Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I So Didn't win....

This is not the post I'd hoped to be writing today. That one would've said something like "whoo-hoo! I'm in!" I was hoping to tell you how I was one of the five semi-finalists chosen by Cloth Paper Scissors in their Artisan Search. But I can't tell you that, the winners were announced today and I was not one of the semi-finalists chosen. So I debated writing a post at all. It'd be so easy to pretend nothing happened and hope you all forget how excited I was to enter and how much I wanted to win.

But tonight (I'm writing this on Monday night) I was thinking about this and it seemed a bit like I'd be hiding something from you and I'm really committed to being authentic about my journey with you. The whole journey. So here it is- I spent a lot of today feeling pretty disappointed. I'd wanted to be selected. I wanted to win. I didn't. I even re-read the list of semi finalists over a few times just to be sure I hadn't overlooked my name. But nope- not there. :)

I think it's easy when you're looking on to think that the people who are successful in our field are more talented then we are, to think that they have something we don't, that they're charmed and we're not. I know I've thought this in the past and if I had been chosen then I wouldn't have this opportunity to speak authentically and tell you  that it's not true. Although I may seem like I have it all together (or maybe I don't LOL) because I have a book coming out, or have my own style, or whatever else looks good to you and you feel you don't have, I don't possess anything special. I'm not more talented than you. I'm not leading a charmed life, or are luckier than anyone else. 

But I dare to try. To be brave, to risk failure, to put myself in a place where my self esteem could be shaken. A few years ago I wouldn't have tried at all. I'd have thought about it and then felt like it would have been too great a risk. What if I tried and failed? What if I put my very best out there to be judged and it wasn't good enough? It's easy to extrapolate that I'm no good, that I wasn't talented enough, that my work isn't good enough, but it's not true. That's not what "not being selected" means. It means that there were dozens of amazing artists all competing for the same title and the tough reality is that only five were chosen in each category. So I pick myself up, admit I'm disappointed and move on. I think I read somewhere that the people we think of as successful in their field have also usually failed more than anyone else in their field. They risk more, they lose more, they win more. It's important to go on.


So tonight I've decided to make the best of this situation and use it as an excuse to encourage you. I want you to know that if you decide to put yourself "out there" then there will be times that you won't get that article accepted, or that first book proposal might not pass, or no one will buy what you think is your very best work. None of these situations mean you're a bad artist, or not talented enough, or are dumb for even thinking you might be good enough. No one else thinks that of you either. Me- I'd probably just admire you for trying.

I know it's asking a lot but I'd like to know what you really think about this subject. So please please please leave a comment. :)

16 comments:

Terri said...

Jen,

I'm so sorry about your disappointment. I thought your submissions were wonderful.

Your transparency is what draws people to you. It's so appreciated. I think it helps all of us to be more authentic and vulnerable ourselves. I know I can speak for myself.

As sad as it is that you didn't win; I think many more people will be blessed by this posting than if you had won. In the midst of disappointment, you maintain the ability to encourage and strengthen those around you. It's a very special quality you have.

Blessings,
Terri

scrapwordsmom said...

I WILL leave a comment because this inspired me more than you know. For years I entered every scrapbook contest and magazine...I would look at others work and think why am I NOT GOOD ENOUGH?! Why are they getting published and I"m not?!

Then one day I got this email that changed everything. I was gonna be published in Memory Makers Magazine...my page had been picked as one of the Editors Favorites...it was amazing!! I bought like 10 issues of the magazine!!!

So yeah...I have been published and it was amazing. Now here I am at a different time in my life trying new things and wondering if I'll ever be good enough at it.

Thank you so much for sharing our journey with us. I have sooooo many many self doubts about myself and I appreciate your words.:)

Leslie

Single Stone Studios said...

I am the queen of self doubt. I put all my faith in God and leave very little confidence in myself and my abilities. Although my strength is borrowed from him I do beleive we need to have a certain confidence in ourselves, and abilities. To know they are there. To call on them without fear.

You may not have won this one in the way you imagined but you, my friend, are a winner. This post proves it.

Jen said...

I'm sorry you didn't win, but this post of yours is amazing. You are an inspiration to me because you are so real, and this post just solidifies that. I recently entered one of my very favorite art pieces to be published and I was very disappointed when it wasn't chosen. It's natural. But we should continue to celebrate our blessings and keep on trying even if it brings some failures like you said. The more we try the more successes we'll see, right? =)

Sherry said...

