How to Be a Failure (Part U)

Making the mistakes so you don’t have to

Annie Trevaskis
3 min readMar 12


Two oranges set against a pink background. Each orange has a cross, made from black tape, in its centre.
Cropped photo by Anna Shvets on Searching for failure photos only brought up ones I have used before, so I tried searching for “boob” instead.


I was all of four years old when my mother decided to dress me in some frilly knickers and send me off to Sunday School. I think you call it Bible Class in the USA. Neither of us had any idea that I was autistic with sensory issues.

The ruffled underwear was probably made from something highly flammable and now illegal, but this was long before they had invented health and safety. I felt as if a million spiky things were digging into me, and I couldn’t bear the sensation, so I did the only sensible thing and removed them. Halfway through the class. The teacher did the only sensible thing and had me removed from the class.

My mother tried again with the posh underwear the following Sunday, and I had a meltdown. Autistic meltdowns are like temper tantrums on steroids. My sister laughed at me, so I bit her, and she had to go to hospital for a tetanus jab. I may have failed at underwear, but that little stunt got me out of Sunday School forever.

The teacher was probably relieved. I was an annoyingly early reader with a precocious vocabulary. Just before I removed my underwear, she tried to sell me on the Adam and Eve story. I failed to Understand it was metaphorical and questioned far too loudly whether, if we were all descendants of Adam and Eve, did that mean that we were all the products of incest.

Photograph of a UPS delivery van
Photo by Ty Lee on Unsplash


While waiting for my puppy, Shen, to reach the age she could leave her mother, I had far too much time on my hands. I filled it by Googling the best lead, the best dog bed, the best collars, the best identity tags and the best dog bowls.

Searching online, I found a dog bowl that was the very definition of THE BEST. It was made from recycled glass. I hate the taste of water from anything but glass, so I set my heart on it. The only trouble was that it was only on sale in America, and they wouldn’t ship to the UK.



Annie Trevaskis

Retired UK acupuncturist, autistic, curious seeker of truth and laughter. The older I get, the less I know. I write sporadically. She/her