You win some, you lose some

I went to a poetry reading a few weeks ago—or rather, I went to a café with the intention of studying, only to discover that I had walked in on a monthly poetry reading event. As it turns out, I think I learned a lot more from the poets than I ever could have learned from my thermodynamics textbook.

My favorite poem was titled “Why A Pansy.” The woman reading it explained that she had recently gotten a tattoo of a pansy—because it is the symbol of remembrance. The pansy represented the things that we’ve lost: the ones who have passed away, the lovers who left us, “the versions of ourselves that didn’t make it to today.

That particular line stuck in my head. It reminded me of all the risks I didn’t take, the challenges I shied away from, the accomplishments that I never achieved because I was too afraid to try. It made me realize that there are far too many versions of myself that didn’t make it to today.

And that’s such a shame.


I’ve been trying to learn how to do headstands lately. Now don’t judge me, but I follow all these beautiful, fit women on Instagram who are always posting pictures of fancy yoga poses and videos of effortless inversions. Feeling ambitious (and a little jealous), I thought, hey—I can do that too!

Except that…I couldn’t.

I tried over and over again, but to my utter disappointment I just could not hold my legs up straight. Being upside down felt unnatural and scary and I didn’t like the way my room looked when the floor was suddenly the ceiling. My body felt heavy and my arms felt weak—

Until I flipped over, landing flat on my back with a resounding thunk. Ugh, my downstairs neighbor is probably judging me right now, I thought, being self-conscious about what other people think of me, as per usual.

But wait, that actually didn’t hurt was my second thought. Because it really didn’t.

And suddenly, headstands got a whole lot easier.


I know that most things in life aren’t this simple, but I’m a sucker for metaphors.

And the truth is, the concept still holds: it’s scary to put yourself out there, to try something new, to tackle a challenge when you’re not sure if you’ll come out a victor. But for what it’s worth, even the most perfect person will not be successful in every one of his or her endeavors—ironically, it’s the realization that it’s okay to fail that will ultimately make you successful.

During my Thanksgiving bus travels, I listened to Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me? She said that a little girl once asked her, “Mindy, how are you so confident?”

Her response wasn’t what I was expecting, but it sure was the truth. She said that confidence is like respect—you have to earn it. There’s no magical formula for becoming that smart, confident person you want to become. You just have to work hard. Put in the effort. Try.


I know it’s a little early for new years resolutions, but I always thought it was silly for January to be the only month you could rise from your phoenix ashes.

The way I see it, you can’t wait around for a sign to finally do the things you’re scared of. Maybe it’s a hard physics problem that you don’t think you can solve. Maybe it’s a hobby that you’ve been meaning to pick up “when you have time.” Maybe it’s admitting to that cute girl that you think she’s really somethin’.

And maybe you won’t solve the physics problem. And you’re horrible at that hobby. And the girl says you’re just friends. But even if you don’t succeed in everything, you’ll succeed in enough that your confidence starts to grow just a little tiny bit…

So forget new year resolutions. Just start now, because that’s what this is all about anyways: always trying, often losing,

sometimes winning. It’s the only way we move forward.

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