Creative Journey: it’s all about ME.

It might sound goofy, but the more I became at peace with my crafting style, the more I was at peace with myself in general. Accepting myself, my flaws, my quirks, and my individuality are things that could be put into any context of life. Though I didn’t realize it at first, getting myself to a happy crafting place would be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

Today I’d like to talk about me. Now I realize both being a blogger and scrapbooker I do both on a regular basis, and this whole ‘creative journey’ series I’ve been sharing is, well, about me. I actually mean it in a more literal sense today though, as I’m going to share ‘all about me’ layouts from 2005-2006, also known in my scrapbook history as my time of greatest change.

When I was teaching at local stores and retreats I used to teach a number of “all about me” classes as well as making a lot of ME pages. I don’t make loads anymore, and honestly I think it’s because there aren’t things I’m working out in a way that makes me inspired to do lots of just me pages at the moment. If I had a story or thought I wanted to share in this way, I sure would.

For a while, though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was figuring out who I was as a crafter through scrapbooking about myself.

One of the worst things I ever did was to try to pin myself into a set “style”. I just don’t fit into any of the neat little boxes and doing my wild “me” pages with no rules or ideas held back helped me see this. I had so much pent up and held back creativity (from trying to fit in) that when I started doing these pages I exploded.

I went wilder than I like, but I think I had to. Take it to the far end just because I could to free myself. What I see as I look back at these pages was a woman who’d caged herself in and was breaking free at a full run.

I actually did art journal quite a bit during these times, though mine ended up more diary style than creative/technique heavy. Even with that release (and FANTASTIC outlet to improve my writing skills) I still needed to muck up my pages – to rebel against “the man” who was telling me to keep it simple & clean.

reminder: no man or woman was actually telling me that I had to do this, it was all self-inflicted.

Basically, I was giving myself permission to do whatever I wanted. Anything at all. I’d just sit and do whatever I felt like – to heck with design qualities or the end result. I was really trying to break free of my newly learned bad habits in scrapbooking.

I needed to “mess up” pages and be ok with it.

The page above happened late one night. I was working on my 2005 Memory Makers masters entry and trying to please the judges. Something happened and I snapped… in a good way ultimately. The page was a major ‘lightbulb’ moment in my creative journey.  Needless to say I didn’t win, or even get mentioned. Know what?  That was OK. More than ok because I was doing things my way, the way I wanted them done.

So what would I suggest to somebody looking to do stuff about themselves? Start anywhere. Just take a thought and run with it. Don’t worry about spelling or being right – just DO. Shut down your brain and play. If you’re more comfortable, work with a journal or notebook that feels less formal. You could do your favorites, something you worry about, things you like, a detail, a meal you learned to make… how personal or how big or small is up to you. It’s all good.

I even did a “me” page inspired by my Jr. High collages where I’d glue tons of things that I liked to a sheet of paper.

This remains one of my all time favorites. It’s messy, it’s got bits of favorites all over, and it was made purely in fun. Only for me.

because I can.

The “me” pages definitely helped me creatively. I realized that I am ok with having my own style but not fitting in one “official” style type. I also made the decision to embrace myself – flaws and all much as I can.

I will mention here that during 2005 is when I started my first blog. Forcing myself to sit down each day and think of something to share or write, writing about my process on creating a layout, and just the act of writing was helping me. Creativity is a muscle that must be worked out regularly in some way, and the more I got that, the happier I was.

The #1 thing I learned, by far, is that I would never be finished with the journey. I’d always be growing, changing, having new stories to tell and coming up with new ideas. I was never going to reach a place where I was done and my style and preferences would be set.

how could they?

As a new mother I had the time, but in much smaller chunks and not whenever I wanted as I had before. I was going to need to adjust to my baby’s schedule and I really needed to get better at identifying what does (and doesn’t) work for me as well as learning how to call on inspiration at will rather than waiting for ideas to come to me.

Now that I have my own ideas flowing strongly through my head (instead of what I think others want) things would keep getting better, this much I knew. I dyed my hair back to it’s normal shade of ‘boring’ dark brown eliminating my blonde highlights for good. I went back and looked at my layouts (all of them) making lists of good, bad, ugly, awesome.

I owned up, at long last, to just being ME. I accepted that I’d never be uber-cool or cutting edge. I’d never be a trendsetter or fashionista. I’d just be plain ‘ol me. Bookwormy, purple loving, creative mess of a brain, me.


Next installment to come next week: what doesn’t work for me. If you’ve got questions or want to see something in particular please feel free to ask!

16 thoughts on “Creative Journey: it’s all about ME.”

  1. Your layouts in this post are so fun — and so very different from the ones you were “forcing” yourself to make. Continuing to enjoy this series of posts. . . . ~Laura

  2. May, this is another great installment! I was eagerly anticipating this post, and you didn’t disappoint. It makes so much more sense to be us than the be the person we think is required! A lot less thought and energy are needed to be real than fake!

  3. I love your posts on your scrapbooking journey- they’ve been so inspiring to read.

    Your last paragraph or so really got me this time. I recently did the same thing with my hair- got rid of the red highlights I’d tried to keep up with and went back to boring brown. And now whenever I look in the mirror, I have this definite feeling that it’s really me looking back now. 🙂

  4. yes may…i agree with julie when she says a lot less energy wasted. it’s nice to let go.

    oh…and the word yes was scalping…not skinning…lol what was i thinking?…well, all that scalp that came off, still skin… hehehe

  5. I love your style and it’s very distinctive. I was flipping thru Memory Makers 601 idea book and came across a layout and I instantly knew it was yours! I’m glad you found your way to just being yourself!

  6. Another great installation to the Story of May. It’s been so much fun to see the LO’s from back when and to learn how you found your own style. Looking forward to the next exciting chapter!

  7. I swear girl you are sooooooo much like me that it is scary!! It is like you are writing how I have felt about my past scrapping. I so know how you feel. I happen to love your “messy” me pages!! You have taught me soooo much and don’t even know it! Thank you for sharing all this.

  8. I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying this series of blogs. I started scrapping (not crafting) well after my boys were grown. Trying to catch up on 20 years is impossibly daunting. Plus in the past year I have come to realize they really don’t care. They’re just not into it-and that’s okay. So I haven’t done a layout in over a year. But lately I have been nagged mercilessly by the desire to tell MY story. Today’s blog entry has inspired me big time. Even though I have never been a pink and pretty person, I’m going to put all the ribbon, lace, and flowers in my story that I want.
    Thank you so much for putting it all out there for us.

  9. May thankyou for your raw open-ness & being vulnerable.
    I have really struggled with wanting to be cutting edge & there, even in scrapping, which is a hobby.
    I too am on the journey of just telling my story & not caring whether I get recognised by anybody other than my three little girls. Thankyou for making it more real & that being you is the best you can be!!!

    m xxx

  10. I really like this post May! Wow, your “messy me” pages are very creative and so fun to see ( I love that Vogue page!!).
    Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

  11. Love, love, love those me pages. They are very “art-journaly” before art journaling was even in! Thanks for keeping on sharing your journey!

  12. purple lovin’ that’s one thing I just learned about you that I didn’t know. It’s my favorite color too! I’ve been a purple fan since as long as I can remember. Never thought to do a page about it.
    Love all the doodling on your pages. it makes for interesting pages.

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