The Bitch Slap: 5 Things I’ve Done Wrong

mistakes bitch slapThere’s rarely a literary backhand raised at Redhead Writing without it first being turned on myself. Much of the time, the columns in this series stem from some self-owed smackage. From mistakes I made when I started my business to the phone-shaped appendage that’s grown out of my arm and all of the inappropriate places I can put it into action. Thoughts on bullshit excuses and why in the midst of a beautiful man dying unexpectedly I have things for which I’m thankful. Today’s post began last night as something completely different and when my alarm clock let loose the Kraken at 4:55 AM (fuck off…just…don’t say anything about that), the Mac-a-doodle-doo opened and I knew what the reincarnation of last night’s trashed post would be.

Mistakes are ossum.

That’s ossum with an “o” and they’re caramel coated. They’ll stick to your floorboard, but if you pick ’em up and stop crying for a minute, you’ll realize they still taste good even with a floorboard french fry and dog hair sticking to them. I don’t know about you, but I get so wrapped-up in the fuck-up that there is absolutely nothing funny about it and I’m not only losing sleep, but I’m dreaming about it when I actually get there (taking over much-needed Colin Firth/Daniel Craig/Clive Owen time in my imaginary life). And that sucks.

All I have at my disposal in this life are words. I can’t draw for shit (attempts look like a diabetic in sugar shock got hold of a sharpie). Dancing? Yeah, I can do that and it’s more Molly Ringwald in Breakfast Club than Joan Cusak in Sixteen Candles but Bob Fosse I ain’t. So I take words and I wrestle them all around until I have something coherent and the requisite sting lingers on my face from the self-administered smacking. I needed to quit ignoring my mistakes and figure out something useful to do with them. And thus, in true Bitch Slap fashion, here’s my select list of glorious fuck-ups and why I should have realized their inherent glory long ago. (Erika to self: “Bitch, where’s mah money?! / I has it! I has it!”

Glorious Fuck-Up #1: I spent 17 years of my life doing the “Ouldas.” I talk about them often – Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda – and I say the same thing each time (bitches, all three of ’em). There have been more than a handful of moments in the past five years (no, I’m not 21. Erika Math: started working at 16, add 17, that’s 33, plus five since I started writing again…FIVE YEARS) where I sit and lament about not taking the leap sooner. Where would I be? How far would I have come if only…It happens often with my cycling, too. Especially when I get lapped by a 15-year-old. But if I had done anything sooner, it’s all sliding doors. I wouldn’t have what I have and wake up every morning having my own pet Awesomeapottamus and have all those years of stuff that fuel what I truly love doing.

Glorious Fuck-Up #2: Confusing love with convenience. There’s not a whole lot I’ve gotten right in life when it’s come to relationships with the opposite sex. A long history of giving until it hurts and having men who kept me around because I made them feel good. In a conversation with a girlfriend this week, I referred to myself as a medical marijuana dispensary with a vagina. Guys stand me up, great guys die. But if I sit back and look and who I am now versus all those things I thought I wanted, every single relationship fuck-up and unhappy ending has made me a better person for the right guy when he decides to come along. Because all the ones in the past? While some are doucheasaurus rexes, none are what I really want (except one very special man taken entirely too soon). And it’s going to be a brilliant day when I have the perfect reason to skip the 5:30am gym session in favor of nekkid aerobics and inappropriate laughter.

Glorious Fuck-Up #3: Being unsocial. Not anti-social, but more hermit-like. It’s pretty easy to do when you work for yourself, as your sofa becomes a desk, conference room and employee kitchen. When I sold my sofa prior to the Going Mobile series late last year, a lift of the cushions revealed a feast my two dogs were only too glad to nomnomnom. It’s easy to work 14 hours a day without ever seeing sunlight. When you only poke your head outside your door when you hear the mail man (complete with “rawr!” and requisite eye aversion from the offensive sunlight), you’ve got issues. I totally hosed the whole “social” part of my life for awhile and if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t get how good the sunlight feels (and you can’t get it from a laptop’s screen glare). People bring me every moment I cherish. So if you wonder why you don’t have anything worth cherishing, get your ass out of the house and plug into something other than your digital life.

Glorious Fuck-Up #4: Thinking that things will make me happy. Because they don’t. There’s no lasting happiness in a pair of kick ass boots or bicycles, though you can love the way you feel when you wear ’em/ride ’em. For years, I had a pile of both debt and things…and funny thing: I wasn’t at all happy. Today, I have no debt (save a car payment) and not so many things. It’s a very lightweight way to live – financially and emotionally. When you stop worrying about debt and replacing feeling with things, it leaves a lot of room in your life for shit that matters. There’s nothing in a house, closet or purse that can’t be replaced. Memories live in your heart, confidence in your soul and self-worth in your mind. And I won’t lie that I don’t think shopping is fun. But learning to live with less physically and more emotionally makes everything that came before collectively create the glorious fuck-up of a lifetime.

