Will I always feel a failure?

July 21, 2012

in Personal

"Very poor writing this"...from Telegraph comments on an article

link = http://bit.ly/QPoKqE


I wonder when anyone ever feels they have arrived, and whether they ever do and how would they know?

I don’t suppose anyone is going to reply to this saying ‘I have’ so it’ll have to be reflections from the ‘not made it’ side.

If I think about it I have to concede that many people in the very tiny world of gardens would be likely to think I have made it and should shut up and be grateful. I have a half decent garden which quite a few people visit and which has featured in the odd book and very odd television programme. I’ve published a book and I founded and edit a website which attracts a lot of readers, if clicks represent readers. (nice space for self doubt here..)

I’m married to a successful garden photographer who takes great pictures of the garden and other people’s gardens and did the photographs for my book and one of his own. So I get some reflected glory.

I have a lot of good and supportive friends on twitter, who frequently delight me and cheer me up.

I do manage to get occasional garden pieces published, if not widely, in very respectable places – and, best of all, in my own voice with my own opinions. I no longer have to write vapid garden stories about other people’s depressing gardens.

I am also frequently thoroughly disliked, and in some circles this would appear to represent great success. There are a great garden magazines and newspapers who wouldn’t publish a piece by me if that was the only thing that stood between them and bankruptcy.

So I think I should be ashamed of myself for frequently feeling a failure. It is a kind of self indulgence. Self pity – yuk!!! Thinking about it, it really seems that way and I feel very embarrassed. But I think that awful feeling is bred in my bones and I may never be rid of it. I can always instantly return to the feelings of humiliation and shame that dogged my childhood and which have clung to me like goosegrass ever since. Like a pit that is always there behind me, waiting for me to step thoughtlessly backwards.

It opens up when an article is rejected. When I get the figures for the sale of my book. When I get little response to my blogs. Or when I think of other people’s infinitely greater successes. If a plant dies or looks sickly or a part of the garden fails to live up to my intentions. Or gets weedy. Or if only a couple of people visit the garden when it’s open.

So why do I keep sticking my neck out and risking the bad feelings by doing any of these things? The truth is – I don’t know, except that I think I imagine that if I do enough I can one day escape feeling bad and feel good about myself. And then love everyone from my place of happy contentment.

Not going to happen, is it?

Kitchen Door Panel copyright Anne Wareham

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