Breathing in and breathing out, trying not to let the tears flow. Not to invalidate them but because I know just how much energy those tears take with them. Today I don’t have that to spare. Today I have so much to do that everything feels a blurr. Overwhelm is kicking in, short sharp inhalations and a permanent scowl have taken over. Breathing in, breathing out, trying not to fall down.
I should be sewing right now but I have the itch to write and I think that just maybe if I scratch the itch I can calm myself and then settle into a work rhythm. The thoughts in my head are a running discussion over what success is and what failure is. FYI…I don’t have an answer; I just thought I’d share a stream of consciousness. Now that I have this snappy blog to write in I want to continue sharing this journey in honesty. I’m big on sharing. Sometimes it freaks people out a little. To me there doesn’t seem to be much reason not to. Sharing our triumphs helps inspire others and sharing our trials also helps inspire others, in that at least we don’t feel alone in finding life to be a challenge at times. Like right now!
Back to failure. I started out a marine biologist, got about 12 months away from being Dr. Jackson, took a break and life took a new course…did I fail at being a marine biologist? I started a shop, I’ve worked really hard at it for 5 years now, it’s AMAZING but it still doesn’t turn a profit…not even a little one…is that a fail? I went off to Bali with big dreams for a new course for SeenUnseen…for awhile it was amazing…and then it just all stopped working and felt like no matter what I tried, it wouldn’t work out…is that a fail? I’ve been sewing hoodies for 10 years now! Still, no matter how hard I push it, I can’t seem to find a place where I feel abundant, safe, secure, where I can pay the rent AND then bills in the same week…is that a fail? I joked the other day that I was ‘failing at life’. By this I meant that my house looks like a squat, there are dishes piled high, the front fence fell down, the lawn needs mowing, the dogs need walking, I have no clean clothes, I’ve been living off toast, coffee and gin. Last week a friend announced that she was closing down her business as it had failed. Failed, Failed, Failed.
I often wonder if ideas of achievement and failure are so consuming for other people? I feel that possibly I am…a Dramatic Over Achiever….I NEED to be aiming for things, big things and all the time, at the same time I am often wishing that I didn’t NEED to aim for these things. I am constantly wondering if any of these things I aim for will ever actually give me a sense of achievement. I put the word dramatic in there as this need to achieve seems intertwined with some kind of hyper emotional state…that level of achievement seems to require so much effort that I am constantly on the edge of some kind of meltdown. Am I hyper emotional? I don’t know, as I can only look through the lens of my own perspective. I wear my emotions on the outside. I cry in public if I suddenly find that I am sad…this often freaks people out…I don’t do it for attention; I just do it because it is what I feel in that moment. I don’t need sympathy or a hug, but I would like permission to just be who I am, in honesty, so just don’t freak out…they are just tears. Dramatic Over Achiever…. How do I define success if all I ever do is reach higher…or at least change tracks and reach for something else instead. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that I am not alone in this, that it’s a social/cultural conditioning for people of my age bracket and background to never feel a sense of satisfaction as we were raised with a sense that we are so special and can do ANYTHING that therefore nothing feels good enough….
So failure…I still don’t know but in relation to the above examples. I can’t look at Dr. Jackson and what might have been, or whether that was a failure as I feel so far removed from her and the things she believed in, that in a sense what she wanted now seems irrelevant anyway. I refuse to look at 8 years of higher education as a waste of time, they definitely sculpted me to be capable of doing some of the things I’ve done. The shop…well really I never set out for it to make a profit in it’s own right, it was meant to help people and it does in many ways so it’s probably silly to define failure there in terms of profit but geez some money in the bank would be a pretty awesome thankyou. SeenUnseen and Bali fuck up of 2014…who knows…who knows…maybe if I had got it right, right then and there my designs would now be in retail outlets around the world and I’d be laughing as I bought a mortgage free piece of land to live out my dreams on…who knows..what I do know though is that alongside trying to deal with ‘no’ and ‘oops’ and ‘we can’t do it like that’ at every possible turn I was also grieving for my dying Grandmother, healing from a really hard year of family health crisis and trying my damdest not to fall into a looming black hole of depression and just go numb, tune out. What I did instead was choose to let the whole things go, let those dreams drift away, fade away. Let myself be present with my experience of a passing relative, allow myself the time and space to go really deep, with full awareness, into a shadow journey of understanding grief and rage and it’s place in opening doors to empathy and compassion. I let that play out and when I started to feel ready for it, creativity returned. I still felt lost, unsure where the hell to go with it all, so I just took it one step at a time, analyzing all the way what parts actually make me happy and what parts don’t (that’s a whole other blog) and from the ashes I sculpted SeenUnseen into it’s current format. Instead of made overseas and wholesaled, It’s now made in Australia and sold by me one piece at a time. Instead of saving money everywhere to make it cheaper, I spend more money everywhere and make it better. Hey what do you know!? Dry eyes and a feeling of achievement!!! I’m even laughing hahahahaha! I should blog more often Right now at 3.24pm I am WINNING!
PS: My house is still disgusting! This is not failure. I am just busy with other things right now. What the hell does it matter what the neighbors think of my broken fence and long grass, I’m doing something amazing in here! I think it’s time for sewing…tick tock only 6 weeks left until I pack up my studio, so so many things left to sew. YOU CAN DO IT KELSIE!!!!