The Rules of Defeat

We are not defeated when we lose:
we are defeated when we quit.
~ Paulo Coelho

I have a story I tell people about all the things I quit in my life.

Piano lessons after 12 years, right before I passed the exam to college-level.
Swimming lessons right before I got my final badge to go to lifeguard classes.
Bharat Natyam lessons because of my teacher.
Skating lessons.
And I can go on.

These are the things I choose to remember. 

I almost tell this story as if I should get a badge of honour for having lived it. And then I feel crappy about myself. Every day I carry this story around with me, it reminds me of all the things I failed at in my life. All the things I never completed. All the things that, when it came time for that final oomph to succeed, I dropped, as if success were a hot coal and I couldn't bear to carry it any longer.

There is a fine line between the fear of failure and the fear of success.
But if you let them, both fears end in defeat. 

There is a comfort in staying right where you are. A warmth in being surrounded by what you know. I know this place I'm in. And the places I could go scare me. So I stay here. In this place where I am comfortable, but not exactly happy and not exactly unhappy.

We all have a story. And we can change that story whenever we decide to. But we often choose to stay exactly where we are because it's what we know. And what we know is so much safer than what we don't know. Safer than all the things out there that could go wrong. What we know is the lesser of the two evils. Because what we don't know is a scary place full of the monsters we tell ourselves are out there. We're scared.

We're scared of being defeated, so we stop trying.
And when we stop trying, when we quit, when we let that fear win, we are already defeated...
by our own Self.

I think, in the back of my mind, I am scared of succeeding, of being completely happy, and then having it be taken away from me. I've had and I've lost. And I think I am scared that if I do have again, I may lose all over again, too. And I think that's a bigger torture than not having at all. So I stay here. In limbo. Where I neither have nor lose.

But the truth is, every day I stay here, I lose.

This is not a comfort zone, it's armour. A shield against the bad stuff. Be careful. Watch out. Don't get too successful or you won't be able to handle it. Don't love too much because you might get hurt. Don't get too happy because the universe might suddenly feel the need to balance things out.


But there is a little voice inside that says

I think I'm going to start listening to her.

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