How I stopped hiding and what happened when I opened up

A close up of the mail art I sent to Roben-Marie Smith.  More pictures on my blog this week.

A close up of the mail art I sent to Roben-Marie Smith.
More pictures are on my blog this week.

I’ve started a few posts here over the last two years with the words I’ve been hiding from you.  The hardest thing about this whole creative business adventure is not the tech stuff.

It’s stepping into the adventure.  Stepping out.

I know it.  And I know you know it too.

I used to be on some stamping forums.  But I backed away.  Because the world I loved, where people shared and supported each other, disappeared.  The advanced artists reaching out to help beginners disappeared.  And the people who were taking over on the Forum were like those stuck up girls in high school .  Oh yeah, you know the ones.  And they made sure everyone knew they had an inner circle.  And that you weren’t a part of it.  They were condescending.  They were showing off.  And I didn’t think their artwork was all that great to be honest, so I didn’t understand where all the ego was coming from. They were all show, no go.  Ick.

The stamp club I would go to had girls who were in too many swaps.  So they would do something that took 5 minutes with the comment “That’ll do”.  Images not stamped properly.  Colour outside the lines (and not in a good way).  If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m sooooo not a “that’ll do” kinda girl.  There were girls who had to copy exactly out of a magazine.  If they didn’t have the exact stamp and stamp pad they would throw their hands in the air (but didn’t wave them like they just don’t care) saying they couldn’t make the card.  And with only one girl interested in mixed media and Somerset Studio, I decided to walk away from that too.  Because they weren’t my kinda girls.   I didn’t get them. And they didn’t get me either.

And so I hid away.  I retreated from everything.  I unsubscribed from the forums.  I stopped going to stamp club.  I became a hermit.  Somehow, it became not just my art life, but my whole life.  You don’t feel let down or disappointed if you don’t put yourself out there.  You can’t be judged or have your feelings hurt that way.

But you can’t find your right place or right people either.

And somehow, in amongst all that, I stopped making art.  I still read Somerset Studio.  I still read the blogs of my art SHeroes.  But I didn’t get my hands inky or painty.  I didn’t for a long, long time.  I just couldn’t.

But in the back of my mind, the dream was always there.

That big wild crazy dream was always, always there.

When I started my blog, I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing.  I just went about it all by myself.  My first posts were done the way the ‘experts’ said I should write them.  I could tell it wasn’t the right fit.  I didn’t know what I wanted it to be or where I wanted to go with it.  And there was the holding back.  Always the holding back.  Not sharing too much.  Not showing too much.   Being vanilla.  And not the “good extra creamy with real vanilla bean” vanilla.  It was the “cheap no name brand ice more than cream artificial chemical tasting” vanilla.

But this year, I stepped back into the art world.  The online world.  And the hardest one, the real world.

I’ve let my personality show on my blog.  My ocker wording.  My funny little sayings.  My love of TV on DVD,  my feisty temper and my sometimes over enthusiastic opinions, and a love for my car.  I’ve made friends (in person!) at Etsy street team events that have turned into supportive and encouraging cheer squads.  I’ve jumped into online and real life art workshops.

Along the way I’ve met people I now consider friends.  Friends I can reveal my true self to. I’ve grown into my art – I’m making stuff I’m really proud of (check out my Finding Firelight blog).   It’s been such a long time since I felt that way.  Since I could say that.  I’m discovering my own style in my artwork – something I’ve chased for years.  I mean it literally when I say years.  I’ve had offers of free coaching, art being sent to me and interview requests all come from out of the blue.  Out of nowhere.

All because I was willing to step out into the sunshine and show the world who I was.  Because I decided to just be myself and see where it led me.  To see what happened if…..  And because I stopped trying so hard.  I think not trying so hard was a big part of it.  Which is really hard for someone who has had to fight for everything.  But maybe I don’t need to fight.

If you’ve been hiding too…

If you aren’t letting the real you shine…

I hope you’ll find courage in this post.

That when you let the world in, good things happen.

Love and hugs and support and of course, firelight – Coral  xo

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5 Responses to How I stopped hiding and what happened when I opened up

  1. Dar says:

    Coral, just keep showing the world who you are! Yay for you for stepping back out there (it takes a lot of courage, you know?)

    And, your art is beautiful!

    • Coral says:

      Hi Dar – I could use you as my personal cheer squad :). Thank you for your beautiful words. It’s taken a long time but just showing up seems to be working. So many unexpected things coming from it. Success has to find you working, right?

  2. Sage Grayson says:

    Great post! I was actually a stamper and scrapbooker for many years. I still make scrapbooks, but they’re just for me. The groups I used to belong in could be clique-ish too. I think I’ve been hiding in my business too because it’s scary to put myself out there for judgment. But I’m getting better at taking baby steps toward my goals. :)

    • Coral says:

      Hi Sage – it’s so hard isn’t it. Be yourself, put yourself out there but stay safe, a kid the troll … And find your right people. Eeerm… So how do I balance that out!?!?

      I’m finding its easier to do bit by bit while still being careful.

      And there are cliques everywhere – not just in my art world but on line everywhere, as well as in person. If you walk away from that horrible energy. You eventually find the kind hearted, generous, welcoming girls (and guys) you are looking for. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your lovely comment. Means so much.

  3. Verónica says:

    I really needed to read something like this today. Following you from now on, inspiring lady! : )

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