The Intimacy of Failure

Reylia Slaby
3 min readJul 15, 2022
Photography by Reylia Slaby

The mind sits thick as mud, and I feel self-pity begin to rise within my body. Will it always be like this? I am impatient for the things I can see happen, and I wonder when this feeling will pass. This is a poignant process, one we are all familiar with.

To Fail.

I have been meditating on my own limitations. They are in front of my immediate vision daily, and it is almost as if I have to physically carry them out of my sight to continue on peacefully with my work.

Of late, it feels that I have been in failure mode more than reaping fruit. Removing oneself from this thread of thought proves to be a challenge. It feels like I am in a constant pull, between belief in my abilities and the absence of this belief.

It is a discomfort that must be swallowed, despite leaving a metallic taste in the mouth. It sits deep in my stomach for days.

Honesty is a big component. I tend to be quite timid in my wording, and very rarely leap to my ideal photo concepts, but rather tiptoe around them, almost as if I am asking permission, making sure their existence wouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

I often feel the need to sublimate the work I do, not fully embracing the concepts I desire to shoot, but rather, focusing on ones that are more digestible for an audience.

I feel that the delicate emotions that come after failure are ones that I need to observe and understand. My relationship with it has never been good, with sentiments and memories that echo from my childhood, with my father saying things such as “Don’t ever ask any questions, or you’ll sound stupid.”

I have never been in a place where failure was acceptable, and as a child often simple failures never seemed to go unpunished.

And so adulthood has arrived, with failure never far from my doorstep. The knock is anticipated. Sentiments such as these are not uncommon for many adults of this generation. I imagine that a lot of us feel we are still children parading around in adult costumes, wondering when our deception would be unveiled. While very unsure of what we are doing, we are in a constant state of trying to decipher the world as it unfolds before us.

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Reylia Slaby

Reylia Slaby is a Fine Art photographer, writing about her love for creating, and how others can use art in their lives reyliaslaby.com | Insta @reylia.slaby