Artwork by Julie Chen. Visit her gallery here.
With the arrival of the winter months, there are all sorts of ailments floating around including colds, the flu, and “buyer’s remorse.” You may (or may not) have avoided all these, but as 2013 looms large and your goals and resolutions taunt, there is a more sinister ailment lurking. I call it Tryer’s Remorse.
Perhaps a definition of terms is in order.
Tryer’s Remorse: The negative, regretful feeling experienced after having exerted great effort, yet still falling short of one’s expectation. Often expressed with disgust or embarrassment by the words, “I will NEVER do that again!”
I had my first bout of Tryer’s Remorse at cheerleading camp my senior year of high school.
All week we had been instructed in the finer points of voice projection, straight extended limbs, starched smiles, and various airborne bodily contortions called “jumps”—which purportedly increased crowd volume and school spirit.
On the second-to-last day a most coveted opportunity was extended to the entire camp—the chance to audition for the National Cheerleading Association’s entourage for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Excitement! Distinction! Prestige!
It was all so dazzling to this average, small-town cheerleader. I strained to hear the audition details but was repeatedly distracted. My mind was filled with visions of giant Snoopy and Garfield balloons clearing the way for me…I mean for us…through the streets of New York City.
I thought I had a chance—a good chance—to make the squad. So, bolstered by the squealing encouragement of my fellow cheerleaders, I signed up for the audition.
After rehearsing the prescribed cheer 259 times in less than 24 hours, I strode to the front of the gym for my audition.
With my polyester sweater soaked in nervous perspiration and my partially digested lunch threatening to make an appearance, I performed the cheer then skipped to the sidelines with my bobbing ponytail patting me on the back.
My fellow cheerleaders received me with giddy high-fives and a blast of “spirit fingers.” And I just got sweatier as I tried to downplay my utter excitement!
The next day the results were posted for the entire camp, and my entire squad, to see.
My name was not on the list.
And I suffered a long bout of Tryer’s Remorse.
I will NEVER try again! How humiliating!
I shouldn’t have even tried!
I doubt anyone else thought about it for a nanosecond, but I spent the better part of that summer berating myself for even trying.
Later that year, after Tryer’s Remorse had metastasized into a paralyzing fear of failure, I found a quote which I inscribed in purple ink on the fly pages of my pink “leather” Bible:
My greatest fear is not that I will fail, but that I will succeed in something that doesn’t really matter.
~Wycliffe Bible Translator, William Townsend
Those words were a welcome salve for the injuries of Tryer’s Remorse. They also served as a guidepost to help me determine what was worth trying, even if it meant failing.
Tryer’s Remorse still occasionally raises its ugly head. Visions of giant Snoopy and Garfield balloons taunt me as they make way for the parade of my past failures.
And it’s true that sometimes I have failed at things that don’t matter—like making the NCA cheer squad.
And sometimes I have failed at things that matter. That would be devastating if not for grace.
But sometimes, by God’s grace, I have succeeded at what matters.
And when that happens, all glory goes to Him for giving me the courage to try.
Do you suffer from Tryer’s Remorse? What is one thing you believe is worth trying in 2013?
By Shauna Letellier, Permission to be Real