Today, I decided to look back through what I wrote in June. It's the first time I've done that since I wrote it. At the end of the first chapter I found a glaring (and embarrassing) mistake. It turns out that I didn't completely remove the pre-formatted text so the words "chapter one text here" are present. Ooops. I'm sure there are a ton of other really stupid things I could (and probably should) have edited out. I cringed, felt my face turn red and reprimanded myself. My sister was right, I should have had someone else edit this before publishing it. At the very least I should have taken my time editing instead of rushing to get it done in a week. Oh well.
Here's the thing though, this book reflects my life so far and my life so far has a ton of mistakes. I know that everyone makes mistakes, but I seriously feel that I make so many stupid and careless choices sometimes. It baffles me to think of how many times I ram myself into the same wall over and over instead of just opening the door and walking out. To be honest, I'm secretly a little proud of that me-shaped dent in the wall though, and that I've been able to knock myself out so many times and still get up and try again. The point is, life is full of mistakes. Some of them hurt more that others. Some are harder to let go of than others, but they are part of what make life... life...
In honor of life and all it's messiness, here are some of the best things I've learned from making mistakes over and over again:
1. I'm not perfect and I like myself better that way. Perfect is boring and it makes people feel uncomfortable or like they have an impossible standard to live up to. I constantly strive for improvement, but I think I would be horrified if I ever reached something that resembled perfection.
2. I can survive. I've done some really dumb things that I have left me feeling really crappy over the years. Sometimes I thought I would die, sometimes I wanted to; but I'm still alive. Which teaches me that even when I feel weak, dumb, and useless; I still am able to keep going. I don't know how. It seems miraculous, but sometimes in those weakest moments there is this grain of strength that just can't be put out. Realizing that is freeing. It means I don't have to be afraid that the world will end the next time I make a horrible mistake. It might hurt, I might cry, I might beg to just let me give up; but then I'll get up and try again instead. Don't know why, but I will and one day I'll look back and even possibly laugh.
3. "Happy Accidents" make the best kinds of art. Sometimes mistakes add that element of unexpected beauty that no planning could ever come up with. Maybe some mistakes aren't so accidental after all.
4. Other people will survive. Sometimes the mistakes I make don't only hurt me; they hurt others too. This thought still scares me, but I've made enough of these mistakes to learn something from them. That grain of strength that is in me, is also all around me in the people I encounter. People get hurt, but then they get better too. I'm not saying its okay to go around hurting people, but its reassuring and inspiring to see that when you mess up and hurt someone else they can grow stronger and fly higher because they also are powerful and resilient, and beautiful beings.
5. The best stories come out of mistakes. There is no denying this. If everything ever goes perfectly there is very little to say. The best stories come from every thing going wrong and some how finding a kind of "right" within them. Like the time I tried to do a handstand and almost broke my neck instead. There was a lot of tension up until then and so much laughter afterwards. Of course the laughter was mixed with tears and with me wincing from the movement, but I have to say that was one of my favorite memories. Also the time I locked myself out of my apartment and had to try to climb through the bathroom window made a great story that involved a lot of bruises but also a lot of laughing. Laughter is a wonderful outcome of making mistakes.