I shouldn’t be grouchy about responding to any of these prompts, because I wrote many of them, and I think I wrote this one (Andrea [my Writerly partner-in-crime] — please correct me if I’m wrong. And if so, you’re in trouble. jk, jk).

I don’t like making mistakes. I spent last night thinking about (worrying, lamenting) something that had happened at work that I had not anticipated–one of those moments where one expects an entirely different reaction to the one one received and so one is left (I am left) shouldering the burden of having made an error. A mistake.

I have always prided myself on my ability to avoid making most mistakes, and I suspect some would say that is actually problematic, that I have turned myself into a tightly wound coil of perfection who avoids this piece of my humanity and perhaps cannot shoulder the fallout that comes when, inevitably, that humanity begets error. Part of that might be true, or all of it, even if not all at once, but it has not come to be out of some obnoxious insistence on being a certain sort of person.

I say that the qualities that make people can be flipped like a coin. The things we love about someone can feed the things that vex and irritate us–the balconies of our strength can become the basements where we suddenly find ourselves chained up. I am wired as a person who observes, gathers, connects. And it is because of this that I write the types of things that I do; it is because of this temperament that my obsession, my access point to grandeur is through the ordinary things around me which I can see and pull into myself and swirl around and push back out in writing.

But it is the part of me that can do that, and do that (I like to think) for good, as a modest gift to the world–it’s from that same place that mistakes become tumultuous, bigger than their generally perceived borders. Because I have observed and taken care to apply what I’ve seen, what I’ve gathered. And because every small thing is connected to a bigger picture. My bigger picture. No moment is without its synapses, no matter how much people want to say–in an attempt at comfort, Jackie, it’s not a big deal.

There is no slope to my back. Nothing rolls off. I am a bog, and everything sinks, stays. Decomposes.

Today’s prompt: Write about making mistakes: How it feels to make a mistake. What happens after. How you move forward. What’s your perspective on mistakes and the role they play in life?

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