February 26, 2019

Should we only show our good bits or is there value in sharing our “mistakes, messes and failures”?

Emma Young, 21

Following a procession of bad outcomes both artistically and personally, I was once again reminded of a phrase I had heard; “Use your mistakes, messes and failures”. I had wilfully ignored all of mine up until this point. I lied about them, manipulated the situations to seem better and masked them altogether.

But now I think our failings have, not only a purpose, but a value- both artistic and social. I love to see first drafts of writings where people have scored out words or hastily changed the adjective and destroyed whole stanzas out of artistic rage, or where you see critical ideas and themes over-turned by a gradual change in thought that has happened from the editing of the beginning of the piece to the end, and you can follow it through the physical changes made throughout the text.

Even more importantly, it is a reminder that works of art do not arise elegantly and effortlessly out of a beautifully crafted clamshell like Venus at her birth, and neither do we. Art and self-growth are similarly ugly processes, but they should not be hidden away.

I don’t want to only see everyone’s polished works of art, I want to know their ‘mistakes, messes and failures’.