flowers + reading
Jan 7, 2015
I have to deviate from our usual Working Designer Wednesday format today. I hope you don’t mind and will stay with me for a bit. I read a blog post last night that moved me to tears. When I finished reading it, I thought, “I have to contact this designer and thank her for writing that post.” Then I noticed her phone # listed on her page and I did something I never do. I decided I couldn’t wait to write an email, so I picked up the phone and called her just seconds after reading her post. I only tell you that so you can understand how deeply this post moved me. And here’s why…
Week after week all year long, I receive emails and phone calls from designers who are struggling to find balance and purpose while pursuing this passion of floral design. While the world looks at a floral designer and says, “That must be so much fun…playing with flowers all day! Working around so much beauty! I wish I could do that.” …the reality for many of us is a constant pull on our psyche between the “kickin’ ass and takin’ names” mentality and the “I’m not good enough” voices mumbling in our heads. We all struggle with comparison, navigating the the façade of social media, juggling family and work, and wondering if our work matters. Young (or new) designers feel pressure to achieve success at lightning speed…to be published, to be recognized on social media, to have thousands of likes on Facebook and Instagram. Seasoned designers who have been working diligently for 20+ years to build a business and brand suddenly feel the pressure to keep up with an evolving social media climate (that didn’t even exist when they started) or be passed up and left behind as irrelevant and forgotten. While there is a lot of excitement and joy associated with the floral design career, I also hear a constant undertone in the mail I receive of anxiety, stress and depression. It weighs on me. I want more for you. More joy…
And then I read this post last night….written by a 24 year old designer who hit the floral design scene this year with a significant amount of “success”. Hope it speaks to you this morning. I’d like to introduce you to Meredith from Bristol Lane Floral Design and let you read her blog post in its entirety…
I want you to see her…both as a designer and as a person…so I’m including a couple of photos. I think sometimes we see professional headshots on each others’ websites and forget that we are all real, regular people behind the computer/phone screen…all working, hoping, falling short at times…and we all break the same.
“The new year is here. 2015 arrived a few days ago, ushered in by sparklers, giant glitter-covered hats, champagne, and kisses at midnight. The past few days my instagram and facebook feeds have been filled with people sharing their resolutions for 2015. I am addicted. I love to read how people have grown, re-prioritized, and set new goals and dreams for the coming year. Usually, I am one of them. However, this year, my goals have been slow in coming. I am working through them slowly, trying to determine how to balance seeking excellence and dreaming big while living simply and pursuing what matters. For now, I am content to wrestle with my goals for the year, even if I don’t know what they are for a few months.
However, there is one thing I know I don’t want for 2015. Comparison. As creatives, we are addicted to it. Those of you in the wedding industry know what I am talking about- we stalk photos and blogs and tally up in our heads who has been published, who hosted a workshop, who seems to know the right people, who is getting ahead. Instead of being inspired by great work we are discouraged. Instead of cheering each other on, we write a nice instagram comment then secretly count the ways we are a failure and add “be amazing” to our to-do lists.
This past year I have had the opportunity to regularly meet with some amazing women in the wedding industry. They have taught me more than I can say but one of my favorite lessons I have learned from them is that creativity doesn’t run out. We all seem to be afraid that if we don’t leap to the top of the industry, get published in magazines immediately, have the best social media, or know the most influential people that there won’t be any room for us. We subconsciously grab, shove, and cling to whatever creativity and position we can find thinking that if we let go we will fade out. It may sound crazy but it’s true. I like to picture the watering hole scene from Mean Girls- that is what goes on inside our head!
This year, I want less of that. Less grabbing and more giving. Less competition and more collaboration. Less silent sulking and more audible encouragement. Less judging and more respecting. Less fear and more joy. Less stress over being awesome and more contentment with being myself. Less striving and more grace. This applies to myself, giving myself room to breathe, grow, make mistakes, and be a 24 year old business owner who is still learning. It applies to other creatives, the women who have worked hard, put in hours of sweat and tears in order to be where they are. They deserve some respect. They could use some grace. They probably want to feel like they don’t have to keep running non-stop in order to stay ahead, instead they would rather have a true friend who isn’t looking for anything other than to take them to coffee and hear how their week was.
It’s easier to be less grabby and clingy with people who aren’t in your industry. It’s simpler for me to practice this with photographers, planners, calligraphers, ect because they aren’t encroaching on MY thing. This year, I am challenging myself to do this with creatives AND florists alike. Because here is the truth- I don’t own flowers. I don’t own creativity. I don’t own position, popularity, or the right to be published. Those things I am chasing are never going to pour back into my life. They aren’t going to be there for me in hard times, come over for a glass of wine and Scandal, or encourage me when I am down. People do that. And what better people to do that than people who understand what we go through on a daily basis?
So no goals yet but I do want 2015 to be marked by less fear of there not being room for me or there not being enough creativity. Instead, I want 2015 to be marked by respecting, encouraging, and forging friendships with the women I respect and admire. I want it to be a year of genuine encouragement, relationships, and love. More open handed, more contentment, more putting people over power. Anyone want to join me?”
And there’s Meredith on a recent trip to Africa…the caption under this photo reads:
“Even in Africa I found a way to use cornhusks and flowers to make a floral crown for this gorgeous newlywed! Ashley and her new husband gave up part of their honeymoon to serve in Uganda with Palmetto Medical Initiative. That is a woman who deserves to feel beautiful!”