this story. This story of my failure, embarrassment, and self-frustration.

This story of my learning.

I’ve learned the importance of practice presenting. Maybe if I had put myself in more situations similar to how it would be at the competition, to practice better before hand, I wouldn’t have been as nervous.

I’ve learned the importance of knowing what you’re getting into. Maybe I should have worked harder with asking questions to find out exactly what would happen at the competition. (I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to be up on stage or just there watching as the alternate, which is what I was originally called when we figured out who was going from school.)

I’ve learned (the hard way) what can happen when you are working on too many things at once. Last week we had very little school (3 days) and I was really focused on a bunch of history work, getting Welcome to Nightvale performance ready, and  preparing for our ID internal pitch. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t really motivated to do the competition. To be honest I don’t think I ever wanted to be in this competition just because I was doing so much, but I let myself be pushed into it anyway. In hind sight I probably should have tried better to enforce the “power of no”, but once I was committed, I needed to stay committed.

I want to go back to that competition next year because now I want to make up for that performance, and I’m also determined to not walk of the stage no matter how much I may struggle next time.

Possibly most importantly, I’m learning the importance of reflecting on moments of un-success.

(Tangent: I must say the term failure I don’t particularly enjoy. It sounds so demeaning and reminds me of grades to be honest. Failing kind of makes me think of a test that you got a bad grade on, but can’t do anything about. “Un-success” makes it seem more like “well you didn’t succeed  this time, which needs to be acknowledged still, but there is room to get rid of that “un” and turn it into a “success” in the future.)

You can’t just completely let go of un-successes because then you can’t use them to fuel better actions next time, but you also can’t dwell on them to the point of madness; it’s when you find the balance that you can learn.

I started writing this post during 7th period when we took a day of reflection for ID, and I must admit I felt better after writing/typing it out. It was almost as if, by writing I was able to take more of the frustrating and conflicting thoughts out of my head and use that new brain space for other thoughts. After school I felt a little more confident again; I felt much more present, then the rest of the day, at our dress rehearsal for Nightvale and my soccer game that we ended up winning, which was a nice way to end the day.

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