I value and appreciate your honesty in writing this. No matter how sanguine we are about the things we do, the things we attempt and the times we put ourselves out there, the fact remains that rejection hurts. We want to be chosen; to be thought of as good enough. We don't look at the big picture right away and say to ourselves, "there were a lot of talented people I was competing with and there could only be a few winners"...we look in that moment at what we didn't achieve and that ever so negative feeling of not being "good enough". Then we can allow that emotion to wash over us and step back and say, what is "good enough" anyway. And who is judging me. Maybe a different "judge" would feel differently about what I do.

Life is often a contest that is stacked before we begin...there is influence and "popularity" and there is the person who is qualified to be chosen vs. the person who knows more people. I'm not saying that this happened in this instance...but the fact remains, we often don't know the whole picture of what we are up against.

So it's a learning curve always...and the most important thing is what you've stressed and passed on -- to keep trying...it's better to try and fail than to not try at all and never know.

My hat goes off to you for even entering work in the competition. Some folks never even have the courage to do that. ♥

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

I learned something amazing about failure this week. Society wants us to feel like "failure" is a bad thing. It isn't. Failure is not ugly. It can be beautiful. We can learn so much from our mistakes or failures, to have life without either would be boring and we'd learn nothing. We'd never grow.

It's all what you make it into!

the zuf (SCS) said...

You are so right! To state that just because we don't win or get published when we hope to, doesn't mean we stink!!! lol! It is hard at the time though, to think otherwise...which is why reading your post always gives be a boost and a jolt to get my fanny up and going again! :) ...and I thank you for that!!!

Through our missed wins (I hate the word failure!) comes knowledge more valuable than winning ~ if we choose to learn from it! ;)

Mousy Brown said...

I could say so many things but I think I will stick with a simple but heartfelt - Thank you! xx

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

What a wonderful post. We have all been there. We know exactly how you feel. I think there is a comfort in knowing we are not alone in this crazy creative process. I am so glad you chose to write a post. I am sorry you weren't chosen... this time. This is a great reminder that we must continue to risk in order to succeed. It is nice to know we are hear cheering one another on!! Thank you for your encouragement! :)

MaikesMarvels said...

Remember what they said at the CCE--sometimes the opportunities we don't get leave us open for even bigger opportunities down the road. There is a meaning to this, and you are already making lemonade with sharing your story and turning it into an authentic sharing opportunity. And remember-it is not about you. It is about timing, about taste, about them looking for something just a little different. But ultimately, you are unique and your art has meaning regardless of how many 'judges' pass it over. This is just a stepping stone to something bigger. You're flying places, lovely birdie!

Bev said...

disappointment is part of growth, and god is growing you! i come from the place that something will happen for me when and if i am ready. if it's what god wants for me, spiritually and emotionally. i always have something to learn...
keep reaching!
xo

Kelly said...

what can I say that you guys haven't already said?!?! First off, I'm sorry that this artisan search didn't turn out the way you wanted it to - and I'm proud of you for making this post! That took bravery and courage to put it out there on the internet, and I want to say that you ARE an inspiration to all of us! in your artwork and your courage!
much love,
Kelly

Janel said...

Jen,
I know it's easy to get disappointed when things don't go the way you want them to. But then think of all of the times you have been in magazines, you have your book in your hand with more copies on the way. You have accomplished so much in the past couple years, it is amazing! Keep your head up, keep trying to submit things and keep being you!

Jen said...

I can't tell you how glad I felt every time I checked my e-mail today to read one more of these wonderful comments. It really does make it all (and even more) worth while to have such fabulous support.Thank you thank you thank you- sincerely- from the bottom of my heart.
-Jen

risa said...

First off, I'm sorry that you didn't make it...as an artist, I understand that sort of disappointment. Even when you try to brace yourself for the possibility of not being selected, it still stings, it still knocks you flat.

Thank you for writing about that. I think too often we try to present a stiff upper lip and "pretend" it was no big deal.

You're right...there is value in putting yourself out there. It's a risk. But whether we win or lose, we gain something.

Thank you for the reminder! I think you deserve some sort of special treat--ice cream? trip to your favorite art store? chocolate? How about all of the above!

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

I was SO disappointed to not see your name in the list of CPS finalists!!! I was certain you would WOW them with your originality. Those silly editors don't know what they're missing, hmmmph.

Next time, there's always a next time!