I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, if I’m being honest. Seeing as it’s been something that I’ve been struggling with more often these days. I think that begins to happen – the busier you get, the more clients you interact with.. you strive to be better with each one. So, what’s the fall back plan? You look to see what everyone else around you is doing. How do they remain successful? How do they handle their growing business? What changes are they making to continuously become better? When you’re in this “dark cloud” we’ll call it, it’s almost numbing. You don’t even realize you’re doing it until the storm actually hits and you find yourself drenched from all of the rain. Suddenly feeling terrible about yourself. Wondering where the hell that dark cloud came from.
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a vicious cycle. And if it’s happened to you once, it will probably happen to you again. So, I wanted to write this post both as a warning, but also as a template for how to handle yourself once you’ve been caught in the storm of comparison. Because the truth is- its okay. It’s normal. It’s a part of being a business owner and a creative. We strive for something that will make jaws drop, will fulfill our souls and the souls around us. It’s a lot of pressure, and with mediums like Pinterest and every other person having a beautiful blog – well, can you blame us for poking around? It’s become second nature. Instead of sitting in a quiet room by ourselves, or reading a good book to gain inspiration and get our creative juices flowing.. well, a click of the mouse is ten times quicker and way more efficient. But then, is the idea even really ours? Not quite.
Sure, just by seeing an image on Pinterest doesn’t mean you’re going to completely duplicate it and call it as your own. The way I use Pinterest or any other creative medium is to plant a seed in my mind. “Okay, I love this image. It speaks to me. Why?” – once I figure that out, I let it marinate for a while. Once I’ve come to the conclusion as to why that image stopped me in my tracks, I take those emotions and I create something off of them. See? I don’t take a client or a model and place them in the exact same spot, wearing the exact same thing, moving the exact same way. There is no satisfaction in that. Zero. That image is not mine. It doesn’t feed my creative spirit, and it sure as hell wouldn’t feel authentic if all of you gave me praise. So what is the point?
The point, is that we are all too hard on ourselves. The point, is that we’ve forgotten what’s important. THE POINT, is that there is too much to look at in the world of technology that it’s both a blessing and a curse. I’m not complaining, I’m one of those people! I put my work out for others to see. I use Pinterest, I dive into blogs head first every morning. But just like anyone else, I can get lost in all of it.
Do you want me to get candid with you? I feel like you kind of deserve to hear this if I’m claiming that this is a totally honest blog post, getting real and facing our issues. So here you have it – some of the blogs I’ve read, for instance a baking blog like this one, left me feeling convinced that I needed to be a baker. That I needed to bake cute things, photograph them, and put them on my blog. Okay, really? This is coming from the girl who put an aluminum bowl full of chocolate chips in the MICROWAVE to make it melt. I hardly even deserve to be in the kitchen, let alone trying to bake delicious little goodies and claiming that I’m a whiz. Yes, I can make lunch and dinner. Yes, I know how to operate the oven (I swear, I really do) but lord knows I CANNOT BAKE. So why am I pretending? This blog for a while had me convinced that I could make jewelry and start an Etsy shop and sell them. This one? Yep, had me convinced I could make little greeting cards.
It’s even gotten as ridiculous as thinking that I had to change my tone on the blog. Maybe you guys wanted me to speak/write as if we were frolicking through sunflower fields or swimming in a sea of feathers on a white fluffy bed. Do you catch my drift? Like this blog, or this one. I’ve even gone as far as to change color tones on my instagram feed before. I mean, HOW EMBARRASSING. But this is how the dark cloud gets. It sucks you in. You lose yourself, and it’s absolutely terrible.
The beauty, however, is that at the end.. when you crash and you realize that you’ve lost yourself entirely, is you come to find how much you’ve missed yourself.
You get it all back, slowly but surely. You find your own way and you create your own things. You begin to feel sick and tired of being sick and tired. Because lets be real – trying to be someone you’re not will make you both ill to your stomach and exhausted to the bone. You build up a sort of strength and energy about your own work, your own corner of the internet, and most importantly.. your own voice. This happened to me early on when I first started my business, but that was a different experience all together. I had no real ground to stand on. I hadn’t even really begun, or found my style. Now? This was more stressful than ever. I thought I had found my path and my approach towards my style of photography and writing. I thought I was golden. And then my mind interrupted a beautiful night of sleep and wrapped me up in the thickness of this shitty dark cloud, and just like that, I was lost. Looking to everyone else’s creativity for help, rather than my own. What a mess.
The moral of the story, is that I’m not a baker. I’m not a jewelry maker. I can’t design cute greeting cards. I don’t speak or write like I’m tickling you with a feather on your face. I’m not dark and mysterious.
I tell dirty jokes because I think they’re hilarious. I write candidly and honestly. I tell you about the sad things, along with the beautiful things. I BUY my jewelry instead of making it myself. You better believe I buy my baked goods, too, instead of making them myself ;) I like to curse (the F word is my favorite) and I feed off of real life experiences. I’m clumsy. I forget my keys in the doorknob almost always and I spill my coffee just about every single day. I need not try to be the person who has it all together, or relay that misconception to all of you. It’s a waste of my precious time, and your precious eyes reading things that aren’t true. So I guess this is my vow to not only you, but to myself, that I will never let that dark cloud give me a false persona ever again.