Resolutions are sort of my thing. A combination of my striving for self-improvement and my near obsession with lists, I make rafts of resolutions every year. I have always liked the idea of choosing words for a year (2012 was 1000 - I wanted 1000 page views a day on the blog, 1000 facebook likes and 1000 etsy sales. I achieved 1 out of 3). My words for 2013 were going to be "Joyful Abundance". I wanted to focus on creating a life were I had a plenty - patience, time, energy, money. I had thought deeply about what I wanted to manifest in 2013 and lists and plans were made... And then I found this quote:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
In reality, I have spent much of my life afraid. I stood on the outside of who I wanted to be and looked on, paralysed by fear and uncertainty. I am driven by perfection. I often find myself operating from a place of "If I only could X, then I would be truly happy". If I can not meet the view I have in my mind's eye, then it is not good enough and I have failed. I am a black and white sort of person, you know.
Reading that quote, I realised that again I have spent much of the last year afraid. I lay in bed the night before a pattern release convincing myself it is the worst thing I have ever designed. On the first morning of the photoshoot for the book, I was shaking, literally trembling with nerves as I clicked away, stylist and editor looking on. I constantly compare myself to "real designers" and come up short. The difference now is that instead of running from the fear, I am slowly learning to jump into it. The reality is that things are rarely perfect and the past few months have taught me deep lessons about doing everything I can and then accepting that it will be enough...
...or it won't be. And that is OK too. For better or worse, I am in the arena. Motivated at first by the need to feed my family and then by it being so much who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. And if I fail, I'd rather go down in a blaze of fiery failure than just peter out. Without a doubt, there is a lot of swearing, wine drinking and tears before I jump into whatever is next, but the point is that I jump.
So may 2013 be the year of Daring Greatly.
Photos taken in the car park of a local nature reserve. We drove 20 miles, walked 10 meteres from the car, they sat down and cried until I gave them hot cocoa, we got back in the car and I cried in frustration. What was I saying about failing spectacularly?