failure with a capital F

how do you handle failure? after so many of them there’s just one thing i know; you never learn how to. i had a massive one yesterday and this was really up there with the greatest there is. when it hits you are just paralysed. your limbs become like lead and you feel like going into the fetal position. curl up and protect yourself from being kicked any further. air becomes a scarce commodity and there is a tight band around your chest; a bit like a heart attack i would presume. there is just this steely, cold ball in your tummy and eveything around you becomes a bad xerox copy of reality. all colours are bleached away and the surroundings assume this grayish hue.
you try to speak but its like you have swallowed a mouthful of industrial strength adhesive and the very act of moving your tongue around the inside becomes a chore.
inside your head thoughts are sloshing around in a primordial slime. worthlessness, self-anger, despair and defeat are all doing the mexican wave in a perfectly choreographed unison. in the background the funereal pounding of tiribal drums slowly building up until it merges with your own heartbeat.
around your eyes you hope for tears that will never come. this is way beyond tears. with a whosh the automatic door to the train opens and you muster the last bit of strengh to actually propel yourself out of the climate-controlled environment into the human race again. you try to reconnect with life but you think; what’s the point?
you trudge towards home your head trying to bury itself between your shoulders. opening the door you then realise that you have to face the people at home and sheer panic takes over. constructing the ghost of a smile you head into the living room hoping against hope that the floor will swallow you up but it never does. quizzical looks all around. with eyes averted you mutter something under you breathe as a form of greeting then slumps into the sofa. questions, always the questions. like fingers probing the darkest corner of your mind and you are all the time trying to push further inside to avoid the light. finally this ugly little thing emerges squelling and trashing, angry at being exposed, vulnerable.
the people gathered around you now begin to brush it aside saying that’s going to be fine and they were all there to support you forever. beggars can’t be choosers, so you begin to believe what they say. for a split second the grip around your head loosens and then it comes back for an encore.
the toughest is yet to come. when you finally turn off the lights at night, the ugly creature creeps back into its corner and licks itself. slowly it gets more comfortable and a smile creeps across its grotesque little mug. ‘here we go’, it hisses. it knocks the back of its deformed head against the inside of your skull in a slow regular, rhythm. the wet thuds resonates in your head. louder and louder like the sound of a leaking faucet.

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