How to Be a Failure (Part Z)

The Final Episode

Annie Trevaskis
6 min readOct 26, 2023


The letter Z created out of glittery purple make-up. The bottom line of the letter Z is formed in part from the make-up but mainly from a cosmetic blusher brush with a purple handle.
Photo by Zyanya BMO on Unsplash

I began this Failure series in August 2022 with no idea where it might take me, and I gave no thought to how I would negotiate difficult letters like X and Z.

I did know that I wanted to write about failures. I feel more connected to people when they get vulnerable and honest about their mistakes and struggles, and I wanted to feel connected to others.

The thing is, I realise now that I chickened out. I opted for humour rather than vulnerability.

I confess I even toyed with the idea that I might switch this episode up and end with a Z success. I even managed to think of one. Instead, I offer you this and hope you will read with soft eyes.


I have failed at Zoom in that I have utterly failed to embrace it.

When my number 3 egg, Harry, moved to Australia in 2017, everyone assured me that Zoom would help me to feel connected. It did the opposite.

It left me tearful every single time, and we stopped.

I think I have figured it out. The problem with Zoom is that it gives the illusion of being close to someone when you aren’t. Talking to Harry on Zoom just intensified the knowledge that we were thousands of miles apart and made it infinitely worse for me.

I miss him so much. We all do.

Black and white photo of a handsome young man in a park
My number 3 son before he left for Australia. One from the family album.

But there is another problem with Zoom: I cannot bear to see myself on a screen.

I know that I am not alone in this. I also hate to have my photograph taken.

Why is this? Why do so many of us struggle with viewing ourselves as we appear to others? I know that sometimes it has to do with vanity or a desire to show only the side of us we like to present to the world. But I wonder if there is more to to it than that.

I wonder if it is because we all find it difficult to accept ourselves just the way we are.

I cannot be the only one who has been shocked to catch sight of myself in a mirror and…



Annie Trevaskis

I came, I wrote, I conquered. That last bit might not be true, but at least I am putting up a good fight.