Falling on my sword

ImageIn 2003, I gave birth to a baby. Some people don’t know that about me because, sadly, the baby is no more.

Whenever I hear its name, I tense up. You never forget.

Back then, I was excited to deliver. I even quit my dream job with hopes of spending my days tending to this baby. Everyone rallied around me and more than 100 folks showed up to watch me give birth.

Let me clarify.

In 2003, I gave birth to a magazine. I felt God calling me to start a local Christian lifestyle publication called, The Sword. It was my pride and joy, my dream. Now, it’s gone.

Before The Sword made its debut, I was a features reporter at The Birmingham News. I remember when I told the higher-ups that I was leaving to start a magazine; they were generally concerned that I had lost my mind. I think they were Googling psychologists in order to get me some help.

I was young and on the fast track, then. I was being approached about writing gigs from folks from across the country. But, I was dead set on starting that publication. I felt I had a higher calling.

I launched the magazine to much fanfare. All the local TV and Christian radio stations picked up the story. Instead of writing news I was making news. My voicemail was packed to capacity with congratulations, offers to help, folks pledging money for subscriptions. But, interestingly enough, instead of being excited, I was freaked out. I was naïve and still very much the introvert posing as an extrovert.

I wasn’t a businesswoman or even a leader by nature. I was a writer with a desire to tell stories and who now had the very heavy weight of being a magazine publisher.

I unplugged my phone and hid for a while. With so much interest and support it felt like there was this great pressure to create something MAGNIFICENT. I became paralyzed by fear and thoughts of inadequacy. On top of that, I didn’t have any real business sense and was uncomfortable asking people to buy ads.

It was a train wreck waiting to happen.

Instead of buckling down and trying to steer, I closed my eyes and let go of the wheel. I disappointed my supporters, investors and myself. A part of me felt like Andrea Yates, the woman who drowned her five kids. My baby died at my own hands.

With a failing business and no other means of income, I had to move in with my parents. I remember that day well. It rained and rained and I cried and cried.

I didn’t want to go out in public because I was always asked about the magazine. What could I say? I couldn’t look people in the eyes and say, “I was too premature and inadequate to make a go of it.”

Ironically, no matter how much I would try to totally walk away from The Sword, people would continue to offer to help. Even to this day, I get emails from people who are interested in the magazine.

Ten years later, it’s still a sore spot, but it was a valuable lesson. The whole experience taught me a lot about myself: when the pressure is on, I have the tendency to be weak and a quitter. I don’t like that. So, when I feel the pressure mounting I need to recognize that propensity to give up and puuuuuush past it.

Over the years I beat myself up a lot for falling on my sword. But I think I am finally getting to the point where I can forgive myself and move forward.

Yes, years ago I gave birth to a baby. Yes, the baby is gone, but I am still alive and still have the potential to do something great. I fell on my sword, but I will get back up and live to fight (and give birth) another day.

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8 thoughts on “Falling on my sword

  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! I am the same exact way and I beat myself up for it all the time. I know exactly what you mean and how you feel. In my mid-forties now, and I find myself talking myself OUT OF THINGS because of my bad decisions from my younger days. I don’t even try anymore because of my lack of leadership, bad decisions from my younger years, and starting stuff only to quit when the pressure was on, or I “lost interest.” I am paralyzed now and constantly afraid to move forward with any thing. How do we overcome this?

  2. Great post! Something I’ve learned when fear tries to take over is the best cure is to do it afraid. Realize you have great support and it’s not weak to ask for help. It takes a village to raise a kid and it takes a group of supporters to develop a dream.

  3. Love your honesty Marie. I’m still living with regret for something I did 25 years ago. (When the going got tough, I quit. And hurt some people in the process.) It helped to read your post. I’d forgotten about The Sword. You’ve accomplished so many great things in your (young) life. We’ve got to forgive ourselves and realize they were lessons to learn…

  4. This was very brave – my husband had a business that failed and I feel still as if I am somehow responsible. Time to move on!

    I’ve added you to my blogroll – I don’t want to miss any of your posts.
    I’ve made my blog public again, so you can come take a look if you’d like: http://annajune.blogspot.com

    • I am just seeing your post. It was in the spam folder. Darn it. Yes, it’s time to move on so that we can create something great.

      I can’t wait to check out your blog. Thanks so much for adding me to your blogroll. 🙂

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