What happens when your life starts falling apart? Do you try desperately to hold it together so you won’t feel like a failure or would you do the unthinkable, allow your whole world to crumble and allow the chips to fall where they may trusting that whatever was left in the rubble, that you could rebuild it into something great?
Sounds noble or saint-like but for me it was a simple life decision. I decided that I was tired of running away from failure. I decided that the threat of losing everything would never haunt me again. I decided that for once, I would allow the gauntlet to fall and the judgment to be on my head- FAILURE.
So I did it. When my world crashed down around me- lost both of my jobs, my car, forced to drop of grad school, nearing eviction- I just let it all go. I didn’t curl up into a ball and curse the Universe for not protecting me or decide to compromise my values to save my possessions, I let go. I took control of my life instead of allowing life to happen to me. I gave away everything that I owned and I became homeless on purpose and I turned it into a life skills project called The Rebuild Your Life Project.
What happens when you have to start over from scratch, out on the streets? What does it take to stand back up? Would it be worth it in the end?
I took my camera with me to film this journey into and out of homelessness as I set goals to investigate what it takes to rise from what this society deems extreme failure as well as help other women to avoid the same journey. Needless to say this 4-month journey into and out of homelessness changed my life. The insights I gained from seeking refuge in a homeless shelter, organizing a job fair for the homeles, interviewing dozens of perpetually homeless individuals and raising money to offer a grant to a woman in need shook me at my core.
What does extreme failure look like to you?
Is it ending up in a homeless shelter?
Is it trying to figure out how to make money while on the street?
Is it trying to find a job but being turned away time after time?
Is it fearing you will have to face all of the challenges alone?
Is it being sexually assaulted because you just wanted a clean place to rest and knowing there is no one who cares enough to help you?
Whatever your perception of extreme failure may be, I can assure you that I have experienced it at some point during this journey. Nothing is ever as bad as your fears make it out to be. Nothing that happened during this journey broke me in spirit although I will admit during the process, I thought it did. It changed who I am. It stripped me of the mentality that I am the center of the Universe and life must bend to my demands. It has caused me to interact with this world differently. It has given me a new outlook on what people call ‘failure’.
It has been 3 years since I undertook The Rebuild Your Life Project and since then I have moved through life fearlessly, creating opportunities, taking risks and forging ahead knowing that I have already been to the bottom, survived it and experienced the beauty in it. Now that I know I can push through that I know I can push through anything. I redefined what failure means.
Failure now means doing anything other than what truly brings joy to my soul. Bliss is success. Anything else is decoration.
About the Author:
Te-Erika Pattersonis the Publisher of MySavvySisters.com, the leading empowerment blog for women. She is also the creator of The Rebuild Your Life Project, a women’s empowerment outreach that demonstrates how to survive life’s most unnerving life transitions. Te-Erika is the host of Embrace Your Fantasy, a Youtube channel with more than 500 videos that deconstruct life’s inconsistencies while offering tips for mental strength. She has two sons, Saidon and Solomon and is currently living in Los Angeles.
Source: Expanded Consciousness