I started doing these “Don’t be afraid” posts back in January and got a lot of positive feedback, but when school picked up I didn’t have the time for the daily posts and I kind of faltered on the entire blog altogether. I didn’t realize just how badly I had messed up until recently, however, when I finally learned to look at Squarespace’s “Metrics” function and saw that I had lost 85% of my audience since January. I have to admit, it crushed me a little bit. It felt like I had taken a huge step back, even though that had been there the whole time; I just hadn’t known about it before. So, I decided to start the posts back up again. I found it hard to commit to this; it’s been sliding from to-do list to to-do list for a couple weeks now, but I never made it happen. It probably won't be a daily thing, at least at first, as I try to get other things up and running. Once I'm a little more settled maybe we'll have a month of living fearlessly posts.
I felt really dumb for not knowing about the Metrics function in Squarespace; how had I not done my homework enough to know about that? Tracking website traffic isn’t something I had ever been exposed to, and I honestly thought it would be a lot harder to do than I now know it is. The whole incident made me feel shaky about my competence in what I’m doing – but, honestly, does anyone really know what the hell they’re doing? It can be really overwhelming to think about all the things I still have to learn to be a functioning human being and actually make money at the same time. Yeah, I’m learning every day – but it never feels like its fast enough. And as a budding entrepreneur, the fear of not knowing how to take care of something is very, very real.
In the midst of my mental beating and mild anxiety attack, I paused and told myself it was ok; I knew about that stuff now and I really did know a lot about being a graphic designer – I had gone to school for four years, after all. I had learned my lesson about that Metrics function, and at a time when it wasn’t vitally important to my well-being. That’s actually pretty lucky. I carefully chose nice words to speak to myself, and talked in my head like I would to a friend. Oh, it sounds lame – but it really wasn’t. Self-compassion is the greatest because you’re the only one that it concerns, and you can be as weird with yourself as you want and literally no one will ever know. It’s just you and your friend, you.
Plus, ignorance isn’t always a bad thing. During my History of Design course, I remember reading about different designers or artists who had a background in something completely separate from art; lots of them didn’t have any sort of formal training in the area of design. This allowed the individual to see beyond the rules and current standards and think more freely about ideas. Their ignorance actually helped them have a unique and original perspective; not knowing the "right way" led to them figuring out a better way. I thought that was pretty awesome – especially since most of the time, I feel like I just don’t know enough yet. Nah, it wasn't great in this case, but taking the opportunity to learn from the ignorance was a good experience.
That said, I think the best option is to have as much knowledge as possible about a subject but be able to keep it boxed up in the “things I’ve been told” section of the brain, completely separate from the “things I think” section. We need to be able to take at will the things we‘ve been told and analyze them with our own thoughts, instead of letting the two get mashed up together. It's when the two become mixed that one is considered truly ignorant. Knowledge is power, and being able to understand and process the ways others think about the world is important for us to best understand the universe.
In proportion to what's out there to know - about being a designer or entrepreneur or just human being - I don't know much. But I'm working on figuring it out, and I'd love to take you along for the ride.
I am working on a daily basis to be the best soul I can be, and am exploring wellness through a hodgepodge of lifestyles that resonate with me personally in combination with my own ideas. One of my biggest struggles in obtaining wellness is working through the anxiety caused by my daily fears that my limbic system tends to blow out of proportion. These "Don't be afraid" posts help me to reflect on my days and recognize and address my fears while showing myself self-compassion and love, while maybe helping to inspire or comfort someone else.
I've also always enjoyed the act of mindlessly writing a word over and over again until it's no longer a word and just a form on a page; it's a type of meditation for me that also helps me dwell on the word I've chosen for the day and release my feelings surrounding it. Plus, hand lettering is always fun and takes me back to my childhood (when I'm convinced we're all the truest versions of ourselves).