ATTN ALL WRITERS & FRIENDS OF PASS/FAIL!

We’re dedicating this post to giving you an easy guide to how to get involved and how to help! We’re excited to announce our spring open call for submissions + contributors! Do you have a story about success/failure/the in-betweens that you’d like for us to publish? We’d love to see it!

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Chelsea Francis
Vulnerability of Change

I’ve always found it funny how much we as humans immensely crave change, yet when we sense it coming or are in the thick of it, all we want is familiar stillness. For as long as I can remember, I’ve continually travelled down the curvy road instead of taking the most direct route. Many of us grow up being told by our parents that we can do anything we want in the world, and we grow up to forget this truth as we fall into monotonous adult routines. Nearly everyday I have to remind myself, “Katie, if you don’t dare to take a chance (move to Austin, get a one bedroom apartment, try this recipe, etc) then you will never grow, never experience true failure, never succeed, and you’ll stop learning about yourself and the possibilities of “what you want to be when you grow up.”

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Chelsea Francis
Asking for a Friend with Blair Stokes

3) When was the first time you remember feeling like you were successful?
Successfully getting a job outside of Florida and having the audacity to move to Texas was a massive turning point for me. I’d lived in Florida for 23 years, but I wanted to challenge myself and make a complete change. (Related: I also cut off all my hair just before moving.) It was scary, but I was thrilled at the prospect of doing something new, becoming someone new. The ability to learn, change, and grow is what I consider success. For me, it’s definitely not a singular destination but an ongoing process that can take so many shapes. And that means there are countless more exciting ways to succeed.

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Chelsea Francis
Hold on Loosely

It’s no secret that I am a fan of self work. This morning I read a fantastic newsletter that started a paragraph with, “Thankfully for myself and for everyone else, I started therapy,” and I uttered in agreement. I started working on myself during a period of time where I felt like I was good enough, and then realized that I didn’t believe a single word of that statement. In the course of the few years, I’ve learned a ton about myself and now that I see it all spelled out, not choosing a word this year seems logical. Choosing a word, for me, gave me a single building block of working on myself for an entire year and probably led me to starting therapy and trying to figure out who I was at my core. Now I’ve sort of taken that up as a habit. I like digging in and seeing whats there now, even when it’s hard.

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Chelsea Francis
Asking for a Friend with Lauren Murray

My relationship to success is very parallel to my fear of failure. While I am a very driven person, I do get scared of success pretty often & then here comes the anxiety. This is something I am actively working on trying to cope with though, because I don’t want to regret not chasing an opportunity because I was scared of success.

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Chelsea Francis
A Blue February

There was the blue light from my phone mixed with the blueness of Twitter which revealed Victoria Chang’s sign, “Leave more room for the accidental.” I wrote it on a blue sticky note and stuck it on my mirror, a daily reminder to make space for both good and bad things to happen.

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Chelsea Francis
Learning to Live Life on The Edge

There have been some interesting changes afoot in my life recently, and I’ve been curious about where the ripple started. What was that first pebble that once it was dropped into the water’s surface, it created these undeniable effects that I feel today? And these effects have been wondrous, so naturally I’m curious about what it was that sparked such positive changes.

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Chelsea Francis
How I Learned to Crave Criticism

Like many people, I went through years of peer-editing on school papers. From middle school to AP Literature senior year of high school, there was always the dreaded day where every student had to bring in a printed copy of their first draft of an essay, put in a pile to be shuffled up, and then receive a peer’s paper to edit. I would sit there with my colored pen (usually purple), scanning my classmate’s work and feeling both excited and nervous. Excited because I love to edit. I love discovering grammar mistakes or suggesting an alternate word to give a sentence more impact. I’m a total writing nerd.

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Chelsea Francis
Thoughts on Success from Someone Who Goes to Therapy to Talk About It

I know behind every incredible photo shoot, there’s me scrambling to make things work amidst all of the things going on behind the scenes. I know, intimately, all the times that I’ve failed. But what I’m realizing more and more is that success isn’t the absence of failure, it’s something that stands all on it’s own. It’s all the times you show up anyway, trust that the universe has your back and you focus on making something you’re proud of.

