Celebrating the Wrong

This post is gonna have a lot of awesome family photos. Well… one specific photo, recreated in some form or fashion every year.

Click any thumbnail to enbiggen.

2003 k and q hwd sign

My glorious stepson Quinn has been doing a summer visit to Hollywood every year since 2003 (Keith traveled to Michigan to be with *him* prior to that, because explaining “vacation” to a two year old, then a three year old, is tough).

2004 k and q hwd sign

When Keith meets Quinn at the gate at LAX, after the hug and the “I love you,” there’s a reminder from father to son.

“We’re gonna get ten things wrong today. Let’s find out what’s first!”

2005 k and q hwd sign

First of all, that’s amazing.

It gives a kid who has a natural tendency toward fear of failure permission to not just fail but to know the failure is coming and that it’s meant to be celebrated.

2006 k and q hwd sign

Next, can you imagine how freeing it would’ve been to be parented like that?

Oh my GAWD, when I think about how hard I was (Was? Past-tense here, Bon? Really?) on myself growing up, when I think about how often I white-knuckled through in an attempt to hold everything together in my cracking-apart family, when I think about how I measured success as a 99% or 100% ONLY and everything 98% or below was abysmal failure… I imagine how powerful it would’ve been to hear something like that from a parent.

2007 hwd sign

“We’re gonna get ten things wrong today. Let’s find out what’s first!”

If instead of hearing, “Get it right,” and, “I don’t think that was your best,” and, “Don’t fail at this,” I had heard THAT… wow. Who knows? Maybe I’d be a totally different person.

Or maybe I was wired to be a perfectionist and a few words giving me permission to fail wouldn’t have had an impact anyway. How can we know?

2008 k and q hwd sign

Point is, though, there’s amazing freedom in being told it’s not only OKAY to fail — it’s expected. Because really, it *is* expected. We just sometimes punish ourselves a great deal for it happening.

And maybe we can stop that. Even at the age of — in my case — 45.

2009 K and Q hwd sign

What ten things am I gonna get wrong today? Lemmethink.

I’m probably gonna wait too late to pack to fly to Atlanta. I’m definitely gonna overpack. I’m probably gonna stay up too late and be exhausted for my flight. I’m sure I’m gonna forget to pack something I’ll wish I had with me — even though I have a list and even though I’ll overpack. I’m gonna squeeze in more work than I should for a day before travel because I feel I owe every last bit of me to others and will keep very little for myself despite needing some rest due to recent health challenges. I’m gonna cancel out on pole class at the last minute rather than getting one last amazing workout in before being out of class for a week. I’m gonna snap at someone on my team — most likely Keith — for what’s NOT done, because I believe that having “everything” done before I leave will make my travel less stressful (rather than trusting that my team will get plenty done while I’m gone because it’s not my “watch” that gets stuff done). I’m not gonna eat well. I’m definitely not gonna get all of the showcase industry postcards mailed out, which means they get to travel with me to Atlanta. And I’m probably gonna drink a half-cocktail more than I should at the end of the day.

2010 K and Q hwd sign

Is that ten? I could easily come up with ten more.

And here’s the thing: I’m still a wonderful person. I’m still a powerhouse of productivity. I’m still gonna have a successful trip during which I get to connect with some fantastic people. And if I’m lucky I’m going to survive returning to a place from which I long ago escaped for good reason. Heck… maybe not just survive. Maybe I’ll be better for all I get wrong while I’m there.

2011 K and Q hwd sign

More importantly, I’m gonna have another day after this one in which I’m gonna get another ten things wrong.

Then another. And another. And another….

2012 k q hwd sign

Now it’s starting to feel delicious!

Now it’s an adventure!

Now I cannot WAIT to find out what I’m gonna fuck up!

2013 k and q hwd sign

Wow.

Fifteen years ago, Keith came into my life and he continues to improve it every day. Every. Day.

2014 k and q hwd sign

I’m significantly stressed about what I’m facing and the idea that I’m not just GOING to get ten things wrong today but that I’m SUPPOSED to do so and that it is an ADVENTURE to find out what those things are going to be is some of the best news out there.

2015 k and q hwd sign

And Quinn turned out pretty awesome, huh?

So. What are YOU going to get wrong today? Will you let me celebrate with you?

Comments are open down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Love,


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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13 Comments

  1. Lucy Russell March 22, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Love love love love love love love love this (get the idea!) Sharing this FAR AND WIDE!

    Reply
  2. Gena Lewis March 22, 2016 at 4:53 am

    This is awesome advice! I wish I had this growing up! Thank you for sharing such a powerful truth!

