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Dear Weakness: Better Luck Next Time

Dear Weakness,

I’ve decided to tear up the truce we signed yesterday.

You are:

  • The fault line and the fissure
  • Tourette’s that never ends
  • The flinch when people stare at me
  • The mourning for what morning used to bring
  • The bridge that gives way to the plunge
  • Quixote without Dulcinea
  • The hidden flaw in the priceless diamond
  • The pills before the prayers
  • The lie that should never be uttered
  • A tone-deaf symphony
  • The sword that never gets pulled out of the stone
  • The theory without the test
  • Abelard without Heloise
  • The fumbled film reel between acts
  • The 200 lb deadlift
  • The collision in sight of the finish line
  • The tears that will not dry
  • The book without an author
  • The frilly, laughable, adorable, periwinkle threat level
  • The elongated shadow
  • The banshee without an audience
  • Nagina without nag
  • The dependence on an outline
  • The deck with no aces
  • The lifting gloves
  • The White Rabbit with nowhere to be
  • The resolution without the resolve
  • The finger that points at everyone else
  • A tongue twister with no vowels
  • The reification of everything worthless
  • The tic without the talk
  • The selfish
  • The subconscious kamikaze
  • The lack of compassion
  • The lazy
  • The easy way out
  • The crack in the looking glass
  • The typo in the tattoo
  • Greed
  • The extra gravity that tries to pin me to my bed
  • The abuser
  • The lack of focus
  • The dwindling attention span
  • Me first
  • The Gatling Gun full of blanks
  • The puffed-up blowfish
  • The final failure that kills the dream
  • The incomplete
  • Not
  • Welcome
  • HERE

You will find me an incredibly disagreeable playmate, particularly when you’re not invited to the game. Come closer. Reach for me again, please. Enjoy your stumps.

I am driven by a fury that you can only pretend at and I am propelled onward by a love that makes me stronger than anything you can imagine.

Love of life. Love of work. Love of people. Love of becoming. Love of self. Love of breath. Love of love. Love of family. Love of writing. Love of lifting and breaking things. Love of challenges. Love of my son and my wife and my parents and my siblings and my friends and my books and my readers and my ideas and of all of the days and years and decades to come that WILL NOT INCLUDE YOU.

My joys are many, but none is more exquisite than the feel of your rancid carcass beneath my heels.

I will twist your many heads off, knock your teeth out, and crush them between my own fangs. I’ll dance around the bonfire where you crumble and blacken like parchment after I ignite it with the giddy thrill of another day where I am more than I was yesterday.

You want my tears? I cry acid rain. Give me a kiss. Welcome to the nuclear winter of my loathing.

Stay away from me and mine. I have empires to build, and you are not included in the plans, but if you persist, there is a dungeon reserved for you where you will wear a dunce cap and each fish heads for the rest of my life. You can share your cage with Unhappiness, Regret, Wishful Thinking, Bitterness, Victimhood, Defeat, and Apathy.

As long as I live, you will only exist beneath my feet. You have only the power I give you, and I give you only enough to slink away, if you go now.

I am a planet. My stubbornness is the meteor which is entering the atmosphere.

Move or be caught between us. On second thought, hold still.


Author’s note: I wrote this in about five minutes, basically in the order I thought the words, during the worst hours of this week. When I was done, I was shaking and my lovely hair was standing on end. It still hasn’t come down.  It was good for me.  Now I’ll calm down.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sylvain OBEGI January 8, 2010, 4:15 am

    I just have to say: congratulations!
    You share with us a strong commitment to change your mindset and your actions. That’s the seed for results.
    I really admire what you do, thanks for inspiring us.


  • Laura Cococcia January 8, 2010, 5:31 am

    Well said Josh. Thank you for honestly sharing your strength by writing down the details, comparisons and metaphors = through it (weakness, Tourette’s ) became an object for me, not a concept. ‘Dependence on an outline’ will stay with me for a long time to come.

