If you follow me on social media, then you’ll already know that over the weekend I took photos for the website and social media use. And if you’ve been following for any length of time, you’ll also already know I basically never share photos of myself. Like ever. Especially on social media. Normally I stick to sharing only photos of my art and inspiration, but lately I decided I wanted to change that. Two years ago this blog and website were just about my art, but in recent months it has started to change into something else. That’s mostly because I’ve started to change as well.
I’ve grown in many ways over the last year. I’m a better artist, businessperson, and overall creative being. This growth took a lot of work (like we discussed last week) and that work is ongoing. I decided I want to share my journey, the whole thing not just art, with the world. So that means embracing lots of areas in my life including all the works in progress. One of the areas I’m always working on? Learning to “own it”. Even as I’ve improved, I still have moments where I question myself. Am I a good artist? Am I a good writer? Am I even a decent human being? Aren’t I just a failure and a fraud? You know how it is, that stream of thought that does nothing but bring you anxiety and stress. So then why does it happen and why do I keep putting myself through the wringer?
Well, because I’m scared to be my best self. I’m terrified of owning 100% of who I am because then people can judge me for it. I fear negative critiques. I lose sleep over the idea of someone calling me out. Yes, I know how utterly ridiculous that is. But I’m just human. And I know I’m not the only one who has these insecurities, so to all the other people out working on owning it: I’m with you.
As soon as we started taking photos this weekend, I seized up. I acted really awkward. I had absolutely no idea what to do with my hands. Which is odd considering I worked as an art model throughout college. Somehow this felt way different. And I realized it was because this photo shoot was about me. I wasn’t just another body standing there for students to draw. I wasn’t one of thirty different faces a photographer was looking at. We were taking photos for me to share with the world. To draw attention to myself, and what I do. When that realization hit me I noted that this is all part of learning to own it. So here are some of things I’m learning to “own” as part of being my best and true self:
A couple years ago, I had to learn to own my art and not be terrified of what others think. Even now I have issues with this, but I’ve gotten over most of it. I am an artist. I own that.
This last year, it was hard for me to tell people I own my own business. I didn’t think of myself that way, because I was convinced I wasn’t good enough. But, failure or success, I am a woman striving to succeed in starting a creative business. I own that.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I love it so much I pursued a Master’s in creative writing. If you look back through any of my childhood journals, you’ll see countless records notes on all the books I was going to write. Even if I haven’t written all those books and I’m currently swimming through a stream of rejection letters, I’m still a writer. I own that.
And finally, that I’m someone who has a message worth sharing. I own that.
Now this list could go on and on. There are many other aspects of my life and who I am that I’m learning to love 100%. I question my abilities as a parent and a wife. I’m basically never comfortable with my appearance. I have a terrible love/hate relationship with my body. All of these are additional areas in my life that need work. And I’m okay with that. If I could pin down the most important lesson I’ve learned this year, it is that it’s perfectly acceptable to not have all the answers. To not know exactly what to do. Growth as a human being doesn’t happen in a single spurt.
You’ve heard me say this over and over again. I’m absolutely positive you’ve heard it from hundreds (if not thousands) of other people…but life is a journey. Not a single journey either. It is one with many different courses and outcomes. We all “wear many hats” as the saying goes and each area of our life is it’s own unique journey. With it’s own unique struggles. My hope for myself, and others, is that as the new year approaches I can take the time to appreciate how far I’ve come in many of my journeys. I want to take a moment not only to own who I am, but the work that went into it.
We often spend December thinking about who we want to be in the next year. I think we should take a second to appreciate who we are.
That being said, there are countless things I’m excited for when 2018 finally rings in! I’ll be creating and selling more cards in my Etsy store as well as a few additional products (if you want the insight on all this early, sign up for the mailing list!). In addition to art, I’ll be launching a writer’s group (more on that next week), which I’m so unbelievably stoked about! I’m working with an amazing and talented woman and fellow creative. If you are a writer, have dreamed about being a writer or are simply curious make sure you check in back week for more details. There will also be a revamp of the website so wish me luck on that as I’ll be spending an enormous amount of time searching Google for answers. As always thank you for your time, the space in your brain and for being here with me.