In the last 6 months a lot has happened in life. I am talking about some things that only the closest to me know about (aka my husband) I don’t open up much in general about really personal things just because I don’t believe it is always important to but I have been debating about when and if this was something I should tell to others. After a lot of personal debate I realized this is something that I felt was far more beneficial to share than to hold back.
I always thought the most life altering moments in life would be the ones in college when every single semester I felt I could slightly reinvent myself. You are dating and a lot of things happen in relationships that change you. You find independence and begin to understand who you are. There are many people I could name that have helped me get to where I am now and I feel incredibly lucky to have them or had them in my life. But throughout that time I was defining myself on things that were based on something else, whether it be someone I knew, something I had seen, or any other situation I had come across in life thus far. I think this time was very important for me and I think it is in anyone’s life, but I realize at this point, how this was just the beginning of where it all began.
What happened between then and now is a little less important I think it is what has happened in the last 6 months that is the most important to share. I know each creative goes through a time where they feel blank inside. It is as if you cannot create what your head and heart want to (check this video with a great explanation on this topic from Ira Glass). Almost as if you have this odd disconnect between your hands and mind. I thought for some time this meant I was never going to be good at what I was so passionate about and for quiet a while I lost faith. All these people around me told me I was so talented, to keep going, and they loved my work, but I had a hard time believing them and I wasn’t sure what that meant. I did work with half a heart and honestly felt like I was this sad version of a real creative when I compared myself to others no matter what anyone said. Everyone around me had a different version of me than I had of myself when I was alone. I had these expectations based on what I was seeing everyday. In my mind I thought if only I could copy and make something similar I could prove to myself I could do be that good. Haven’t we all thought that?
The reason I share this is because I know without knowing any of you very deeply that you may have been there, are there, or at some point will be there. It was my greatest fear to never hit what I qualified as professional level work. And honestly at one point it was the fear of succeeding that kept me from pushing towards my goal. You know that feeling where you know if you get what you have worked hard for it will be awesome, but if you don’t it will hurt worse than anything? Yeah I have been there. So much of my life has been focused on being a creator. Even as a soccer player through high school and college I always thrived on creating the perfect play for a goal to happen. I lived for the rush of hitting the perfect cross for a header goal…yeah at one point I was a pretty intense athlete ha. I never realized how important creating is to who I am until in the last 6 months. I have always been naturally a creator it is my job no matter where I am, what I do, or who I am with. Some people just have jobs and that is mine. I just wasn’t sure what this really meant and why I was creating what I thought and saw as being good.
So what all changed you are wondering? How did I get to the other side? After a lot of conversations with amazing creative people who I truly believed in, visually seeing my natural visual style via of all things Pinterest, and critically looking at myself I came to some pretty serious conclusions.
1. I am only 24. This is a huge blessing. Kids are 2-3 years away still, I have time. I want a family but I know I have a task to do prior to having little ones dividing my attention and I know the time I have which means I have to make the most of it. It is precious and will allow me to be a good mom if I take full advantage now. This has made me crazy driven.
2. I have support. Mike is my biggest cheerleader. I couldn’t do what I am doing without him. If we had never gotten married I would be working as a barista or waiting tables trying to be a freelance designer at the same time. I also wouldn’t know myself the way I do without him. He knows when to call me on my crap and he tells me honestly and in a constructive way when my works is awful. This is the greatest gift in life.
and finally the biggest most life altering one…
3. I am my greatest asset. I know this sounds corny, dumb and simple, but it is true. It was like one day a light bulb just went off. You cannot copy someone, you cannot compare yourself, you will only be a second rate version. The greatest gift we are are given is our individuality. I used to hate that I wasn’t perfectly skinny and I had this athletic build that used to kick some serious butt on the field but in fashion didn’t line up with what I imagined. So many times
I wished I could have something someone else did and I realized that just left me sad, depressed, and further away from success. Now I know I have to workout, eat right, and live in a way that encourages me to be the best I can be. Will I be perfect to the world standards? I have no clue and honestly I don’t care. I care about being the best me in every way and any direction and that should be all that matters to any of us.
The truth is it is hard to be different in the world we live in and be confident but when you find a peace within yourself about who you are you will find that slowly what your heart has wanted for so long will begin to happen in the exact way it was meant to. Did I really think I would be a designer with a growing blog when I was busting my butt in college? No way. But I am happier than ever doing what I am and I love it so much it doesn’t feel like work. How amazing, right?!
The most empowering moment was when I found that if I was myself than how can I be redone. If I am true to being original than even sharing my design secrets won’t matter simply because if it is really me and there is only one me than anyone else trying to be me would only be trying to be me. Now the gamble is hoping it really works ha but if you are happy than isn’t that enough? It is to me.
All that to say in the last 6 months discovering a confidence in myself that I am who I am and gosh darn that is the best thing in the world…that’s a huge accomplishment especially as a woman. I stopped trying to design like other people, be other people, and did what naturally came to me. This meant what you see everyday on the blog; geometric shapes, doodling (I was known for covering notes, notebooks, and anything possible in doodles while in school), and whatever else came to mind when I was honest with myself. Do I still get inspired by things? Umm have you seen my Pinterest? I think I pin more than I watch movies or tv haha.
Implementing my design style is something I am still working on being confident about, which I think is natural as an artist. But I throw it into comps to clients all the time and more times than not in the last three months it has been the chosen proof and that says something big to me.
It’s been a lot but to really take in especially since it seems so simple, but if you really look at the people you qualify as successful what have they done? They have been themselves whatever that may be or not be. People love individuality but never say it outwardly but when you look at aesthetic choice it is evident.
So I hope you find this inspiring wherever you may be at as a creative.
Happy Wednesday friends! You inspire me.
Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,
A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons.