My tenth grade art teacher {Mr. Morgan} used to say that artists should never draw with erasers. In fact, they were banned from our desktops. "It's the best way to draw confidently" he said. He encouraged us to embrace our mistakes. And emphasized that what initially looks like an error, although unexpected, can sometimes turn out to be the best part of your work. And it was liberating. 'Cause by being unafraid of mistakes, you strangely make less of them.

Mr. Morgan spent a lot of time teaching us to look at our drawings in new ways, and to incorporate accidents into the picture. Frequently he used examples to demonstrate how most blunders, once you take a step back, are never as bad as they appear at your first {and much closer} glance.

I was reminded of this the other day as I was tempted to dwell on my life's blunders. And wishing I could relive certain moments and do them differently, do them better. And part of me wanted to erase all those embarrassing, uncomfortable, awkward and damaged moments that make up so much of my past. And instead replace them with the kind of polished, composed, collected and flawless responses I wished them to be.

And then I remembered Mr. Morgan. And thought how he might be disappointed in me. Because I don't think that lesson was meant for sketching alone. I think we are meant to live without erasers. Even {maybe especially} without the desire for erasers. Because the most beautiful parts of life, the most beautiful parts of ourselves, often unfold out of error.

 
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