Brutta Figura e Bella Figura

Posted on December 13, 2021

Please tell me you’ve stayed up all night thinking of that one sentence you shouldn’t have said at a dinner five years ago, because I know I have. Way too often.

From wearing the ‘wrong’ shoes to picking a major not suited for us, mistakes are constant in our lives, big or small. How do we overcome feeling the shame and guilt of messing things up, and not waste hours dwelling over it? The brutta figura, as Cristel Carrisi says in her TEDx talk, “to lose face” in Italian. Across cultures, making mistakes is viewed very differently.  On one hand, it is encouraged and even glamorized sometimes, whereas on the other hand, it is  taboo, as Carrisi talks about, being half Italian. So who is right in the end? Is making a mistake a total failure, or a learning experience? 

I’ll tell you my personal opinion, and I may be totally wrong. I absolutely doubt that anyone has their ish together, and if they do, then they’re faking it really well. But that’s just my opinion. No one feels 100% okay all of the time, and that is perfectly okay. Some days will be harder than others, but what matters is that we learn and grow. Mistakes will never stop happening, as cliché as it is, they are stepping stones and in the end what determines the magnitude of a mistake is what we take from it. 

It is easier to talk about the importance of mistakes from a point of overcoming them, as Carrisi says, than when you’re going through the process. I will be totally honest with you, I have no idea if this major is for me after switching, or if I picked the right city to study in, or even if I’m moving into the right apartment next month, or if I even should. And I’m stressed… but in a month all of these decisions will have been made, one way or another. I’ve made mistakes before, and I’ve made decisions before. So how do I determine if they’re mistakes or the best thing that ever happened to me? Will I ever know? Or will I understand the choices years into the future? 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this way, and I’m not the last person to ever feel this way. The choices we make lead us on a path we are meant to be on, no matter the choices we make; our choices simply determine which path it is. I don’t think there really can be a ‘wrong’ answer, so much as choices that open new doors. 

Mistakes are a part of it all, just trust yourself and whatever it is you believe in I think the right things will fall into place. Making mistakes is so human of us all, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Just grow, learn, and keep making mistakes, make a bella figura, a beautiful impression, of your mistake. 

It will be okay, I promise.

Posted in Blog.

Reem is a Third Culture Kid from Saudi Arabia, and has lived in six different places her whole life. She is currently a third-year New Media transfer. She’s passionate about books, dance, and is open to trying new things. She wants to make a positive impact in some way through community work and advocacy. Fiction writing has always been her forte, but she’s coming back to be a blog writer this year!