Sometimes I feel like the internet is a cocktail party and I’m not quite dressed for the occasion.
Don’t get me wrong, most days I put my confident pants on and I look at my work and my progress with pride. I know I have come so far, and I know I am capable.
But there are also other days. Days I browse through shots on Dribbble, or read blogs in my Feedly, or scour the limitless cascades of Pinterest, and I wonder: where do I fit in?
My word for 2014 is BRAVE, and for a fraidy-cat, worry-wort, insert-other-weird-hyphenated-metaphor-word-for-being-afraid-here like me, being BRAVE is no simple notion. It requires urging every inch of my genetic being to stretch and grow and evolve from its comfortable resting position. It requires paying attention when those thoughts of comparison and self-consciousness seep into my head and create an invisible ceiling, shielding me from my dreams.
When I developed the Made Vibrant brand, more than anything else I wanted it to be ME. I wanted it to joyfully announce bold, colorful chaos to the world. I wanted contrast and vibrance and hand-drawn happiness at every turn. But when you put such a big piece of yourself out into the world, there’s something about it that feels so darn vulnerable. I’d actually venture to say it’s a level of vulnerability I’ve never experienced.
There are times when I look around and feel like I see the opposite of what I am. I see quiet and subtle. I see minimal design and muted tones. And sure, these are things that I appreciate. They are things I keep in my pocket for when the time calls, but I can’t say that they feel me. In those moments I can’t help but wonder for a moment: Am I doing it wrong? Because I’m just sayin… sometimes it feels a little like I showed up to a perfectly normal Halloween party in a pink bunny costume (yep, that was an Elle Woods reference, in case you were wondering.)
And then I remember: In matters of art, there is no wrong. There is only truth in your vision.
Likes and retweets and page views and subscribers and sales: These things have created a validation economy. They can make us feel rich and they can make us feel poor. All they really do is exploit our vulnerability and make us question our vision. This post only got this many likes. That piece didn’t sell as well as that one. Okay, so what?
My new approach is just to show up to the party and be seen. To create first and foremost for myself. To be BRAVE with my art (and my life) and to stay true to my perspective, be it a bunny costume or not. Doubt is a terribly taxing feeling, and I’d rather use that space in my heart and my mind for something useful, like self-love.
I encourage any of you out there that feel different or uncertain or constantly in search of validation to take a big deep breath with me. Dwell in your uniqueness. Cozy up and make a home there. Invite others to stop by from time to time, but don’t go searching for somewhere else to stay, because this is the one place you will always truly know you belong.
Now let’s just go out there and do the damn thang. As long as there is truth in our vision, there can be no wrong.
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