A few nights ago I began thinking about making mistakes, and I titled the blog post and I accidentally pushed the update button and published it to social media with nothing written. Yes, that was a mistake. In the past, something like that would have gotten me incredibly upset. I would have possibly cried because I felt that the mistake was a mirror to my capabilities. I have dealt with feeling slightly below the bar my entire life, partially because my older sister is a genius and partly because I compared myself to her. I was the athletic one, she was the smart one. I even did this after getting my Ph.D. I have always sought her praise, I still do.
I prone to making mistakes, in spelling, grammar, articulating emotions, relationships, and even in futile things like grocery shopping– you know when you buy the wrong thing only to realize it when you get home?. Yes, that is me.
You see, I make mistakes all the time. Right now as I write this I see:
I usually blame it on chemo brain or the diving accident I had when I was 16 (I hit my head really hard and broke my neck). I’ve had consistent memory loss because of it- some say that is the key to my happiness. I can’t remember a lot of things unless there are photos or constant reminders, or they mattered so much that they hold space in my heart and not just my brain – the last theory is entirely mine and has no medical backing <3.
Making mistakes in a forum such as this is scary. Making mistakes in front of anyone that judges you is scary and everyone, to some extent, judges everyone else. The idea that through my mistakes I am making myself vulnerable to the eyes that read this has made me consider how much fear some people live in constantly. I especially empathised with my students, still so young and impressionable, and so exposed by social media to judgment by their peers- kids can be really cruel.
You see, I do care about what I write, and I do care about what the impact I say might have, but I don’t spend countless hours upset about mistakes anymore. I might have, in my teens and early twenties, but now mostly the opinion I care about is of those I love. The approbation that I seek is from them, did what I say have an impact? Is it valuable? Can they take something from it?
It is true about the philosophy of your thirties, at least for me.
If it doesn’t nourish your soul let it go.
Since I know I imperfect and make mistakes it is quite refreshing to be able to say it. It’s like accepting my scars are reminders of battles I fought and won.
Mistakes/scars don’t take away that we are divine creatures full of ample opportunities to show our wonder.
So here is where it gets interesting, who is my spell check? Obviously, I am grateful for Grammarly’s application because it helps me identify the errors when I type. But my question is who is my spell check in life? Who is yours? (Please comment below)
Who has the ability to subtly underline my mistakes so that I can learn from them and evolve? I would say that the final “answer” is me, but the reality is that those people that I mentioned above, the ones I love, they are my spell check. They are my tribe, even when I am a nomad and I leave them far behind physically, I am linked to them.
They are all over the world, scattered in a beautiful connect the dots that outlines the strings that pull my heart. They deconstruct different sides of me; the friend, the lover, the ex-lover, the daughter, the mother, the sister, the loud mouth, the sensitive one, the stubborn girl, the yogi, the survivor, the friend I’ve only met online, the caretaker, etc and through them I get a glimpse of my best and sometimes worst self. They are able to remind me of my core when I don’t feel like I have one anymore.
So, when I make mistakes, because I know I will in the upcoming months of my life, I will them see each error as winning at this game called life. Mostly because each “fail” means I tried something new, and partially because they are stepping stones to a better version of myself.
Even with all of the imperfections I have and as imperfect as my life has been – it is my favorite life, and my tribe is the best ever and I am incredibly #grateful.
The root of joy is gratefulness.
It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.
– David Steindl-Rast