In many ways I’m glad I have this journal, my blog, to look back on. The main reason being that I can see how I’ve progressed in my own creativity. I tried to think what would it be like if I hadn’t ever started my blog, but yet still made things? I think it would easily get to the point where I wouldn’t be able to remember how things started, or how I learned, or the mistakes made along the way. It’s so easy to look at someone’s work and see a stunning finished product and think to yourself, gosh, I’ll never be that great, almost to the point of not even trying. That’s such a sad thing to think, but I think it’s a common one even if it’s something we don’t actually admit or say out loud.
I’m trying to catch myself in saying that as well. I feel like I certainly hold myself back from making things simply because they appear too challenging. Also, to have expectations that everything will turn out perfect the first time is ridiculous. I mean, why would anyone be great at something the first time they tried something? I hear this in my daughters sometimes, too. And I’m trying to be the positive voice inside their heads, that says to try it anyway. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you want, even if no one else likes it, even when you don’t believe in yourself. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be perfect or impressing your friends. Imagine how many times you’ve tried something new and it didn’t go as planned — and you gave up after that. I’ve done it myself so many times, too. Don’t let the lack of skill prevent you, keep trying. It may not be the same ending as you envisioned, but maybe it’ll lead you down an entirely new road. Isn’t that the magic part?
You always have a choice. Look back on the risks and chances you take, maybe some lead you to new things you couldn’t have imagined? And now look back and imagine you never took those risks? And how different your life would be. It’s simple things like, I tried arm knitting today, I didn’t love it. I’m going to finish the project anyway. And then re-evaluate what drew me to that project in the first place. Of course this doesn’t apply to just creativity. Maybe you tried running for exercise. You ran a few miles, but then it got too tough, so you stopped. What if you kept going and it ended up being your favorite activity? Or you took the risk of joining a book club. You didn’t know anyone, but you went anyway. And those friends you made in the club ended up being some of your best friends? Imagine if you never went to the club?
I don’t want to hold myself back. I don’t think anyone does. But not taking risks or trying something new, staying in your comfort zone can be a sad place. So I’m going to continue to try new things. And try not to worry if they take forever and end up being a lump at the bottom of my garbage can. I’m going to put myself out there and try to make a new friend, even if it never ends up working out.
So for my next couple of projects I’m going to try and finish my arm knit pillow. I’m also going to take a small step in trying to make jeans (again), I’m going to try sewing just the fly front with some scrap denim, just that tiny part of the process. I know I’ll learn more than if I had never tried in the first place. That’s such a good feeling and I won’t look back and wonder why I never tried in the first place.