Photo by Hope Taylor Photography
Last night was one of those where I just couldn't sleep. I was stressing about nothing in particular but everything in general. You know when your mind runs about a mile a minute about things that you either have no control over or that you can't fix at that particular time. I hate that. It seems so pointless, but it's so hard to turn off.
I had another blog all ready for this wonderful Friday, but after reading a blog yesterday, I was inspired to write about something else completely different. This blog really stuck with me. It was about how this woman, Carley, was down in the dumps because of the comparisons she was making of her own life to social media (She's really awesome and I love her blog and her adventures; you can read the original blog here).
Oh man, I can completely relate. It's so terrible. And I know I'm guilty of both sides of it.
Yesterday, I was FINALLY getting my hair cut, and sitting in the chair looking at Instagram and Facebook. And I let myself get SO down about where I was compared to everyone else. I felt so awful about myself. It was terrible. For me, March (and sometimes April) is that really awkward, adolescent part of the year: you're so over winter, but spring's not quite there yet. It feels like I'm still waking up from this winter hibernation and I'm sluggish and unmotivated. I just feel like I need to get my whole life back together.
Here's a fun, and somewhat embarrassing story (on my end) for you. When I first started see Shay Cochrane's photos, I had no idea they were stock photos. I thought everyone just had similar color schemed offices with the same stapler, flowers, confetti and Kate Spade erasers. That everyone was going home at night and getting photographers to come to their houses to take photos of their desks. I put SO MUCH pressure on myself to do the same and get all these photos done for myself so that I could have awesome photos to use on my website and Instagram. I mean, I totally stressed out about it. It wasn't until maybe...early December? That I happened to stumble upon the SC Stockshop website (ugh, her photos are just gorgeous. I absolutely love her work) and it felt like I had just figured out the Da Vinci Code. I felt like I had just uncovered ALL OF THE SECRETS. I mean, I just had absolutely no idea. I felt like I was so far behind everyone else and I was missing out on everything. When the reality was totally different.
I also realize that I do the same thing. While I post some candid blogs (especially about Joe's amputation) it's definitely not the majority. At all. I talk about the good things: my products, invitations, working with brides, and what happens after MONTHS of hard work and preparation. As Carley put it in her blog, I post the last positive 10% and totally neglect that sometimes negative 90% of hard work, struggle, and frustration.
The truth is that running a small business is not all that glamorous and exciting. Most days I sit alone in my bedroom/office in yoga pants and long sleeve t-shirt watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother trying to keep my emails down and finish ongoing projects. The zipper on my favorite pair of jeans broke about a month ago, but I still wear them because I don't have time to go get new ones (I just wear really long shirts to cover it up!). I got my hair cut and colored for the first in A YEAR yesterday. I just gave one of my best friends her Christmas present last week. And that new website I've been meaning to do for the new brand? It's barely even started.
For a long time, I tried to face this journey alone. I continued to sit in my little bubble and just do my thing. And while it wasn't totally awful, it wasn't totally great either. It was really lonely. There were (and still are!) so many days where I question what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I wonder why I quit the stability of a full-time job to be more stressed out, work harder & longer, and do it with almost no recognition (not that I need it, but sometimes it's hard to feel like you're just not seen). It wasn't really until the past few months that I realized what I had been missing.
A community. Other women (and people!) who were in the same boat and going through the same things as I was. People who understand the reality of what you have to get through (a lot of crazy, frustrating, stressful times) to get to where you want to be.
I used to be so afraid to ask other women to grab coffee or meet for a drink because I was so scared of being rejected or not knowing what to say or how to connect with them. And for a really long time I let this fear get in the way of reaching out to others. But once I started asking, I realized that hardly anyone says no! And now, some of those women that I was so scared to ask to coffee are some of my BEST FRIENDS. We are all in the same boat of wanting to find people to connect with. And meeting these people, especially others in this crazy industry makes the journey a little bit easier.
This is a huge reason why I am so excited to be attending Creative at Heart Conference. It's gonna be a huge opportunity to meet so many more women (I already have met a ton!) who are in the same boat. Women who I can share resources, stories, and talk shop with. I am rooming with Caitlin of Caitlin Creative Works because she was nice enough to message me on Facebook asking to room together. This past week, we got together for the DC Paper Expo to meet in person and geek out over paper. And it was awesome.
So after my long, novel of a rant, the moral of the story is this: don't let what others are doing get you down. Chances are what you're seeing is only a screenshot of a movie.
And don't be afraid to reach out either.
Wanna grab coffee? Just ask! :)