Thursday, March 16, 2006

validation

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! :)

13 comments:

Denise said...

Oh Stacey, I can so connect with what you are saying. I need outside approval and validation - sometimes even from people I don't think that highly of - I think it is an extension of being a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. It is what is - but I hate it too and wonder why I am just not more confident and content. Oh, well.

You do know you are a SCRAPSHARE HALL of FAME WINNER!...What that doesn't exist? Well it should!

I always search for your posts - you work is so beautiful. I also have enjoyed your blog - you inspire me and sometimes get me laughing so hard I snort - which is great!

So - I would like to see you win too - because you deserve it. So 2007 watch out!

Denise

Nancy - nowimscrappin said...

I understand the need for validation - that has been a struggle of mine my entire life.

I think your scrapbooking is fantastic. I LOVE your handwriting and your journaling. And, I think that the amount of work you accomplished last year was unbelievable. Keep up the great work - and keep on sharing!!

ginger said...

Hey, have you ever read the book "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman? My strongly preferred love language is "words of encouragement", and it sounds like it just might be yours too (imagine that - we might have something in common, lol!). I bet you would find it an interesting read!

Love you and your stuff ;o)

Anonymous said...

Oh Stacy, I have those same feelings (well, the validation ones, since I'm WAY too simple a scrapper to even try and be published, LOL) and until you put it into words, never put it all together until now. Hmm, now what am I going to do about it? Thanks for making me think, and please know that I truly believe it is CK who lost on this one.
Amy

Cara said...

You KNOW I need validation! Most of us do!
I know this prob. does not mean a ton but you are in my HALL OF FAME! Not only in the scrapbooking industry but in the friend industry. I like to think I am a giant in this catagory (i am a lucky girl with lots of great friends)and I am not speaking to size!;)
You should have won. They are IDIOTS!! They can't see perfection when they find it. Shame on them.

Love ya!

Karen said...

WE WANT TO SEE THE PAGE YOU SUBMITTED BRING IT ON
YOU ARE AWESOME STACE I LOVE YOU

Menjiness said...

Stacy, read the book that Ginger recommended. It is such a good book and you will understand why you are what you are. There is NOTHING wrong with that!

We love you and you are a Hall of Famer to us :)

Desiree

nancyp said...

Stacy,

YOU DO HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF TALENT. I love to see what you do in your albums. You are creative in every aspect of your life. I have seen it in the pics of your home, the projects you do for others. You are so generous in everything. You DO NOT need CK to tell you you are talented. It is their loss. You are wonderful, talented and beautiful!

Nancy
npetercmway

Jacy said...

Stacy you are with out a doubt a HOF winner in the simple fact that you inspire others with your love of life, family, and friends!! Add to that you create AMAZING layouts for yourself and others and you share a love of life that is contagious! Thank you for being a SS HOF!!

Sherilyn said...

Stace, needing validation is part of what makes you, YOU. :D There isn't anything wrong with it...anymore than there is anything wrong with the fact that I generally don't need much. It is just who we are. There are pros and cons both ways.

When I didn't get a phone call from you yesterday, I figured you hadn't made it, but I don't think it is a reflection on your talent. It probably DOES have at least a little something to do with how many times you've entered before and how well-known you are to the judges. The most beautiful, accomplished, well-spoken gal in the world won't win Miss America the first time she enters the local Miss Smalltown pageant. It takes years of getting herself out there before the powers that be will let her advance.

Just keep plugging along and entering some of these things to keep the challenge in front of you. It made me happy to see how happy YOU were with your layouts and your ideas and the renewed spark of creativity it all gave you. Entering was SUCH a good thing, even if there is a very natural pang of disappointment upon not winning.

You know who you are and you are generally good with it, and you know deep down that THAT is truly what matters. Hugs,

Christy said...

Stacy-
I do care what you think.
I do think you write well. I think you are funny.
I love seeing your layouts posted on Scrapshare.
I value your opinion.
I want to sit on your porch with you. Feel better? You are a fabulous person and don't ever forget it.

:) (momtomaxandaaron)

Anonymous said...

Far and away the best PRIZE that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.- Theodore Roosevelt

I luv ya!

Bobbie

Terri G said...

Stacy, I think everyone needs validation. We're all human! I need it more than I like to admit too. :o) I think you are awesome!