Having the courage to fail

If you look up the word "creativity" in the dictionary, it says it is a creative force, a creative capacity. And to be honest, I somehow didn't expect the description to fit so well. I was more inclined to tear up the official definition and unofficially redefine it.I wanted to use this reinterpretation on my part to create a great transition to my title and to explain to you that creativity is exactly that for me: To have the courage to be unable to do something at the first go.  But creativity sometimes also means that something comes out different than you expected it to and that it gives you the chance to create something completely new. And that's why I gladly accept the official definition according to the dictionary and make something creative out of it for me - and for you.

All too often I hear sentences like "You are such a natural talent" or "I would like to have your talent too". Of course I like hearing such things and they flatter me too. But they are simply not true. And for those who shake their heads in patronage and secretly think that I'm just artificially humble, let me tell you: that's not my style. I like to accept compliments and unlike many women I can also just say thank you without having to justify the compliment. If you are gasping for breath and indignantly want to counter my statement: the next time you see your best friend, compliment her on her pretty dress. If she simply says thank you, then hug her as a reward.But if she mentions the store where she bought the dress, complains about the one or other little fat pad that could perhaps be emphasized negatively or even rejects your compliment, then remember my words and pass them on: Just say thank you.  Because you are great!

After this little excursion into self-confidence I would like to get back to the actual topic: talent. I'll spare you the definition of it now, because after all my blog is not a dictionary. Just this much: Talent is seen as a gift that is just there and that a talented person can fall back on without any effort. And no, that wasn't the official definition, because it would be much drier than my description of it.

Well, I'm not talented. Surprise! I'm not one of those who, barely hatched, has already beaten piano sonatas by Beethoven into the keys. I could never sing, even if I believed it at times, I have two left feet and when we had to crochet a cute fluffy toy animal in needlework class, I chose an octopus with a thousand tentacles because I only had to crochet chain stitches for it. When I painted a picture, I had to write down everything I painted until I was about 13 years old, so that the viewer knew what it should represent.

Okay, I admit that the depiction is perhaps a bit exaggerated. And certainly there were some things that I found easier to do than others. Writing, for example. But what I'm getting at is that creativity is by definition a creative asset. A talent is rarely simply there. It is often built up over the years through hard work, sometimes losses are incurred and it is often a long and sometimes frustrating process until you reach the point where you consider it yourself as an asset and can sit back and enjoy it for a while.

Especially in today's world, where social media present such a one-sided picture of a person or their talents, we tend to label ourselves as unimpressive and untalented. Everyone else is better than us, so we don't even try to create something creative. Our world is full of external influences and sources of inspiration, which unfortunately can put us under so much pressure that the inspiration we seek is nipped in the bud.

Being creative means having the courage to fail. It sounds drastic and negative, but basically it's the truth. So many people would like to try something new, but then fail because of their fear of failure. They set their bar so high that they know in advance that they will not be able to reach it. Even precocious proverbs like "No master has fallen from heaven yet" are of no use.

What seems to be incredibly easy for others is sometimes simply impossible for an untrained hand to reach. I recently tried to use watercolours to design my own stationery. I watched a cute YouTube tutorial. I thought it should be possible. It looked suuuuper easy. Just a little bit of watercolor, brush and paper, a few skilful swings over the paper and the work of art is finished. I simply forgot that the mere possession of paint and paper does not make me a van Gogh. By the way, he didn't paint with watercolours, but these are details. Of course I was frustrated at first. Of course I would have liked my lavender branches to be considered lavender not only because of the colour.

But you know what I am really good at? Hanging in there. Even if the recipient of this letter might not see at first glance that it is lavender, she will definitely see that the paper is homemade. And she will appreciate the effort and be happy. And that is what matters. I will again use brush and paper and there will be many more failed attempts, but some day I will be really good at conjuring beautiful flowers only with watercolour and brush.

So if you read my blog in the future or admire my self-made clothes on Instagram, let me tell you: It's not talent that got me this far. It is the sheer will to master this craft. It's countless meters of fabric that finally ended up in the trash can, hours of frustration and tears. I have been sewing for eight years. I started on a sewing machine that was almost as old as myself. I probably unravelled a third of all the seams, or at least I should have unravelled them. But often I just left them like that because I had lost my courage or I was too frustrated to do it all over again. The unfinished object, known as UFO's among manual workers, was then lying in the corner for another year or two until my guilty conscience was cleared up enough to finally throw it in the trash or donate it to a kindergarten as handicraft material.

With my knitting balance it looks even worse. I've been knitting for 10 years and only this spring I finally knitted a sweater that I really want to wear. Often the knitted pieces that I started to knit lie around until the moths have eaten it (that was meant metaphorically, luckily we don't have moths).

What I'm actually trying to tell you is: Never give up! You don't have to be a natural to get anywhere. Often the passion is enough to learn something so well, to let it pass as talent. Really, I don't know what's going on with me today, but I keep coming up with such old proverbs, but it's really true: " Good things take time". If you don't see setbacks as such, but as a learning phase, then one day you will succeed. Oh, and by the way, what I only learned now, after almost 10 years with needle and thread, is that sometimes it is worthwhile to unravel a seam again and again until it fits perfectly. The satisfying feeling of a perfectly fitting garment is guaranteed to compensate for countless hours of work with the seam breaker.

I too often have to summon up all my courage. For example, when I cut a particularly expensive fabric. Or when I decide to open my own online shop. Crazy, right? But you can't imagine how my heart was pounding when I loaded my first products into my etsy shop. And I admit, I'm a little afraid I might fail. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that this fear must never prevent you from achieving something that is within the realm of possibility.

You can buy this outfit by the way in my new Etsy-Shop #allmycouragetakentogether
You can buy this outfit by the way in my new Etsy-Shop #allmycouragetakentogether

In this sense I wish you much courage, perseverance and extensive learning phases, which will bring you to a point where you can build up a creative asset and simply profit and enjoy!

Never give up the faith in yourself, because I believe in you!


Scarlet Rose

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