Glorious Fuck-Up #5: Not being comfortable with who I am. From the minute we start getting around this world on our own,we’re bombarded by the No Regime. Stop this, don’t do that, that’s not polite, ladies don’t do that, that’s not appropriate. Holy hell – it’s a miracle that we find anything that’s socially acceptable to fill our days. I spent years berating myself because I wasn’t happy in corporate America and not vacationing in Florida with 2.5 kids and a minivan. When I stopped giving more weight to what other people thought than I gave to what I thought, my life changed dramatically. It’s kinda like that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy wakes up in Oz and everything’s in hyper-saturated Technicolor when it used to be in black and white. I love ME. She gets better every day and some days are better than others. But even on the days where rabid unicorns dive bomb my life with piles of glitter turds…man, those turds are still made of glitter. There’s not a day that wakes up when I’m afraid to be me…and being me is something for which I’ll never apologize again.

That’s my list. And no, those aren’t my only fuck-ups. They’re the ones at the top of my mind. Now, it’s 6:04 AM and imma gonna set this Bitch Slap to post at 8:45 AM and go have me some coffee and a shower. I’m off to be social, be me, see some colleagues and oh, shit – be on the radio!

If you’re in the Denver market today, I’ll be live on the radio at 11 AM MST (that link also lets you listen online even if you’re not in our ossum Mile High market). The Tonya Hall Show’s previous guests have included the likes of:

  • Evan Greene: CMO of the Grammy’s
  • Tony Hsieh: CEO of Zappo’s
  • Vint Cerf: Google’s EVP and Chief Internet Evangelist
  • Ryan Holmes: CEO of HootSuite
  • Frank Eliason: formerly @ComcastCares and now head of social media for Chase
  • Augie Ray: Sr Analyst in Social Media Marketing for Forrester

I’ll be talkin’ about content. I’ve also been told no swearing, so join me for a PG-rated session of business and marketing talk. It’s going to be a great day, and I consider myself thoroughly slapped. Carry on smartly.

45 comments
The Redhead
The Redhead

Welcome to the site, Kristina, and thanks for sticking around!

Kris10na ☮♥☺
Kris10na ☮♥☺

I'm loving your blog. It's my 2nd stop here and I like how you write something different from all the rest and I'm learning a lot. Your entries are giving me that little light bulb on my head for new ideas thus inspire me more to continue blogging. I love this line "Memories live in your heart, confidence in your soul and self-worth in your mind." and I'll have this as a food for thought: "being me is something for which I’ll never apologize again."

Kris10na ☮♥☺
Kris10na ☮♥☺

I'm loving your blog. It's my 2nd stop here and I like how you write something different from all the rest and I'm learning a lot. Your entries are giving me that little light bulb on my head for new ideas thus inspire me more to continue blogging. I love this line "Memories live in your heart, confidence in your soul and self-worth in your mind." and I'll have this as a food for thought: "being me is something for which I’ll never apologize again."

Max Adams
Max Adams

Well I am making grotesque errors attempting to use Disqus -- I figured if you used it it would work but this is turning into a pretty wild ride.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks, Dan :) Honesty? It's all I gots! Great to see you, as always.

Dr. Harl Delos
Dr. Harl Delos

Who are you, and how long have you been stalking me? I started reading your post aloud to my wife, and partway through, she asked me why I was writing that as if I were female and single. I learned, after my first wife died, that women weren't repulsed by me (I now refer to my studly Santaesque physique) while it sounds you've still got that lesson to learn, and I'm suffering from agoraphobia, which you seem to have overcome, so that's a wash, but other than for differences, we're identical, which reminds me of what my chem prof used to say: nature always balances; for instance, if you are born with one leg shorter than the other, invariably the other leg will be longer to compensate. So if we're identical twins from different mothers, be hereby notified that our next goal is to throttle the next asshole who says "Failure is not an option" because that simply means "I've decided to be mediocre because the risk of daring to be great scares the hell out of me."

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, my list is waaaaaay longer. I think #2 is actually #81, but it got promoted today.

Skippy
Skippy

Regarding Glorious Fuck-Up #4 - How true it is. I'm a pack-rat and naturally seem to attach sentimental value to stuff. On top of that I've got to keep this used bubble wrap and the box my camera came in because I might need them one day. I've been going thru a period of re-adjustment which started about 1.5 years ago. I've purged tons of stuff (aka useless shit) from my home and my life. I can see my floors. I can see one of my walls. I have closet space. And I feel better than ever. You are so damn right about that shit. Purging was the best bitch slap I ever gave myself.

Lady Estrogen
Lady Estrogen

Love, love, love it. I think #2 fuck up is near the top of my list as well.

