(this title is dangerously close to 'epic fail'...)
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Marina Deller Logo
(this title is dangerously close to 'epic fail'...)
Failures of epic proportions

Failure - it's a part of life. But dang it stings.

Whether small or large, failures can hit pretty hard. They can knock the wind out of us and make us question everything from our Scrabble-playing abilities to our careers. 

Failure is on my mind this week more than usual. Likely because last week I was rejected from two literary journals (which I truly admire), missed out on a competition, and didn't achieve a research grant I had spent weeks (and a chunk of money...) applying for. To say I felt crap at the news of these failures is an understatement. I felt like trash.

But here's the thing, even if I feel like trash I know that I am not trash. My ego is a little bruised, my heart a little sore. But failure always makes me think back to something I memorised back in my undergrad days: failure means I've tried.

And it's true! To fail you have to have tried in the first place.

There was a good chunk of time where I wasn't submitting my work anywhere, wasn't 'putting myself out there'. So by extension I also wasn't failing... but I wasn't achieving either. Failure right now is an indicator that I am throwing my hat into that ring. That I have belief in myself. And while failure could potentially throw me in the opposite direction, I choose to believe in myself even harder. Because, why not? Why not champion myself. Why not celebrate the failures as a sign of effort, energy, and creativity?

Failure is also a sign that you are learning. Why on earth would I expect myself to be perfect at everything I try? Why, when mistakes have been the foundation of learning since... forever? As my friend's lovely kiddo said the other day, 'I grew my brain... because I made a mistake'. Mistakes and failure mean growth. That is, if we are kind to ourselves when failure occurs. If we view it the way this wonderful kid does.

So, after these 'failures', I had a quick sulk (it's healthy to sulk a little I'm sure)  and then made a chocolate cake. Then I read a few chapters of a favourite book. Then I posted about the failures online (because I'll be damned if I become part of the aggressively success-orientated spaces of academic Twitter and Instagram). Then I took a deep breath and moved on. Submitted another piece of work. Crossed my fingers and toes. Knew that if this one is a 'failure' too that I will be A-OK. That I have backed myself and my work yet again - and that that is a beaut thing.

Have you failed at something lately? How did you view that failure? How might you view it if you see it as your 'brain growing'?
Until next time, friends!



P.S. If you read my previous newsletter about 'gratitude lists' you might also be interested to know that I also keep a list of everything I submit my writing or work to... and then the failures/rejections as well as the successes/acceptances. It's a great way for me to see how hard I'm working, no matter the outcome. I recommend doing this if you want to be like 'damn, I'm proud of me'.
Things that were *not* failures recently :-)

A bangin' new 'do

I was desperately in need of a haircut and Archie & Co. came through with this cute shag. And, yes, I watch enough British TV to hear shag as a dirty word. Still gonna use it.

Archie & Co. killed it; I appreciate that they have a student discount and that their salon has Immaculate Vibes (TM). I also appreciate that since they cut like 2/3 of the bulk out of my hair I haven't been getting as many headaches. Thick hair problems, am I right? Anywhoo - this haircut is definitely a win.
Zucchini chocolate cake
Yep, you read that correctly. We have carrot cake, pumpkin pie... so don't turn your nose up at zucchini chocolate cake just yet. It's incredible. It's been a favourite of mine since I was little and we grew zucchinis in our garden. If you've ever grown them you know they multiply like rabbits.

I have to thank my pals for the surprise zucchinis left on my doorstep for National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbour's Porch Day
Crammed 3 years of research into 3 minutes

Over the past few weeks I've been prepping for the Three Minute Thesis competition. The comp involves fitting your PhD research into just 3 minutes - with your only tools being your voice and one static image. This was so much harder than I anticipated! But I'm very proud that I managed it... and I actually won my heat in the first round! If you'd like to watch me (and other fab PhD students) participate in the first 'heat' of the 3MT competition,  click here.

Thrifted some gems...
I couldn't resist snapping up some goodies at Savers on a Sunday (20% off for students!). I filmed the thrift trip and posted my finds as two separate reels on Instagram. Am I hip yet?? At least I feel super hip in my new Mickey Mouse shirt. Let me know if you've thrifted any treasures lately!
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