The Art of Failing - Talking Veganism, Zero Waste Living and Following your Dreams

Looking wistfully into the distance, but really thinking about food. Captured by Blacc.o

Looking wistfully into the distance, but really thinking about food. Captured by Blacc.o

I am the biggest failure I know. I have given up everything important to me at least once before. I stopped listening to music for nearly 4 years for fear of connecting to it again. I quit uni, twice. I threw myself into job after job, hoping each time I would find the happiness I was craving.

And finally, I quit at something worth quitting and began working for myself (that and nannying, which is very rewarding). Gaining so much spare time has been hard adjusting to. Having worked in retail for so long I had lost most of my creativity, and now it has begun gushing back in waves. My mental health has been super interesting to experience, I have felt like one of Jeremy Kyle’s regulars these past few months. It’s been a tough end to 2018, and I have had to allow certain dietary aspirations and waste free solutions to take a side step for the duration of the holidays to alleviate stress.

It is stressful committing to reducing waste. It is stressful taking a stance against animal cruelty. It is stressful trying to pour yourself into something that offers no immediate reward. It is stressful accepting that there is a lot of work between where you are now to where you want to be. It is stressful figuring out what step to take next.

And that’s ok.

We live in a world that force feeds us social media, money and hummus. The hummus part ain’t so bad, but the rest? Stepping away from retail felt like a failure in itself. I am good at it, really good in fact. I knew eventually I had to leave, but each time I did well, it reinforced that urge to stay. Stay in the comfort zone.

See, I have learnt these past few years that to move forward is to move away from comfort. Western culture relies on ones fear of guilt, fear of failure, fear of unhappiness. Stepping away from the norm can be scary. Not seeing what you’re stepping into is utterly frightening.

But, sometimes we jump, and we realise we aren’t ready to make it all the way. Sometimes it’s okay to pull the chord and and call time out. So often I have dove into a new project, only to throw the whole project away soon after. Every time it feels like a revolt, I just can’t stand it, why don’t I just get out of this godforsaken hellhole and back up onto dry land? But that’s the mistake I was making, that’s the thing no one tells you. If you jumped into something, you’re only option isn’t to get out and give up. Sometimes you just have to go to the shallow end for a while.

I’m thinking on the spot, but stay with me here. Sometimes to learn to swim, you have to dive in the deep end, we got that bit already. But what happens if you run out of energy and can’t swim anymore?

THAT is the part that I think is crucial. Was I vegan this Christmas? Hell no. Does that make me a bad person, will I never be a vegan again? Poppycock. I am a vegan, I believe wholly in eliminating all possible animal cruelty in my life. But I also believe in looking after me first, and me has been working really hard just to keep above water. If that meant letting my most proud habit go for a few weeks, so be it.

What I am saying is, we can’t all give 100% one hundred percent of the time. That would be insane. I drank out of a few disposable coffee cups and felt guilty as hell. I also travelled between 5 cities in 4 countries almost non stop through December to spend time with loved ones. Sometimes we need to recharge, sometimes we need to fail. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a day off. It doesn’t mean you have to go back to the start. It just means you respect your own limits, and you will do you first.

I would love to know what you struggle most with. Do you need to step back sometimes? Or do you have a better way of handling the dive into discomfort?

D x

Failure - the fact of someone or something not succeeding. Something or someone not working as it should. Often an action needed for success, for example Dyson’s 5125 failed attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner before the 5126th, or Sylvester Stallone’s 1500 rejections from booking agents before he wrote the script for Rocky.

Hummus - Arabic for Chickpeas, this is a commonly vegan friendly dish made of crushed chickpeas, with the addition of Tahini, Lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Paprika is also a lush edition. Surprisingly nice as a spread.

Vegan - Someone who does not eat or use animal products. A product that does not contain anything animal derived, or that has used animals to be made. (Though interestingly, the official definition has changed since veganism grew in popularity; it used to describe someone or something who avoids the use of animals and animal byproducts at all costs rather than abstinence.)

Dionyves Martin