Updated: Sep 18, 2021
Hello, it’s been a while. I haven’t posted in the last few weeks because I simply Did Not Feel Like It. What have I been doing instead of working very hard on a post for my blog that probably no one is going to read? (If you’re reading this please know that I appreciate you very much.) Many things, including hanging out with my cats, planning and going to a bachelorette party for my best friend who is getting married in less than one month (!), working, writing, eating ice cream as summer winds to a close, etc. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I watched the second season of Making the Cut on Amazon Prime (for those not in the know, it’s a fashion design show). I’ve always been a huge fan of Project Runway, and while I miss it and don’t think Making the Cut is quite as good (unconventional materials challenge, my beloved <3 ), I’m just happy to be back with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn as they judge people. It was a really good season, and one of the moments that stuck out to me was when contestant Gary was second-guessing himself, berating himself, and generally struggling (as he did every single episode, before coming up with the most beautiful, brilliant design), and Tim came over and said something like, “You know, Gary, I really do not envy you this, but I think all this internal strife and creative struggle is just part of your process. Embrace it.”
Those words (paraphrased, of course, because I’m too lazy to go back and find the actual quote) hit me like a brick to the face. It’s part of your process. Embrace it. Easier said than done, Tim, but it’s still a really important and valuable point. It’s like quicksand, right? The more you struggle, the more you sink. I've found that half of writing (or doing anything in life, really) is overcoming the fear and self-doubt of doing the thing, but if I can find a way to acknowledge that the anxiety is there and that it's real, it's so much easier to proceed. To work with my anxiety instead of against it. And half of getting to the part where I can work with instead of against is taking the time to acknowledge that it's there. Make space for your anxiety, otherwise you're going to feel like it's crushing you, like there's just not enough room in this town for the two of you. Pull up a chair for your anxiety; offer it a seat. It's going to be with you a while—might as well get comfortable. One thing I've learned is that I will never be rid of my anxiety entirely. I can do things to lessen it, to live with it, to ignore it temporarily, but never "overcome" it. Because in the end there's nothing to overcome. It's just part of me, like my lungs and my face. And as much as I want to be rid of it, I've found that it's pretty freeing to admit that I won't.
It's not easy. And it takes time. But Tim Gunn is right: embrace your process, even if it means making peace with the struggle. Accept that you will struggle, but know that you'll also come out the other side. Even when you don't feel like you will. The only way to do a thing is by knowing that you can. The only way out is through.
Please know that I myself haven't mastered embracing my process in the slightest. Some days I struggle and some days I don't. But hearing Tim Gunn say it was a good reminder that it is possible, and it is a good thing to do. Embrace, don't fight.
Make it work.