Just because you have never done something before doesn’t mean you can’t. I believe in that statement. Whether it is taking on a new job, trying out a new hobby, or speaking in front of a crowd of people. The school year has kicked off for this counselor, and I hope to encourage my students to take a few risks. I like doing things I have never done before. I’m not always good at it, especially not right away. There is something that clicks in me when I am faced with a new challenge. You could call it stubbornness or maybe determination. I think the point is that I want to say I tried. I want to be the kind of person that isn’t afraid to work hard, fail at something, and try again. I want to be the kind of person that looks at something new as an opportunity to learn and change rather than to fear.
Granted, this is continually a work in progress. Fearing change is natural to me, as I am sure it is to many of you. I love the way Elizabeth Gilbert addresses fear in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting – and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still – your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
So…I’ve decided to try something new. Something that is really scary for me. I’ve always enjoyed art, though I’ve never been formally trained. I’ve been teaching myself Adobe Illustrator in order to connect it to my love of fabric and design. I look at everything that is out there in the graphic design world, and I think there is no way what I do measures up to that. And I could stop there. I could shrink from even trying, and I could especially shrink from sharing anything I make with other people. Daily, as a middle school counselor, I am reminded how mean people can be. I’d like to say adults are better, but they aren’t always.
So, I make myself put things out there for others to see, and I decided to take it a step further and let people vote on my work if they so choose. I entered my first design challenge with Spoonflower this month, the theme of which is Swedish Folk Art. My design, Ida’s Flowers, comes from reading a Hans Christian Andersen story called Little Ida’s Flowers. Yes, I know Andersen is Danish and that’s not the same thing… While the story may not be theme accurate, I did try to put my spin on some traditional Swedish folk art and illustrate a story in the process.
Voting opened on August 10th and closes on August 15th. If you happen to like my design, I would very much appreciate you sending a vote my way. You can vote for as many amazing designs as you would like. Thank you!!