    Reply
  3. MCJ March 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Whatever you forget to pack for Atlanta, I either have extra or can find at the 24 hour Walmart they just built in EP and Amazon Prime for fast/free delivery in case of non-Walmart emergency supplies. I also stocked up on gluten-free snacks. And if all else fails, Dwarf House soothes all wounds. Love you and can’t wait to see you.

    Reply
  4. Bex Carney March 22, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Aha! Yess! Of course! A great reminder for those of use who are extreme perfectionists and can’t shake it no matter what. Breathe. I WILL get 10 things wrong for SURE!!! Moving on πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  5. Allie Smith March 22, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Bonnie, my love, trust, respect, faith and joy in knowing you is endless!! <3 Here we goooo: 1) i'm not going to put this wall of clean laundry away today 2) i'm going to let dishes pile up in the sink 3) i'm probably gonna have a cocktail before 5pm and then have many more after that 4) i'll get a parking ticket 5) i'll let housework and procrastination get in the way of desperately needing to get on the forum to give other Ninjas feedback and love 6) the kitty litter that needs to be changed won't be 7) i'll be very VERY hard on myself for not completing my task list today 8) my mom or best friend will call me and i'll be too stressed to talk because I will feel so behind on everything and I will likely snap at them during our brief conversation. 9) i'll leave the apt 5mins too late to be at rehearsal 10mins early, calm, and collected like i prefer to be 10) i'll break a very sweet guys heart

    Reply
  6. Jonathan Gaby March 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    If I knew that I had permission to fail and that I would fail, I probably would be less hard on myself and be more free in my pursuit of my craft. Thanks, Bonnie for the great reminder. Keith must be quite the guy!

    Reply
  7. Laura March 22, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    This is so freaking amazing! I love how it rewires the perfectionist in me too, Bonnie. πŸ™‚ Love you guys so much! Thank you for sharing your stories and discoveries with us!

    Reply
  8. Remy O'Brien March 22, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Wow Bonnie
    From one perfectionist to another. It never crossed my mind to be ok failing but its awesome.
    Because if I’m not failing I’m probably not doing what I need to do especially in this business.
    My fail today was to stay away from carbs. Have a great trip

    Reply
  9. Kathleen O'Neil March 23, 2016 at 2:21 am

    So, does crying as I sit alone reading this in the airport count as failing? Because this one is hitting all my buttons this morning. Thanks for the permission and the reminder.

    Reply
  10. John Austin Wiggins March 23, 2016 at 5:57 am

    This is wonderful, Bonnie, and a bit uncanny, as earlier this week I came across a short interview with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates in which he talks about the process of writing being about failure. What he’s says easily applies to actors and other creative individuals:

    https://youtu.be/6voLZDYgPzY

    Have a great trip to Atlanta!

    Reply
  11. Constance March 23, 2016 at 9:41 am

    & I love Keith #nopants!!!
    Y’all rock!

    Reply
  12. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie June 19, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Wow! Thank you EVERYONE for these amazing comments! And thank you for your patience with my getting back over here to comment. My life has been a wee bit overly-busy. Working on making more space for everything right now! πŸ˜‰

    Lucy — Love love love love love YOU! Thank you for sharing this! <3

    Gina -- *I* wish I had this growing up! I can only imagine how much more freedom I would've felt, especially early on. Oh well.... making room for it all now. πŸ˜‰

    MCJ -- Love you. It was SO good spending time with you while I was in Atlanta!

    Bex -- Yeah, babe! Are you still celebrating all that breathing? Are you celebrating the wrong???

    Elizabeth -- Thank you! And hooray! Hope it's having great ripple effects in your world.

    Allie -- Of course, I texted you when I saw this comment, so you already know how much of an impact your list had on ME. I swear, if we don't spend more time together going forward, it's purely criminal. I hope you see this. <3

    Jonathan -- He is. He really, really is.

    Laura -- Thank you for loving what BOTH Keith and I bring into your life! I'm bummed I'm not bringing him with me to New York this year but I cannot wait to see you again. {{{hugs}}}

    Remy -- You have me smiling so broadly right now! I adore you!

    Kathleen -- Aw, hon. {{{hugs}}} I cry so damn all the time lately that I couldn't begin to define what's failure. Button-pushing comes easy at some point for this particular gal (and I guess for you too, at least at that moment in March) and I am sending you all my love! Hope you are continuing to give YOURSELF permission. That's what counts.

    JAW -- Thank you! And thank you!

    Constance -- Keith #NoPants... yeah... you've got a soft spot in your heart for him, I know. πŸ˜‰ You rock TOO, babe! XO

    Reply

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