A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

One Full Basement


Remember 5 Full Plates? It was this theoretically great idea I had (key word: theoretically), where I would band with four of my dearest blog-inclined friends, and we would challenge each other and improve our lives and find corners of time in which we might care about nutrition and neatness and cleanliness and BEING GOODER HUMANS.

I, of course, chose to begin this in November, 2009, a time when I was, unbeknownst to me, ever-so-slowly bleeding to death internally. I failed, righteously, at every challenge, as I slept more and more every day, and waxed paler, and waned tireder, and slept and slept and slept and slept, until I was passed out 16 hours or more a day, thinking, wow, is this what 40 is like? Because if so, 40 SUCKS.

Good times. Good times.

Then my doc figured out what was wrong with me (House? Is that YOU?) and after a couple of surgeries, I was fixed. But the recovery, she was long and she was boring, and I failed MORE challenges. It didn’t help that the five months I had spent ever-so-slowly bleeding to death internally had put me five months behind on ALL my work, especially A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY.

I missed my book deadline AND I was tired of publicly failing to do EVERY DAMN CHALLENGE. I hate failure, I LOATHE public failure, and that’s all 5FP was to me by then. A written record of me failing— spectacularly and repeatedly. SO I called it. Quit. Walked off. Canned 5FP.

WTH do you call this thing, anyway?

January 2011, a year later, I was teaching at VCFA and I went to the gym every morning. I saw this THING there, this piece of gym equipment, one that had completely defeated me back in January, 2010. I remember my trainer made me get on it, and I had to lift my legs out in front of me ten times. I did maybe four and started crying. I struggled and wept and snot came out and I eventually slumped down to the ground. I couldn’t get five.

I remember saying to him: This is not me! I am not this girl! I don’t cry at the gym! I DON’T NOT GET EVEN FIVE AND CRY!

He said: You have never had a trainer. We push you harder than you would push yourself. It’s my JOB to make you cry.

Guy didn’t know me. And I guess I forgot me, because I believed him.

So in Vermont they had this exact abs thing, and I remembered how it had defeated me. I looked at it and thought, Oh, that’s the thing I can’t do.

I avoided it, but it sat there mocking me every day. Two days before Vermont was over, I went and got on it and thought, I will do five. If I have to take breaks, fine. I will do five or die trying, and I WILL NOT CRY.

Understand, I am 15 – 20 pounds heavier than I was in January, 2010. I gained weight lying in bed after the surgery and stress eating while I finished the LATE book….and so far, in spite of my ongoing and fervent dedication to exercise, I have not been able to get back to my pre-surgery weight. This is part hormones and part, um, chocolate.

So I thought five was a pretty noble goal, considering. I climbed up in the thing…and I knocked out ten before I broke a sweat. Pushing myself, I got fifteen more. I didn’t cry. I didn’t even THINK of quitting. I did kinda think of filling up a flour sack with angry, rabid badgers and sneaking up behind my ex-trainer and popping it over his head….

After I did the 25th, I hung from the bars, panting, and all at once, the machine and 5FP connected in my head with an audible, interior PING.

When I failed ALLLLL those 5FP challenges, when I cried after 4 reps on the terrible machine, I was REALLY REALLY REALLY FREAKING SICK! It shocks me every time, to realize, still. I was SICK. I ALMOST DIED! GAH! I thought, Maybe all the things that seemed SO impossible in 2010 are not…actually all that hard. Maybe I was just…. Sick.

So the very first picture you see, at the top of this entry, that is the SLOUGH OF DESPOND my basement bookroom, the hideous pit of despair that utterly defeated me to the point that I didn’t even TRY on the Spring Clean challenge, and that picture was taken on THURSDAY. And here it is NOW, on Saturday:

A winner is me!

Dear Failure, Please to suck it. Love, Joshilyn.

Dear Plates, This kinda makes me wonder what I can UNFAIL next. Temptingly, Joshilyn

30 comments to One Full Basement

  • Zoe

    GYAH, “please to help count” the ways in which I adore you, cuz I don’t have enough appendages of my own to get the job done.

  • You are a gem, and full of notfail. Love you.

  • Oh, also, 2010 sucked hairy donkey balls, and I call a do-over on the entire year.

  • Gray James

    WAIT! Does that mean we can start FFP again? ‘Cause I liked it. You guys made me do stuff.

    Also, you are made of WIN.

  • You seem to eat a lot of SWEET LEGEND CANTALOUPES. Sounds porny.

  • Mir

    Oh crap. I was really kind of planning to wallow in fail this year. Are we resurrecting now because you are full of WIN? (You were actually full of win all along, it was just, um, trapped under some other stuff.)

