IT'S ABOUT WHO SHOWS UP, NOT HOW MANY
Success. We all have different definitions of what it is and how to achieve it. To me success was about the number of likes, the number of followers, the count of attendees to an event and other crazy things that had a number attached to it. I was defining my success on things that once upon a time didn’t matter to me at all. I hate to say it but I started wanting someone else’s success story and not my own.
Of course I snapped out of it! Hitting bumps in my journey is something I’ve learned to embrace. Let me just paint a picture for you: I’m having an art show in the city in which I currently live in. It’s not my hometown but after 8 years of living here (4 while in college) I’ve become acquainted with a lot artists/creatives in the area. I tell everyone! A week before my art show, I go support another artist’s pop up show and a few people remind me that they’ll come through my event. “It’ll be dope”, they say. While at the show I post a picture of one of my new paintings. 300 likes! Nice! I feel beyond confident! I continue to walk through the pop up show, handing out small free prints, taking pictures and enjoying the snapchat filter. I say my farewells. I go home excited to show off all my new work at my own show. The day is finally here! I pop the tags on a new jumpsuit and make sure my highlight is glowing. The first 30 minutes pass and no one shows up. Finally the door opens. Oh, it’s just my girls followed by my brother. Another 45 minutes pass and I have a head count of 9 people. I only rented out the space for 4 hours so if they’re coming they need to come now! I post a video of the event. 250 likes, 700 views in an hour. Yet, the crowd only grew to a solid 15. End scene.
Even though it didn’t go exactly that way, you get my point. This has happened to me more times than I can count. After so many times I started questioning my own success. Even with all the love on social media along with the constant support I get while at others’ events, I still just couldn’t gather why I felt like I was failing. It’s a feeling that’s really hard to explain but so powerful that it made all my past most proud moments feel irrelevant. My biggest annoyance with having an ambitious personality is that I’m extremely hard on myself. I’m my worst critic! When an event doesn’t go how I envisioned, I go to such a dark place. I beat myself up day in and out. I tell myself I’ll never get to where I want to be. I remind myself that success is a long way from now. That’s where I was wrong. The success I was chasing was more focused on superficial attention. Finger happy likes on social media and “want to say something nice” people. I was longing for what “looked” like success but not the actuality.
I forgot to be thankful for the things I did have that made me successful. I didn’t appreciate the ones who support me over and over again. The ones who showed up! There’s a support system I have beyond the social media world and art scene. There are family members and friends who go hard for me and my dreams just as much as I do. The world has a funny way of reminding me what’s really important. This helped me realign my definition of success to what it was when I first started. I was beyond frustrated with myself that once again I forgot what was really important and why I started selling my art, designing and blogging. This is the second or third time it’s happened and I begin to wonder if it’s just life. It’s true that you’ll keep facing the same problem until you can truly change. I can’t promise I’ve fully adapted, but I’m going to keep trying to stay focus on my true purpose.