Hey makers! Kelly here, and I want to take a moment for a real maker heart to heart. Who wants to talk about mistakes?! Anyone...*crickets* Bueller?...*crickets run for the hills.*
Yeah, no one likes to bring to light the boo-boos they've made. If you're anything like me, you'd much rather bury them in the deepest darkest corner possible, under a pile of your own shame and embarrassment. Believe me, I'm no stranger to those "oops" moments. I'm not even a stranger to those "I've made a huge mistake" moments. But, especially in a world of social media that tends to showcase our peers' successes VS their struggles, I think it's important to remember that we all come up short at one time or another.
Regardless of skill level, experience, how talented or driven or well-versed we are in our craft, mistakes are bound to happen. That's the crazy thing about being human: we aren't perfect and we never will be. Mistakes happen to us, and they happen to the people we admire most.
Mistakes make us feel vulnerable and discouraged. I know they also make me feel embarrassed, frustrated, sweaty, distraught, upset, on the verge of vomiting, you know, all the good stuff. It downright sucks to realize you've messed up, whether it's a small bump in the road or you've run smack dab into the side of a mountain-sized "oh dang."
The more we expand as makers, the more we are bound to start exploring opportunities, trying new things, taking chances, and hoping for success. Eventually, and there's no avoiding it, we're going to fail, because that's what happens when we grow. We try something new, it doesn't work, we try again. We mess up, we fix it, we carry on.
After a while, I started to notice a pattern in the way I was feeling and reacting to each mistake I made (and trust me, I've made many). Yes, I would get an onrush of emotions and thoughts, but when I really sat down to think about it, I realized something: I was going through the five stages of grief.
The rollercoaster usually goes a little something like this:
Heck no I didn't make a mistake. I couldn't have. This can't be happening...do they have the right person? Maybe if I don't open the email or respond to their message, or look at the mistake, it will just go away. Yes. Out of sight, out of mind. I'm not crying, you're crying!
How could someone say that to me? How dare they toss aside all my hard work and point out the one thing I did wrong. Do they know the hours that went into this? DO THEY? I'm going to give them a piece of my mind and bestow the wrath of a thousand angry makers upon them in a fiery rage and then we'll see who's boss.
I mean, I was really, really tired when I made the mistake. I didn't put in my full effort, right? If I had a full night's sleep it would be different. If I could just explain. Will they take a discount? I was probably coming down with something and that's why it happened. I wasn't my fault, actually.
Well, this is it. My handmade life is over. Why bother? If people aren't going to recognize my talent and potential...do I even have talent and potential? You know what? I'm going to crawl into this blanket nest, wallow in my pit of self despair, and never come out. Because I'm not worth it anyway. Goodbye, cruel handmade world.
Alright. I was gone for a while, but I'm back again. Mistakes happen, I made one, now it's time to fix it.
Grief is associated with loss. When we make a mistake, when we hear negative feedback, when we have put everything we have into something and it doesn't go the way we planned, as makers we do suffer a loss. We suffer a loss of excitement, a loss of confidence, a loss of ambition, of enthusiasm, sometimes even a loss of what we feel our maker identity is.
Since entering the wonderful world of handmade, there are a lot of instances I look back on that cause my face to physically cringe. Literally, I shut my eyes tight and my nose wrinkles up and it's very unbecoming. The last four years, it feels like my maker soul has been hit from every angle by people who were disappointed, upset, angry, and downright mean. And every time, I made my way through those five stages; sometimes within a span of 30 seconds, other times over the course of a few months. Sometimes I was able to laugh it off, and other times it truly affected me to my core.
If you find yourself struggling with a mistake, a shortcoming, a failure, or all of the above, just remember these battles are faced by all of us.
Every maker you meet, who you follow on social media, who you admire from afar, who you look up to, whose life you find yourself wishing you'd rather be in...they've made mistakes. They've probably cried about it, or wanted to hide from it, or sought out a comforting bear hug from someone. But they've also learned from it and come out the other side stronger than before.
Mistakes help shape who we are. And from my heart to yours, I think at the end of the day, there's something truly beautiful about that (even if there is an ugly cry involved).
Sending you positive maker vibes,
Kelly, OML dream teamer
Kelly is OML dream teamer, event co-organizer, and QOTW and HTWI curator on the OML blog. She is also the mind, body and soul behind knitbrooks, a collection of knit and crochet accessories created for the modern nature lover like herself. After living in several places across Canada the last five years, Kelly has settled in her hometown of Dundas, Ontario where she now works part time at a publishing company + part time at a local yarn shop + part time living the handmade lady boss life.