    Your basement is gorgeous. As are you. Happy early birthday, Tulip.

  • Beth R

    Sorry, I have to put my foot down: NO DO-OVERS on 2010. Let’s just pretend it didn’t exist and move forward. I’d love to see 5FP’s come back now that people are feeling better and not DYING and all.

    Isn’t it amazing how much easier anything can seem when you’re healthy/not stressed/what-have-you?

    Oh, and what that’s called? My trainer called it “the rack”. I think he was only partially kidding 🙂

  • gilly

    thank you.
    Just ….. thank you.
    Also …..Wow.
    ALso Well done.

  • Jessica

    You are awesome.

    That is all. 🙂

  • Em

    Know what is sad? I am not dying at all, just full of fail. Pity pity. But I like to watch win! So go! Win! Tell all about it! I will live vicariously!

  • Kitty

    Oh yes, please! Bring back FFP! So glad 2011 is looking like all win for you. 🙂

  • You are wonderful and pretty and congratulations! (Wait, bad English. Um…you’re pretty? Yes, yes, that’s it.)

  • JulieB

    I am in love with Kira’s description of 2010. I would add that the donkey balls were not only hairy, but they had been smeared with feted cheese. Just sayin.

    Happy Good Health Ms. J.

  • liz

    Yay, yay, yay you! (And I mean that absolutely seriously and in the best possible way.)

  • Dani

    FFP yes please yes!!! Also, if Facebook is being honest to me, then happy birthday!!! Last, I hate that stupid ab-leg-lifting-thing machine at the gym.

  • And for the win, Joshilyn Jackson! Go you! And do re-try some challenges to unfail at. Because I know for truths that you are a very unfailure.

    Ha to the flour sack of badgers!

  • Kacie

    You many not have met your goals for your challenges, but we beloveds never saw “fail”. Instead it was lots of “perseverance” and “try”, which is a lot more win than many of us had/have. We love your stories and we love you. Glad you’re back in it for 2011.

  • YAY for you and definitely absolutely flour sacks of angry, rabid badgers for your trainer! If they revel in making you cry, they are NOT doing their job, they’re just being mean because they can.

    Beautiful, beautiful basement! I look forward to seeing what you do with this un-sick year!

    Oh, and um, Happy Birthday!

  • You are so WIN even when life hands you plates of FAIL. This gives me hope that, I too, can one day hold hands with WIN and maybe consume it and have it blaze outta my pores where I can then shine WIN upon all that surrounds me. Alas, I will keep trying, and in the meantime, live vicariously through your epic successes! YAY!

    Oh, and it’s your birthday? HAPPIEST OF DAYS TO YOU!

  • DebR

    Happy Win-full Birthday! 🙂

  • linda j

    Happy Birthday I hope that the next year will be your bestest year ever. You never lost a challenge. There are no losers with friends. You just won at being the sickest and doing every challenge. How many of us can say we did them and almost died in the process?

  • Oh, how I heart you for this. And I did a lot of internal bleeding too and then totally blamed myself for not writing a book. That was the point at which I suddenly discovered a deep and abiding love for brussels sprouts, and liverwurst started tasting better than cheesecake. Which is just sad.

    Maybe I should go do some abs stuff now? I would clean my basement, except I don’t have a basement. But I will unload the dishwasher in your honor, o non-slob.

  • edj

    I love this post! It’s truly amazing how off our perspective can be when we are right in the middle of something. I have had similar experiences, where I think I’m fine but just happen to be failing, due to my sucky personality or something, and later I look back and think, “I was so… whatever it was (not physical illness, but stress or grief, etc) … then; why was I so hard on myself?”
    Anyway your basement looks fantastic and I never thought you actually failed at 5FP anyway, just so you know.

  • Kimberly HdM

    The now soundly defeated ab torture device is called a Captain’s Chair. Don’t know why it’s called that, but there it is. Happy Birthday!

  • Brigitte

    We tried to tell you, but you had to fully and gloriously see it for yourself. I am so happy that you can see your UNfailingness now!

  • Does that mean that FFP will be back? I just want you all to go over there and write so I can read it. . .you people crack me up.

    Your basement is so, totally a win!!!

  • JennyM


    I am working on making 2011 the year of Win myself. It is turning out to be sort of difficult.

  • Aimee

    Of COURSE you are full of win! Duh 😉

    I would love it if you guys brought back 5FP. I’ve really missed it.

  • Helene

    Your so full of WINNING! you might be giving Charlie Sheen a run for his money and this makes me glad ^_^ xo