Mistakes by Angie Mack Reilly

(c) August 10, 2008

Mistakes happen….it’s OK

Mistakes are a part of the creative process as well as the human condition. The first artistic mistake that I remember making was when I was in grade school. I was doing a paint by number of the cartoon character, “Underdog”. I was working on the nose and went outside of the lines with my black paint on accident. So I tried to smooth out my error and messed it up even more. I remember being so angry with myself for not being able to “paint by number” perfectly and stay in the lines. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.

Artistic types often have perfectionist personalities. I know I do. I always tried so hard to be the straight “A” student, the “star” athlete, the “favored” employee, the “perfect mother”, the “most beautiful wife”, the “best” Christian.

I have failed at some time or another in all areas and the person I disappointed the most was myself. After 37 years, I am trying to learn to lighten up on myself. It’s impossible for anyone to be perfect.

In art, I have found that mistakes are a good thing. They seem to speak, “take this project in a different direction”. “Don’t force it. Don’t try to fix it.” As I have learned to embrace mistakes and admit that they are there, I have found greater peace. Some of the mistakes in my artistic en devours have actually turned the piece into something much better and different from my original plan.

I must remember that I, as a human being, am a work of art. Could it be that the mistakes that I make in life will somehow turn me into something better? I do know that with the more mistakes I have made, I have learned to be more humble and more merciful, loving and forgiving toward those who have failed.

Mistakes happen. It’s OK.

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