As I said yesterday, Stacy Julian was one of the first to ever take a chance on me and let me do my thing. To encourage me to dream crazy ideas and go for it. She has always encouraged me to be ME – and that is a gift I have and will always treasure. It is one of the things I love most about her – that she sees people and encourages them to be their best selves. Truly one of the kindest souls I have the pleasure of knowing.
So I’m sitting at a table with all those ladies you see above. I’m looking around and sitting next to me on one side is Ali and on my other side Tammy. Down the table a mix of ladies I know, ladies I’m just now meeting, and dear friends.
and all of a sudden it just hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am at this table too…
Now that might sound totally stupid, and you might be thinking “duh”… but if you read my post yesterday then you know more of my history. You should know that NEVER, not on ANY of my lists of dreams and aspirations for my crafting did “be headliner teacher at major creative event” make it onto a list. That was too big, that was beyond me. I wouldn’t ever be at that place.
But I’m sitting at the table, preparing to present at such an event. And on a stage with women I admire so very much – as one of them.
Now obviously my being at this event wasn’t a surprise. I signed a contract. Made a class. Prepared for it. I knew perfectly well what I was doing. Yet somehow I hadn’t thought about the fact that I’d be at this event really doing it. In person.
Here’s the thing. I teach (almost always) at HOME. I sit down, dream up my ideas, make my classes, and do all the work before anyone sees it. Quite often while wearing pajamas. And then? They see it from their own homes. I don’t see their faces. I don’t see their reactions or see if they are into what I’m throwing down. And honestly? That’s how I have the nerve to do what I do. Because I create, I play and have fun and do my thing and don’t really think about the fact that someone is going to see, judge, and have opinions about me.
I’m not a public speaker. I don’t get up on stages. I sure as heck don’t volunteer to hold a microphone and present anything. These things TERRIFY me. The thought of public speaking makes me want to go hide under my desk.
So… why had I signed up for this?!
I took a deep breath (or ten), cracked a few jokes, and focused on the moment.
I focused on the ladies who were all SO kind and lovely and relaxed a bit more. I looked around at how much positive energy + creativity was in the room.
On the amazing team that put this event together.
On the incredibly talented ladies sitting next to me, also in crazy balloon hats.
I just thought about all the stuff I love about crafting in general, embraced all of the amazing energy, and ran with it.
It was terrifying – not going to pretend it wasn’t – but it was also completely amazing and totally worth it. I put “creative health” on this 2-part blog post because this was a huge creative growth opportunity and the absolute most amazing experience I’ve ever had teaching for so many reasons. You really do have to take leaps in life and do stuff that scares you – otherwise what is the point?
There was such a great energy here and it was so hard to process that I was here. This was something *I* was a part of. Among the “have fun” and “you’ll do great” supportive texts and messages I got was a voice mail from one of my favorite people.
You know your shit and you are talented and you are beautiful and you are just going to get up there and people are going to freaking love you. They just want you to succeed…
I will be quoting her in my next art journal page. Her words?
They hit the heart of me and made me realize that this was a place where everyone was rooting for each other.
I had no reason to be so scared. I was among friends, among truly positive people who WANT ME TO SUCCEED.
Dang if that didn’t make me tear up quite a bit.
I embraced her words, reviewed my notes, and went for it.
I will be scrapbooking this in a pocket-page album (which yes, I will be sharing when I finally print photos!)
I truly had the most fun every single minute of this event. Talking to lovely crafters, enjoying the atmosphere and connecting with so many people from all over the world as well as being in the same room with people I work with but never see. I so cherish this experience – I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
My favorite part was definitely after when I got to chat with people, got to sit down and enjoy lunch with crafters, got to check out their layouts and just simply be in a happy and wonderful creative place.
I wish I had been able to stay the whole day and watch more of the classes – as it was I had to miss several due to my afternoon flight home and parts of others because I had to pack a lot of stuff into not enough bags.
Every single one of the instructors inspired me in some way- as did every attendee I spoke to. Such a gift for so many reasons.
As I flew home I felt like I had gained a renewed sense of purpose. Validation that just doing my own thing and not stressing out about if it would be popular, or if I would be judged negatively for my views was the way to go.
A reminder that I have stories to tell and that I want to be a part of this community.
A reminder that whenever, however I can uplift, inspire, and encourage fellow creative friends I want to. I want to be there for others, to be someone who gives a smile and thumbs up to all kinds of creativity.
I want to be someone who has kind words to say about myself, as well as frequently saying kind things about other people.
I am reminded that I want to keep doing what I do, but also seek out ways to do even more and continue to grow…
and this is where I am heading into February 2014…