My work over the past year has helped me to move through ideas about perfection and self hatred. All of my Earth Angel creations may seem incredibly sweet and innocent, but the feelings that my creations used to bring up for me were much more dark and intense. In the beginning of 2021 I was going through a really hard time mentally and emotionally. Without getting into too many details, I was incredibly emotionally unstable and self hating. My work brought these feelings to the forefront. I was unable to create anything without it turning into a reason to hate myself more. Every mistake I made turned into a reason to tear myself apart. Even when I successfully completed a project without any mistakes I hated the outcome and my thoughts told me it was embarrassing to continue to put my work out into the world. When I tried out a new pattern or technique and it wasn't perfect right away I became incredibly frustrated with my inability to get it the way I pictured it in my head.
My intention in working on this brand has always been to help myself and others connect to their inner child. I think on social media lately this phrase is super overused and the real meaning of it is somewhat diluted. It isn't just about what made you feel happy and alive as a kid. Just like anything there is a light and a dark to the concept of your inner child. The light side is symbolized in my brand by my whimsical childlike designs and inspirations. The dark side is the unprocessed feelings from your childhood that aren't often seen, what goes on behind the scenes of creating Earth Angel.
Thinking back to my childhood I realized I was always a perfectionist. I remember in kindergarten getting one of my first homework assignments and having a tantrum to my mom because there were eraser smudges on the paper. If something doesn't look the way I want it to in the present moment, I get incredibly frustrated and I believe it will never get to a place I feel content or happy with. These feelings of frustration soon become so powerful and overwhelming they turn into self hatred.
This year I was forced to embrace my inner child in a different way. I had to acknowledge that darker side of her and teach her new ways of talking to herself and not being so hard on herself. But the challenging part was not getting stuck in the darkness. I had been stuck in certain emotional cycles and beliefs (again being vague because I don't want to overshare) for years that I was aware of but weren't getting any better. The way I felt about my work started to show me that it was time to learn some new skills that help me address these childhood patterns in a way that I hadn't yet been able to.
It was really hard to get to place where everything I made didn't make me hate myself more. In order to not get stuck in this cycle of creation turning into self hatred I kind of had to quiet that inner child voice for a few months. I had to take on the role of the adult caregiver and show her that there are new, more productive ways of thinking about things. This really allowed me to get through perfectionism and the frustration and self hatred that came along with it.
Some things that helped me:
❤ Making a mental note every time someone gave a genuine complement to my work. Remembering that people aren't gaining anything by giving you a compliment and they are usually being genuine. Other people's judgements can be more logical and rational than mine because they aren't clouded with emotion.
❤ Paying attention to the way I talk to myself. It sounds cheesy and unhelpful and you've probably heard it a thousand times but the way you talk to yourself really is everything. It started with me noticing the terrible things I would say to myself during the work day. Just by noticing these words I was able to get a bit of a grasp on them and eventually change them to something a bit more positive.
❤ Not allowing myself to get swept up in the emotion. This is easier said than done when you are an emotionally intense person like me but I started taking a lot of breaks while I was working. If I started to feel really frustrated I would go for a walk for a few minutes. I learned that obsessing over something and trying to fix it just leads to more frustration and emotion.
Through this year I have learned that there is a process to everything. Time will allow you to get better and feel more confident in a skill. You probably won't get it perfect the first time, but that does not mean you are bad or that you will never be happy with the outcome. Things can be changed, rethought, redone, and you can take your time. I am able to get through a work day knowing that even if I create something that I don't like, it doesn't mean that someone else won't or that it is unworthy of being shared with the world.
Now that I have this more adult, emotionally stable perspective I feel like I can reintegrate the inner child a little. This whole brand is a love letter to her and I am so lucky and thankful for every one of you that resonates with or appreciates my work. All that being said it was overall a really special year. Thank you all for your support this past year and wishing you a 2022 full of love and joy!!!!