One Foot, Then Another
This weekend was all about baby steps, the one foot in front of the other even if you wobble a bit and second guess your ability kind of steps, and though I might still be cringing a bit after rewatching the first seven minutes of the video in the last post, I did what I set out to do. And so if this weekend was about the steps, the past few months have been about standing up and making a place for myself, for my voice, for what I want to do with my time and energy. I could tell you that it was about charting a course, because steps are most often part of the process in getting somewhere, but that hasn't been true for me. All of this making, and there has been so much making, has been less about where it might take me, and more about where I am. And after a few years spent waffling simultaneously between where I've been and where I want to go sprinkled with the ever so often where I should be, it was nice to just be here, now. It's been nice to just dig around a bit, sometimes deeper, sometimes less so, and to figure out what my voice sounds like right now, because oh my it's different than it used to be, and oh my, I hope it's still a bit different than it will one day become.
In the video I mumbled a bit about feeling guilty for posting so much work to the online galleries and Instagram, and that I'd decided to give myself permission to make and share as much I'd like, to give myself a pass when there was nothing to say, and to give myself the same pass, thought it can feel quite different, when there was so much to say that I worried I'd flood others with the images I kept adding to their visual queues. And so, if I thought it was brave and bold before to give myself permission to forgive myself (a few posts back, if theis doesn't make sense), giving myself permission to share was even better.
Though it's hard for me to believe it's been this long, for the past five months, I've been giving myself the same assignment on the 15th of every month. As soon as the Story Kit classroom is open and the new theme released from Ali Edwards, I make something and I share it. I use whatever is available - digital files, free downloads, ideas form the sample layouts she posts, and I make something. In an effort to pull myself out of the tidal pull of needing just the right products, the best story, the most beautiful photo, the exact right words, I make something and I tell a story with what I have, and what I've found it that I have so much.
I love that the kits and the classroom are all about the story we tell. And though Ali has said herself a dozen times that the physical (or even digital) pieces should be there to support the story, not tell it, I am reminded again again, month after month, how true this is when it's less about the stuff and more about story, and I've been telling more of mine that I ever have before.
It took a few months, but now, I've found I am doing this more and more, and the more I make and share, the more ideas I have, and the more I enjoy the practice, and not just the result.
I want to tell you that all this making has quieted the parts of me that refer to my doodles as "silly little things" or has given me courage to make more and share more without wondering if what I do is good enough, but that wouldn't be entirely true. I want to tell you that in this search for my voice, for a way to wrangle it and use it like I did when I was younger and less tethered to my own expectations, I've been able to appreciate my own unique abilities (doodles included), but that wouldn't be entirely true, either. What I can tell you, is that I recently gave someone advice that I want to take myself, and so I keep repeating it in my head: love the best and worst parts of yourself, and do the same for others every day, even if neither of you deserve it. Be good and graceful and kind, and keep making stuff, any stuff, without questioning its value - it's good by the sheer fact that you took the risk to make it.
And so, one foot, then another, I am taking more risks, small and seemingly insignificant as they may be. Here's the first half of what I am working on now:
I'm really enjoying the photos of the moments in black and white paired with the colorful doodles that tell more of the story, and of course, because I can't have a page without it, journaling on the back of the colorful tags.