So I've been mulling over this post in my head for a while. And today I want to finally type it out and put it out there. I'm sure I'll get flak for it. And that's okay. Or maybe I won't. Maybe those days are over. I noticed when I decided to step out of the spotlight a lot of the flak stopped. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I want to talk about the decision I made to pretty much fall off the face of the earth creatively and step behind the scenes.
And why, for me, it was the best creative decision I could have made.
But not the easiest. It's hard to step away from something when it's addictive. And being part of well known design teams can be addictive.
For about five years or so I was a part of some pretty well-known teams. Some really big and very much in the spotlight, some small. Some turned out to be lucrative gigs for great people who I am still good friends with and some did not. Some turned out to be disappointing.
And for a long time it was really fun.
It was fun being part of the trade shows and the galleries and the reveals. It was fun showcasing products I love. And then it got competitive.
I started spending hours on layouts. HOURS. Y'all…that's not me. I was trying to teach myself to stitch and mist and be edgy. I would fret over how many gallery comments I got. I hated that I was never mentioned on the "which layout is your favorite?" threads and posts.
AND I HATED THAT I CARED.
I hated that I cared what others said about me. I hated that I was second guessing my authentic self. I hated that I was changing my style to conform. I hate that I just could.not.be.myself.
And the worst part was that I did it to myself. I allowed myself to get sucked into all of the stuff that doesn't matter.
Because at the end of the day I had two rules:
1. Scrapbooking should be FUN.
2. It should be about telling my story. Leaving a legacy.
One day I "woke up" and realized those things had fallen by the wayside.
I also came to the (duh) realization that teams are meant to sell product. And simplistic heartfelt layouts might work beautifully and perfectly to tell my life story…but those types of layouts don't move a lot of product.
Harsh but true. And y'all…once I made that connection I realized I needed to move on.
That was right around the time (a couple of years ago) the email came from MME. An email asking me to work for them behind the scenes, doing what I do now. It was a job I'd never thought of and one I frankly didn't know much about.
And taking it was the best creative decision I'd ever made.
You see…I will never be one of those scrapbookers that is innovative. I don't do techniques. I don't want to change my style. I don't.
I like my style the way it is. I like that all my layouts look the same. I like that my style hasn't evolved. Because style doesn't matter in scrapbooks anyway. Why did I start thinking it did????
Taking the job was a great choice for me because I was able to step out of the spotlight. But still flex my creative muscles.
Now I'm at the point where I'm doing some things publicly now and then. I might share a layout on Gossamer Blue. I still blog crafty things now and then. If the right (low-key, low-pressure, FUN) team comes along I might accept it. I'm at the point that I feel like me again.
For a while I hated the pages I was making. I salvaged the photos from most of them and threw them away. Many of them I re-scrapbooked in an authentic way. I made lots of pages I never shared.
I stepped away from the spotlight.
And competition (much of it self-imposed).
You know the weird thing? It was a hard decision. And scary. Part of me worried that the creative world would end if I left. That I'd lose my scrapbooking "friends" and that I'd fade away. Yes. I know that is screwed up.
My world is not defined by being in a group of people. My world is defined by my family, the loves of my life. Creativity should make me more ME. Not take me away from them and make me less me.
And somewhere in the past couple of years I've come back to myself.
I've lost track of the 'in' products, the 'in' teams, the 'in' scrapbookers. And holy heck it feels good. Life is too damn short.
I knew better but I still fell in the trap.
Here's what I've decided.
I don't want to be "the world's best scrapbooker". I don't even care if anyone thinks I'm "good". I don't.
I want to be me.
When Jimmy flips through my albums he gets a look on his face. It's joy. He doesn't give a flip if I use mist (well, if he found the layout the time I tried it he might actually ask if I cut myself and bled on the page b/c that's what it looked like). He doesn't know a doily from a veneer. But he loves seeing the things he missed.
So I'm back in the saddle with the right perspective.
1. Scrapbooking is FUN.
2. I'm telling my story and leaving my legacy.
P.S. I want to add that I truly know many women that can do both. Produce work they love, be authentic, and have FUN with it…and be on well-known teams without falling into the validation trap. And that's awesome. I wish I could have stayed that way but it just didn't work for me.