the email sticking out of the inbox was short, headed "why you should fail (and how to fail well)". humorous how the power of failure has become such a prevalent theme in current inspiration seeking (my own). failure has owned me these past few months. paraphrase, email says "failure is painful, but also useful. best way to grow, only way to really learn. signals when to change course and gives us experience." failure has been using me like a punching bag. it has darkened all of my past successes and my hopes for the future. it should be the seasoning for my future advances, but instead it has painted my days with self-doubt.
perhaps rooted in some deep childhood cliche, i recall early dances with failure and struggles with perfectionism. as an elementary schooler i once drew an entire ream of identical pictures of a simple red barn, literally thousands of times i recreated and discarded my ideal image. in the end i gave up and settled for a wholly less-than-perfect rendering, for which i won a prize at the fair. (the lesson in that is obvious, but it still haunts me HOW MUCH paper i wasted in the process). i was trying to get a picture up on the family fridge, the supremely coveted gallery space, when in practice my efforts were all turning up in the trashcan. hindsight being what it is, had i communicated how much i wanted my work to be prized at home and not tossed out like common garbage, it may not indeed have escalated to a thing. any road, time to shake off the all-grownup case of the `not good enoughs` and get back on the bicycle.
if the lesson against perfectionism was learned all those years ago, than what is the new lesson from failing at starting a business, a family, a new life in a new country and the career i desired? perhaps it is how to fail well. to have grace under fire and to be forged in the flame, not to care what others think, to turn inward and seek the core. perhaps i gained the gift of perspective, to see how minimal my personal suffering was in the grander scheme of things, less than a drop of water on a pond. that failure is a fleeting thing. that i will emerge stronger.