Celebrating failure is a difficult act and an important one in the process of creating our lives. I share my subjective experience of failures in school, science and business: mediocre grades, leaving research, championing culture as important as science. As a bi-racial, African American, lesbian, cis-woman of a mixed class background, learning to see life (personal and professional) as part of a collective societal and historical performance has changed my emotional experience of failure and made it a useful ally in creating my career. What makes a failure? When and how do we know we failed? Are my mistakes and failures mine, ours?