    You’re always an agreeable playmate, in my opinion.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 8:19 am

      Give it time. Eventually you’ll be repulsed:)

  • Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave January 8, 2010, 7:22 am

    Excellent! Today is an especially mixed anniversary for me. My second child died 23 years ago today at not quite 5 months of age. The days, and years since have been a sometimes battle between caving to the still residual, paralyzing grief and anger–and the resolve to BE ALIVE. Alive as a human, an artist and all the other components that make me, me.
    What I’ve won–is the awareness that the scars we accrue through pain can become something of an armor. But only, ONLY if we keep moving, keep creating.
    I do not give up, I do not quit. And obviously, neither do you!
    Thank you!!

    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 8:20 am

      Wow Julianne, thank you. I’d be happy with a tiny fraction of your strength.

  • Todd January 8, 2010, 7:27 am

    Josh, I’m speechless. That was a powerful message, and I am in awe.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 8:23 am

      Before you get too in awe, remember, I’m the guy who tried to heat up an iron once by putting it on the stove.

  • Lisis January 8, 2010, 7:32 am

    Brilliant, beautiful, powerful, and unbelievably emotive. I love this, Josh.

    I have to tell you, there’s something I’ve learned from you that I never learned any other way, and that is: even anger has its place. I’m a non-violent, pacifist, softie, hippie kind of person, all “love and hugs can heal everything” and “never give in to the dark side.” But that view, which has served me well for many years, is a little too simplistic, isn’t it?

    I never thought I’d type these words but, sometimes anger is the appropriate response. Not so much in a way that hurts others, or even yourself, but in that way that fire rages and engulfs an entire forest in order to start anew… to bring forth new life, new power, new possibilities. There’s nothing gentle, and peaceful, and loving about a forest fire, and yet… sometimes it is necessary.

    I have reveled in this “burn” of yours and perhaps I, too, have been reborn from it. Thank you for your hard-earned strength, and for helping me understand another side of the story of life.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 8:22 am

      Lisis, we have a lot in common, including this. I don’t direct anger at other people, and that’s the only time I feel that anger is really, really inappropriate, unless they have really done something awful and deserve it. Most of the time, anger is a waste of time.

  • Daniel O'Connor January 8, 2010, 7:45 am

    ONE CUT!!!



    Well struck Josh

    Domo Arigato


  • Heather January 8, 2010, 8:06 am

    Dude! Welcome back! 😀 I am so deeply touched, impressed, and awe-inspired by this post that I am printing it out and sticking it on my fridge so that I can read it every day. I will also make copies for work and for my bedroom, where I work out. If I could afford to have this tattooed down my back, I WOULD! Thanks and glad to know you’re gettin’ yer groove back!

  • Jay Schryer January 8, 2010, 8:23 am

    Um yeah…what Lisis said. I second that emotion. Way to kick ass.

  • Christa Avampato January 8, 2010, 8:27 am

    This post left me with eyes wide and mouth wide open. What an awesome testament of strength and power. Use that anger, Josh!! So glad you’re back.

  • Debbie Ferm January 8, 2010, 8:37 am

    It’s great to see you back, Josh, although your guest poster’s did a marvelous job!


    Debbie Ferm

  • Stacy F.S. Weitzner January 8, 2010, 8:41 am

    This gave me chills.
    (And that has nothing to do with the Arctic blast currently settled on top of Texas!)
    Thanks for the inspiration and the reminder that strength can become more resolute in the face of (that rat-bastard) Weakness.
    (And really, what did W expect? Did it not know it was dealing with the World’s STRONGEST Librarian? Not the sharpest tack in the box, is it….?)

  • We Fly Spitfires January 8, 2010, 9:11 am

    Loved this post! So simple yet so inspiring! Rwar!!!

  • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) January 8, 2010, 9:14 am

    “Welcome to the nuclear winter of my loathing.”

    Give em’ Hell Josh!