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Chelsea Francis
Thoughts on Failure from a Psychotherapist

Failure is a powerful word that carries so much weight in our society. Understandably, there is a lot of fear around it because it's invariably tied to one's own value. In my psychotherapy practice, I hear many narratives about perceived failings; a relationship falling apart, losing a job, not getting a desired promotion to name a few. He or she will think “I failed at saving my marriage, I failed at making my parents proud because I didn't get this perfect job or I am a failure because my income isn't high enough.” Sometimes I know failure is being felt without it being explicitly stated. The person in front of me will have their shoulders rolled forward, head slightly tilted down communicating pain, sadness and shortcoming.

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Chelsea Francis
My Month of Yellow

I believe I first got the idea of keeping a color journal from reading Maggie Nelson’s memoir Bluets. In it, she explores and questions her love of the color. Each vignette, another fact or anecdote of blue in Nelson’s life until slowly, it unfolds that she is using the color to talk about the grief and hope of heartbreak.
It made me wonder how I could use something other than words to explore my emotions, wonder what would surface if I put such a strict boundary around my journaling. And so, I chose the color yellow and decided to paint each day of January in it.

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Chelsea Francis
The Lessons I've Learned by Touring

Figuring out where exactly I am, is my perpetual question. While touring I never found the physical discomfort of sitting in the backseat or sleeping on a stranger’s floor, nearly as uncomfortable as I found sitting with myself. Like most of us, I deal with my share of crippling self-doubt and anxiety, but with none of my ordinary “real life” settings to blame my bad mood or attitude on, I remembered just how responsible for my inner world I really am.  And taking responsibility for those emotions, good and bad, is something I struggle with.

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Chelsea Francis
The Secret About Goal Setting Is Not So Secret After All

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been taught to work towards my next goal. As a graduate of an all-girls school and the daughter of a female CEO, it is baked into my DNA to constantly reach higher – to fight for the next promotion, the next raise, the next title – to always be moving in an upward trajectory. Even the language we use to talk about careers and successful women has always indicated that we should be moving up – climb the ladder, break the glass ceiling.

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Chelsea Francis
Nuggets of Hope: Navigating a Toxic News Cycle

I’ve always been a public crier. I’m not talking town crier, running around yelling, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” More like, I cry in public. And I hate it. If something overwhelms me, the tears come streaming. And forget it, once they start, they don’t stop. It has long been my least favorite thing about myself, because it can be so embarrassing and emasculating. At a funeral or wedding for someone I hardly know? Yup. Feeling vulnerable and exposed in front of a colleague, or worse, a superior? Sure. How about standing in front of a classroom of 30+ 14 year olds? Unfortunately, yes. 

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Chelsea Francis
How I'm Learning to Live With Uncertainty

Ever since I can remember, I've held such a gnarly grip of expectation and fear of uncertainty around nearly every experience. No joke, the night before Kindergarten I was panicked because I didn’t know how to read. No amount of consoling from my parents telling me that I was going to school to learn exactly that was even remotely comforting. Questions like, What if I bad at it? and What if I couldn’t do it? quickly spiraled into, “What if I’m not worthy of love?”

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Chelsea Francis
Letting Go Is Magic

I’m not programmed to be a “free spirit.” I don’t typically enjoy just “letting go,” “going wherever the road takes me,” or whatever else people more fun than I say. I love to plan, organize, and, above all, have control over everything. Perhaps it’s because I have an obscene amount of Capricorn in my natal chart or perhaps it’s because I’m an only child who likes things her way. Whatever the case is, I have a habit of stressing over situations I am not in control of. If there’s a chance of failure (i.e. not going the way I want) I need to be in the driver’s seat, literal and otherwise. However, my therapist blew my mind when she gave me yet another piece of life-changing advice. She told me to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t try to control what I cannot.

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Chelsea Francis
Going All In On (someone else's) Success

Empathy is getting a lot of buzz these days. And really, it darn well should. Lately, I’ve had several conversations about empathy. For us, in all of those conversations, empathy came down to humans connecting and being understanding of other humans, even if they haven’t had the exact same experience.

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Chelsea Francis