“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
People are always telling me that they would love to make things, but that they just aren’t creative. And it really irks me. Yes, some people are born having an abundance of creativity, but for the rest of us it is something we have to work on. And we don’t like to work anymore than we have to. Fears and self-doubt keep us from starting. If we do make it past the starting line we often stop before we finish because it isn’t turning out the way we expect it to or it isn’t as easy as we hoped. This is where a friend accused me of going all “Artist’s Way” on her. Most of us have an idea of the finished product in our heads and that is where we go wrong. What happened to enjoying the steps along the way? Learn to embrace the mistakes and the messes… get your hands dirty. I have found that once you start moving the ideas flow faster and freer than before.
Back when I first started Chicaloo I was making jewelry and one of the things I found fascinating is that the pieces I was unhappy with were the ones people bought first. This showed me that we are the worst judges of our own work. It encouraged me to finish a piece before I decided it wasn’t good enough. As the years have progressed I have tried to apply the same thinking to new projects.
I will probably post more on this in the coming days because it is something I feel strong about, but I wanted to get these preliminary thoughts out now. Plus the other post I wanted to write on gratitude was missing something and needs a few tweaks.
Yesterday I wrote a bit about learning to balance my life. This is something that I have struggled with most of my life. I tend to become obsessed with things for no particular reason. Like now I have been playing Bejeweled for an hour at a time. Um, Bejeweled? Really? Yup. Even as I tell myself to walk away from the computer I justify saying “Just one more game”. Then when I realize that this silly addiction means that I will have to get a weeks worth of work done in one night I have a mild freak out moment. I think the inability to deal with time goes back to the days when I had 3 jobs and had very little free time available to me. So I had a finite amount of time to finish things and that was it. Wide open time freaks me out.
A twisted part of myself used to take pride in people’s shock that I worked so much at “real jobs” and then did my own crafty job on the side. When really I had no choice. If my schedule was completely booked solid I got nothing done. This was my self medicating, I am seriously lucky I didn’t turn to alcohol or drugs like many in my family have. Instead of drink I chose work. Once my part time job ended a couple years ago and I was left with only a full time job and the job of running Chicaloo I was at a loss. What do I do with all this extra time? It made me anxious and irritable. I still don’t handle it very well. And I end up burying my head in what ever silly obsession suits me at the moment. My dream is to make Chicaloo my full time gig and in order to make that happen I have to figure out how to get my Time issue in order. It isn’t as though I fail to finish things, but I could make it much easier on myself if I spread out the work. That is something to work toward, but it isn’t easy to change 20 years worth of behavior. Guess I just need to tell myself that even baby steps are still steps even if I wobble and fall down after the first few.
The last few months, okay the last year, I have felt a bit out of sorts. Struggling to find my direction and purpose. Certain areas of my life were amazing and others seemed to be crashing to earth at a rapid pace. It has been hard to balance the two. Slowly learning to say no to things I know deep in my soul won’t be good for me or my mental state. This is a big improvement for me.. a few years ago I let so much get to me that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It is never a good sign if you are sitting in a chair and vibrating for no good reason. I had to learn to put myself first, I like to refer to it as my Airplane Oxygen Mask moment.
There has also been a lot of learning to balance the social and business side of my life. So many weekends have been spent at shows and so many nights have been spent preparing for said shows. I feel like I have missed out on on the personal front. It isn’t easy because I am really an introvert at heart. The business side of interacting with people is easy once you learn to not take everything personally. It is the journey to that place that is tough. I am not normally one to share how difficult things can be for me, but I am now to a place where I can pause and reflect. My goal this year was to “Take Less Crap” in 2012. And for the most part I have, the key will be to take less crap from myself.