I wasn't going to post about this. I certainly wasn't going to blog about it.
But after having a good conversation with my trusty pyschological advisor (Darren), I've decided to write it all out and purge it from my system.
It all started 2 months ago. I was desperately behind on some scrapbooking deadlines, but I couldn't bring myself to work on the jobs. I'd sit and stare at the assortment of photos and supplies on my desk until my eyes blurred over. I tried various tactics to inspire myself: I spent 2 days completely re-organizing my scrap room, hoping that a newly cleaned space would motivate me. I made business goals and started working towards them, hoping THAT would spur me to work. Nothing worked. That is, until I discovered the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest.
I'd heard of it before, but had never paid attention. This time, I did. I read through the rules and got excited about the assignments. With just a few weeks until the deadline, when many people were saying, "I was going to enter, but now there's not time," I dove in. I had a ton of fun, I stretched my scrapbooking horizons, I branched out and tried new products and techniques, I loved the layouts I created - and best of all, I rediscovered my passion. By the time I mailed the entry off, I already felt like I'd won. Not the CONTEST, but just the sheer victory that comes with setting a goal, meeting it, and being content with that.
And I was content. Sure, I envisioned what it'd be like to win. I imagined what it'd feel like to be named one of the best scrapbookers of 2006. Being a Hall of Famer carries a lot of clout in my industry. I pictured being able to put it in writing on my business site: Stacy Kocur, 2006 CK Hall of Fame winner. I daydreamed about what I'd spend the prize money on. But I never expected to win. Some 1000 people entered, and only 25 would be chosen. I knew my chances were next to nothing. Even so, I was content with just entering.
I put the layouts away and didn't even look at them again until this past weekend. Call week came and as I browsed the Hall of Fame threads on 2Peas, I thought, "Weird. I'm not worked up. Shouldn't I be?" Some of the scrappers who'd entered were on pins and needles. I wasn't. It just wasn't that big a deal to me. On Monday. Nor on Tuesday. But tonight, when I logged on and discovered that at least 21 of the 25 winners had been notified, my heart fell.
My immediate reaction to THAT emotion was this one: disgust. I couldn't believe how SAD I felt. It made me mad that I was so disappointed. I was taken aback to realize how much being named to the Hall of Fame DID mean to me. All day, I've been vacillating between two thoughts: 1, "You ARE good at what you do, and you DO have a shot at this. Go you!" and 2, "What are you THINKING? Of COURSE you don't hold a candle to these other scrappers." But until I saw those 21 posts, I didn't think it would matter so much.
A few minutes ago, I called Darren into my office.
"I didn't win," I said.
He put his arms around me and said, so sincerely, "I know. But *I* still think you're a Hall of Famer. You probably have to know somebody. These things are always so political." I loved him to his very toes for trying to make me feel better.
"But I'm pissed that I'm so sad about it!" I exclaimed.
"You need validation," he said. "It makes you mad to be confronted with that fact. You KNOW you need it, but you don't like admitting it."
"Yah. And this would've been the best kind of validation. It would've been validation from the giants in my industry."
Wisely, he didn't say anything more. He just held me tight and loved me.
He's so right. I DO have a personality that needs validating. I need to know that I'm okay. I need to know that people like me, think I'm funny, respect me, value my opinion, trust my judgment. Even when I know these things are true, I often need to HEAR it before I'll really let myself believe it.
I know I'm good at what I do. My tax return proved that to me this year. People pay me well for what I do. I'm passionate about what I do. My friends gush over my creations. Darren constantly tells me he thinks I'm gifted.
And I suppose that's why I'm so disgusted that I reacted the way I did tonight. I didn't expect it, but my true colors came shining through, loud and clear. I am a person who needs approval and thrives on validation. I hate it. But there it is.
Now I'm ready to put it behind me and concentrate on the things I was so content about until 5 hours ago.
1. I've always dreamed of being published. And yet, I'd never even submitted anything FOR publication. Until this contest. That was a huge step.
2. I love the layouts I created. One in particular features my sister and her gorgeous family. Another one is dedicated to blogging: why I do it. Others focus on my precious kids. My favorite one tells the story of how two of my best friends came into my life.
3. Creating Keepsakes magazine now has these layouts on file, and maybe, just MAYBE, they'll ask to publish one or two of them down the line.
4. I found my passion again. After submitting my layouts for the contest, I was able to dive back in to my work, and even though I was further behind than I had been, I wasn't stressed about it. I've produced some of my best work ever in the month following that.
Validation Shmalidation. Yah, I need it. No, I don't like that I need it.
But there it is, in all its beauty. At least I can admit it and move on.
And there's always Hall of Fame 2007! :)