  • Joe DeGiorgio January 8, 2010, 9:44 am

    Nice, Josh…through our weakness, our strength is forged, eh?

  • CHip January 8, 2010, 10:43 am

    My favorite one was “My joys are many, but none is more exquisite than the feel of your rancid carcass beneath my heels.” This is some of my favorite stuff of yours Josh.

    yesterday I went on a bike ride up through the burned out area where the big Los Angeles station fire raged this past year. We got some great photos, but the first one I posted was a self portrait. I talked about how it is the diversity of our experience that makes us unique. http://www.bigrhinodog.com/self-portraits/

    Your nemesis, and your reaction to it is the story. While I hate your trials for you Josh, I am so grateful that you have them, because without it we likely wouldn’t have your voice either. Your work gets stronger every day, you already offer so much hope and inspiration to so many people.

    Your afflictions may be ‘Quixote without Dulcinea’, but without it you would have been the road-runner without the coyote. Keep going Mr. Hanagarne, we all know you’ll win in the end.

  • Stephanie Smith January 8, 2010, 11:27 am

    You are the Phoenix, fury topping despair and melting it into stones that will lift you higher each time as you stand over the rubble and proclaim your victories!

  • Justin Matthews January 8, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Josh, this is one of your best posts EVER. Your strength is amazing and contagious. This is one of those posts you read and think I need to shut up my whining and get over it already.
    You are quite the motivator. I particularly like “Reach for me again, please. Enjoy your stumps.” Pure poetry man.
    Thanks for the inspiration

  • Omar January 8, 2010, 1:03 pm


    I have been a silent reader for some time now. But this one post has brought me out of my shell to tell you that this is simply, well, simply inspiring.

    From someone whose life you have touched.

  • Andrew Frenette January 8, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Welcome back, Josh. That was powerful. The images, the wrath, the sheer ire…. I don’t want to meet you in a dark alley any time.

    Keep on keeping on.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 3:52 pm

      Andrew, I’m a big pushover, as long as you’re a person. Wrath is only for abstracts and disorders:)

  • Rita January 8, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Josh – I quit smoking 3 days ago and this post has helped me in a strange sort of way – LOL. Keep on keeping on…….You’ve got great strength!!!


    • Josh Hanagarne January 8, 2010, 3:52 pm

      Good luck! Day 4 will be in the books soon.

      • Rita January 8, 2010, 3:54 pm

        Yep! I am excited – just have to learn to live without those cancer sticks – they were such a habit! Reading is what helps the most. 🙂

  • Lori January 8, 2010, 5:52 pm

    I see you.

    My MS may orbit my massive planet. She will never be allowed to land.

    Welcome back, strong man.

  • Srinivas Rao January 8, 2010, 8:07 pm


    I’ve had the week from hell with despite many things going well. I got in a car accident, I got my car keys stolen by a homeless guy on the beach and I just learned that my landlord is going take a hefty chunk of my deposit thanks to a roommate who damn near destroyed my apartment. Somehow, these words are quite comforting. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Tiffany January 8, 2010, 8:41 pm

    That’s it, Josh! I remember when I was struggling with a severe depression, I saw it as the enemy. I mustered every last bit of hope that I had left and believed…that I would win. And so will you. In fact, we’ve won already. The battle is in our minds and in our hearts, not in our bodies that are working against us. Your battle is already won. Hold on to the victory – savor it.

  • Terrence January 8, 2010, 9:03 pm

    Whew Josh!! Dude your are fierce!! Your are making that weakness pee on it’s self!! Damn!! Man I can feel that fury out here in chicago!! I did mean to ask you about your blogging services how are you compensated for your work, up front or so much before and the rest later let me know
    I want to get in (to problogging) in 2010!! get it.

  • Kori January 8, 2010, 9:45 pm

    I am so impressed by your voice. You were such a hidden talent as I sat by you in lunch seminary. Unbelievable. I had no idea!