The other day I had a couple hard emails to send out. Two wholesale clients were waiting on designs that I had tried several times and just couldn't nail. A retail customer had to email me about items I had forgotten in their order. Then I realized I had missed a call with a client. I got through the difficult emails about my failed designs, owned my oops with the missed items and apologized and rescheduled the call. I felt really low after that series of mini-failures.
I had a delivery to make that afternoon to a wholesale client locally here in Maine. I tend to think of myself as a shy person and after the day I was having I felt especially anxious. It's hard to present your art to someone in person, at least it is for me. Luckily for me this client is amazing. She was warm and bubbly. I could feel her positivity just lift me up. I felt so much lighter when I left her home. Especially when I had arrived so full of anxiety. Maria, thank you for pulling me out of that negative space.
As I made my way home I had a moment of reflection and realized something. Soap began almost out of a moment of desperation. I had this nagging voice that told me I needed to find this something, this talent, this outlet, that was locked away inside me. I will never forget the feeling the first time I made soap. It's no exaggeration when I tell you I felt like I had made soap my entire life. Like it was the most natural thing for me to do. I love everything about it. My favorite bars are often made with no planning. I shut the door and feel my way through fragrances and colors. I mix, I swirl, I layer, I whip, I frost, I sculpt and when it's over what's created is so much more than soap. It's become an outlet for me that I deep down inside somewhere, I knew I needed. It gives me an outlet that I really needed.
Until I left Maria's home, I hadn't realized what else selling my soap was giving me. In my negative headspace I had looked at those emails, those admitted failures, that ownership of a mistake, all in the wrong light. I had not allowed myself to look at those as opportunities instead of failures. When I reached out I had to overcome something difficult for me. I had to take ownership of not being able to deliver on someone's expectation. I had to take ownership of not reviewing an order carefully enough. I packed it, I shipped it, I missed the items. I missed the phone call. Honestly I ghosted it believing it to be my car's extended warranty (again). Those moments were hard. They were riddled with anxiety and bits of embarrassment. When we face moments, even via email, that are hard...we grow. It's easy to recognize growth when it's driven by joy and happy experiences. It's more difficult to recognize the growth we do in our toughest moments.
This experience is more than just fun or artistic. It's a journey of personal growth. It's full of fun and has lots of colorful, fragrant awesomeness. It's full of celebrations of new skills and expanding my talent. It's also hard. It's hard to remind myself it's ok to be myself. That it's ok to be away from my kids for a couple hours each day. That it's ok to pursue your passion. Even more for me. It's hard to fail and let that roll off my back and push forward. It's hard to look at what you create objectively. I know I am too hard on myself sometimes. We are always our harshest critics. I am discovering that I need to love these experiences equally. It may not happen in the moment, but after a failure it's so important to look back at failure and grow. Not just to be better the next time, but to relieve ourselves of the heaviness that comes from not appreciating failure as a teachable moment.
I am far from perfect and I expect to have more teachable moments in the future. I am prepared to appreciate them and to grow. When you purchase someone's product from a small shop artisan, like myself. you are contributing to someone's passion, their pride, their personal growth. Never underestimate the power of that. You all push me along on my journey and from the bottom of my heart I thank you.