I fucked up last week.
It was the really annoying kind of fuck up that was beyond any earthly control – a moment where ability was found lacking but Time (that bitch that She is) wouldn’t allow the breathing space required for the necessary improvement.
In the What Men Do Guide we place great importance on the idea
of ‘seeing things through’. If you agree to a commitment – be it personal or professional, paid or voluntary – then it is vital to your Self Respect (if nothing else) that you make it to the end.
But what happens if, due to whatever the circumstance, Fate conspires against you and it proves impossible for you to fulfil you allotted task?
This is where my fuck up comes in. Maybe I’m being harsh on myself calling it a fuck up, but it’s certainly the way it felt.
I had agreed to a role in a project here at the Charity I work for in Halifax. The project was nothing particularly alien to me and the kind of thing I’m part of several times every year. However in this instance I had been provided the opportunity for a different kind of involvement than I’m used to, a chance to work on muscles which usually get ignored.
Of course I jumped at this offer and threw myself into the task with huge excitement and enthusiasm. Early on I realised this was going to be a challenge – the coveted Struggle which means you’re growing as a Man – but I told myself that if it was going to be easy then it would be bordering on pointless.
But as the project crept ever closer – and in passing I’m wondering if it is only me who finds the calendar an enemy in situations like this, where you look at it one morning and think
‘hang on, when did last week happen?’ – as the project crept closer I realised my ability wasn’t improving at the same rate as the days were passing. Suddenly it’s five days until the project is due to start and, like a punch to the stomach, I realise there is no way I am going to be able to perform my task at the required level.
I had no choice but to let the team down.
I handled this part very badly, allowing despair to take over and wallowing in a rather large pit of self pity. I wasn’t particularly bothered that my ability had been found lacking, indeed in any other situation I would have welcomed it as it has opened up an avenue for self improvement, an obvious starting point for extending my talents in that area. The blow for me, and it was a huge blow, was that I had let the other guys on the project down.
This wallowing only made the situation worse for my Self Respect as I realised that the only way I could begin to make up for my fuck up was to put things right to ensure the project’s success – as they say in the theatre ‘the show must go on’. By the time I had grasped the situation by the Balls in the required manner – this being the day after my realisation of my limitations – the replacement had already been found. I didn’t even have the chance to make things right myself.
What I should have done was to face the problem head on and not played ‘woe is me’ – at least not until the continuance of the project was ensured.
That’s the part my Self Respect has to deal with now so that in future I won’t throw in the towel when I should get back in the ring and fight another round.