Michele Price
Michele Price

Chuckle I wish I could cuss like this (SSSHHH I do in private) I can see you version or vigina monologues now.....WTF you think my vagina is for your pleasure only, let me have you sniff it and get high RFOLMAO

Camilo Olea
Camilo Olea

Excellent post, Erika! I don't know if someone famous said it before, but I like to think: "If you are not making any mistakes, it's probably because you are not moving anywhere." I mean, mistakes are part of success. How can you succeed at anything without a few missteps before? I specially liked the relationships point, I think the exact same. Every failed relationship prepares us to know what we don't like about others, and be ready for when the "right" person comes along. Enjoy your weekend! Warm regards from Cancun. :)

Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

"Glorious Fuck Up #1" really grabbed my attention! In the past couple of months I've been listening to an ossum shit-ton of David Deida's content (we're talking like 70+ hours here). He's the guy who talks about how if someone has trouble manifesting money, trouble, not a desire not to, then you have weak energy and money does deserve to doubt you. The same could be said for opportunity, it doubts you when you doubt yourself. What's crazy counter intuitive is that you don't want opportunity to doubt you, you have to believe in the premise that everything was impossible until it was possible. Everything from fire, to sky scrapers to space shuttles. Someone had to believe that shit was possible first in their minds eye before they had proof that it was that they could see with their own two eyes. And in our lives it's precisely the time when it seems impossible that we have to believe that it's possible if we're ever gonna fuck the world open with our unique gifts that we have to offer as infinite beings. Thanks Erika for the slizap!

Kellie J. Walker
Kellie J. Walker

I think you slapped yourself so hard that it ricocheted and hit me - which is ok 'cause I needed it. Sharing.... GFU #1: Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt, too. But, I think it looks better on you so I'm not wearing it anymore. Am 13 months into my Oulda-free life. So, you've got 4 years on me there. GFU #2: Been there. Done that. Burned the t-shirt 'cause I found my "nekkid aerobics" partner. So, I'm a firm believer that yours is out there waiting for you to come slap him around a bit. The view from this side is worth everything you've gone through. Promise! GFU #3: Um. Still VERY guilty of this one. My aerobics partner insisted the other day that I "get out of the frakkin house." I think he was starting to suspect me of being a vampire or something. You won't tell him, will you? GFU #4: Due to life circumstances, I skipped this GFU. However, I am CERTAIN I replaced it with one just as glorious. However, there are so many to choose from that my head is spinning. GFU #5: Still remember the day I dropped this GFU. Makes me smile every time. Thanks for the smack!!!

Tracie
Tracie

Awesome, and so true. I've managed to make all five of these glorous fuck-ups myself, too! This blog was a breath of fresh air and a welcome reminder that I'm not alone. Thanks.

jim
jim

Fail early and often. It's the key to success!!

Eventful Occasions
Eventful Occasions

As always, thanks for the much needed slap!! I can especially relate to #1 - starting a business a couple of years ago at the age of 42 has had me wonder on more than one occasion if I need my head examined. But you made such an excellent point, and had I done it any sooner, I know I wouldn't have been ready. And #5 made me laugh out loud, particularly " Holy hell – it’s a miracle that we find anything that’s socially acceptable to fill our days." Too funny and SO true!

Greg Smith MD
Greg Smith MD

Erika You bluster and bitch all you want. I can tell that you are a really neat lady who has several somethings to say. I love your posts, your candor, your self assessments that are getting less and less self-flagellating, and your spunk. Keep writing at five. I'll keep reading by one. Promise. Greg

TravelnLass
TravelnLass

List my GFU? Shoot, Google doesn't have enough algorithms for that search. And btw, "glitter turds"??? Seriously Erica - that has to be among your most sparkling mot gems (pun intended!) ;)

Ben Anderson
Ben Anderson

I laughed, I cried (still drying my tears), I begged for more. In true Bitch Slap fashion you have brought insight and reality to sting the now rosy cheeks of your adoring fans. Thanks for the wake up call.

Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca

I often follow your example, but I don't think I'll do it with this blog entry, because I doubt I could stop myself at five.

LBelgray
LBelgray

This is SO ossum! But I have to tell you, Glorious Fuckup #6 might be giving away the concept of "medical marijuana dispensary with a vagina." Do you know what a great USP that is? Someone's going to add a vaj to their dispensary and cash in. Other idea: Is there such a thing as a medical vagina prescription? I guess "medical vagina" doesn't sound so appealing.

Tamra Wagner
Tamra Wagner

Bitch. Slap. At 52 (almost 53) been there, done them ALL ! In techno-color. You're gonna be just fine. And I have to say that my decades of phuck ups have made me who I am today. And I'm happy with that. And wouldn't trade one gray hair (colored regularly), one wrinkle (no injections), or one lesson to go back and do it over again. I might consider trading a decade or so if I could get my estrogen, metabolism, and collagen to leave their beach in Tahiti and join me for more of this ride .... the bruises from your falls off turnip trucks disappear. Happy slapping !

Sandi Amorim
Sandi Amorim

Nothing like a slap to start my day! And love the pet Awesomeapottamus! I've got my own, maybe they can be friends ;-)

Josh Hilden
Josh Hilden

This made me laugh at first but it is actually very poignant and I thank you for sharing.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Dude Dean, Grant Griffiths, RedheadWriting, 【ツ】Ron Callari, Level-343 Team and others. Level-343 Team said: The Bitch Slap: 5 Colossal (and ossum) F-ups http://ht.ly/43pGO | via @RedheadWriting […]

  2. […] and what I wants. Being a highly impractical woman is what made me who I am today. While capable of glorious fuckups and subject to broken hearts and failures beyond compare, it’s the upside of impracticality […]