Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Celebration of Failure

I have failed so much in my life, both publicly and privately, professionally and personally, in any way you can imagine I have failed at least once but most often multiple times and more than once making the same mistake over and over again until I learned from it.  I have no doubt that I will continue to fail in the future.  This fact used to be upsetting to me and something that I would instinctively want to hide and deny.  Many times when I failed I felt like I couldn't even admit it to myself, instead making justifications as to why other variables out of my control had set me up to fail and that I was just a victim of circumstance, and even then I still managed to beat myself up about it. 

This is a topic I think about a lot, and I have been meaning to write about it for so long.  I think because of that I find it hard to write this post.  My relationship with failure is such a huge part of who I am now and I can only hope to articulate it well enough.  We all have our own unique relationships with failure.  I'm just here to share mine.  

"Failure is not an option"

I think we have all heard that one before, and I think we have all said that to ourselves.  Well guess what?  Failure actually is an option!!  And it's actually a pretty great one.  When I started drawing again I just wanted so badly for my drawings to reflect what I actually was seeing in my head.  This was easier said then done and after so many failed attempts at this I became so fearful to draw because I knew I would fail.  I froze every time I saw something I knew I couldn't draw.  This led to much self loathing.  It got so bad that everyday I would just totally freeze up and find myself staring at a blank page for minutes.  Finally I had enough and one day I looked down at a blank page in my sketchbook and said to myself "This page is for failing".  I gave myself permission to fail, and I made it my main directive to fail and only fail on that one page of my sketchbook.  Suddenly I felt like I had been freed and I drew things that I never would have attempted otherwise.  I wasn't frozen.  When it became my goal to fail I felt so free and I drew so horribly and it meant I had succeeded!  By giving myself this freedom I stopped being scared, I stopped beating myself up.  Self loathing ceased and was replaced by encouragement.  I kept giving myself permission and the goal to fail weekly.  Eventually my "fail" pages in my sketchbook became the ones with the most energy  and the best drawings.  Now when I look at a blank page the permission to fail is automatic and I think that this was the main key to my improvement in my drawing over the past year.  

This is just one small way in which I have embraced failure in my everyday life.  So in honor of this I thought I'd share a page of my sketchbook that I think is just about the worst!  I'm not ashamed of it, I know that this one page doesn't define me and I also know it is an important and successful step forward.  

GO FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!

I actually wasn't expecting to fail on this page but after I drew it  I was really not happy with how it turned out!  So here it is, a failed page.  

When I saw this couple I felt apprehensive about drawing them, but I gave myself permission to fail and I went for it.  I ended up really liking this drawing.  Technically it's nothing special but theres something about the energy of it that I feel like I captured successfully   

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