It felt like failure. Yesterday, I went back to the writing conference. I didn’t make it through a single panel. My anxiety was so high. I called my husband, twenty minutes after he left me, and asked him to come back.
We drove downtown, and had pizza together. Then we drove outside of the city and took a hike at a National Park. We walked a trail high above a river that is carved into the edge of a rocky cliff. There were Native American ruins all along the cliffs – structures built of stone where they lived in communities.
When we arrived home, I cried. I felt like not only was it impossible to do the things I wanted and needed to do in order to become a better writer, I had disappointed my husband. He assured me that wasn’t the case.
In my mind, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t disappointed him. It seemed like one of those terrible moments, when your spouse, the person that loves you more than anyone in the world, the person who constantly overlooks or misses seeing your flaws, is face to face with your limitations and your inability to handle a situation that should be fun, easy and carefree. That reality that you are human with many shortcomings, and that you can easily be responsible for letting them down.
I felt as though my husband had once again been let down by my illness, and by me. How many let downs can you take before it begins to dissolve love? Let downs and disappointments are like water on sugarcoated candy. It begins to erode the shape. It melts the color and the form. Is love like that candy, once reality and weakness and failure and disappointments and let downs add up over time?
My husband asked me what happened yesterday. I told him that we arrived too early. That I was walking around by myself and that I had too much time before the panel started. By the time it started my anxiety was too high to sit through the scheduled speakers.
“Is there anything you would like to see tomorrow?” My husband asked. I looked through the program and said, “There is a panel at nine and then one at two, and then another at four.”
“I will park the car this time. I will walk you to the door of the panel. I will wait with you until it starts. I will be waiting outside the door when it gets over.”
“Okay.” I said.
“I want you to give it one last try, because if you can’t do it tomorrow there is no need to try to go to any more conferences.”
I am up. I am making my first cup of coffee for the day. In a few hours, I will go back to the conference and give it one last try.
It is difficult to get up the courage to go after so much failure. Being a better writer is important to me though, it is my one shot at getting back to work, and that is a strong motivator. But more importantly, I want to prove to my husband that I can get back on my feet no matter how many times I fall down. I don’t want to give up on myself, because I couldn’t survive the heartbreak if my husband gave up on me.
No matter how hard it is sometimes, we have to keep going. Today, I am going to keep going. One last try. I’ve got so much riding on it, and I am damn sure going to make it.