Do you remember the episode of Friends where Monica takes a job testing a new product called Mockolate, a nasty chocolate substitute that fizzed in Monica’s mouth?

This isn’t that sort of mockolate.

We’re doing a secret Santa thing at work and, well, it’s no secret around the office I am a fan of dark chocolate. (I genuinely enjoy chocolate as dark as 78% cacao) So, I checked my mailbox this morning and lo and behold I had a delightful bag of Dove dark chocolate waiting on me. Not a shabby way, by any stretch of the imagination, to start one’s day.

Delicious, sure.

But those little sayings on the inside of the wrapper? They can sting.

The one I had this afternoon says: “Don’t stop until you’re proud.” Thank you, Lauren  N. from Colorado, the lady behind the platitude. I’m positive you intended this to be uplifting and you’re probably a sweetheart and a half.

But this wrapper is mocking me. (Hence mockolate.)

I had a lot planned for this month. A LOT. But then I nearly sliced off the tip of my finger and it’s been a lot slower recovery than expected, but since the cut runs across a joint, I suppose that will naturally be slower.

I’ve written what I could, but that hasn’t been much. It was painful and slow and way too aggravating—spoiler alert: I don’t write well when I’m annoyed. Then we had a Southern blizzard, which means we had five inches of snow and ice, and our power was out for two days and that halted my writing and most of my reading.

Now I find myself contending with the holidays.

It’s felt like I’ve stopped. I mean, I haven’t. At least not by choice. And I will start again—the vicious cycle that has been Twenty-Eighteen.

But that’s not all of what bothers me.

One, why would you quit once you’re proud? What sort of endeavor is best left at a one-and-done? A proud parent certainly doesn’t stop parenting. A proud artist doesn’t put away the paint, nor would a proud musician put away their violin. Now perhaps it does mean we shouldn’t stop writing that book until we’ve got something we’re proud of, but that certainly isn’t how it felt. Not to me. Not now. Not piggybacking a string of bad luck and days of pain.

Two, sometimes it doesn’t matter how proud we are of our work. It doesn’t matter how much work we put into our work. Sometimes it just feels like the only smart thing to do is give up…which makes us—or at least me—feel a little less proud of my work.

Stupid chocolate platitude inside the chocolate wrapper. Chocolate is never stupid.

What’s a woman with a bag of chocolate to do when she’s aggravated and feeling a little down? She has another piece of chocolate, of course.

The saying on the second piece was a much nicer platitude, strangely also written by a Lauren, this time from Wyoming—and I’m resisting all temptation to see if a third piece of chocolate would have a saying from yet another Lauren. Anyway, this time the saying reads: “You are never too old, and it is never too late.”

I like that one much better.

It’s a good thing I believe that one because as long as it takes to find any traction in this business, I may be in my retirement years before I feel I’ve succeeded. Which, if you think about it, is actually a pretty optimistic sentiment because it implies I won’t give up well before my retirement years.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am proud of my work. No matter how proud, though, and no matter how horribly difficult this writing thing can be…I hope I never give up. And I hope you don’t either.

And that seems like a good place to stop. ♥


3 thoughts on “Mockolate

  1. alfageeek says:

    I’m not a religious person, but I do find it interesting that “pride” has become something aspirational while it’s still the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. This is from the wikipedia article on the subject:

    In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is essentially better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aila Stephens says:

      I see what you’re saying. I guess I think, as with most things, there are degrees to pridefulness. I can see how someone can take pride in their work which causes them to strive to do better, but also someone who is so prideful they are incapable of acknowledging someone else’s accomplishments. While I would applaud someone for taking pride in their work, the latter is unhealthy.


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