Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday Musings: Following the Flow of Failure

Sometimes life speaks to you in funny ways. Lately I have been a little distant on here. I'm trying to realize who I want to be, what I want to represent and how I want it all to come together and be presented. That's a lot of variables. Factor in time for family, my internship, events and my current obsession with both Steve Job's biography and Mad Men, and that leaves very little time to actually create any quality content, but still I feel inspired and excited about this outlet for creativity.

The internet is such a phenomenal venue. It's the place where the whole world goes. Sure it is easy to get ignored or avoided, but it is almost as easy to go viral and explode all over everyone's news feed.  It's also a place for infinite knowledge. You can learn almost anything on the internet, from plumbing your house, to the perfect cat eye, to DIY bomb shelters. While amazing, this can also be overwhelming. There are so many choices, so many websites and shopfronts, talents and characters, that it becomes more about the package deal rather than just content alone. Articles must look good, read well, be well informed and personalized and quirky in order to draw us in. If that's not enough, they must also be featured on a well organised site, with inter linking and menu bars for intuitive navigation.
When I was graduating high school and applying to colleges I knew I wanted to be a designer, and originally, I wanted to be a graphic designer. I put all my eggs into one basket and applied to a graphic design program in the city. And I got rejected! It was so tough, and I felt like such a failure. I took it pretty hard and decided university must not be for me. I had a full time job at a clothing warehouse at the time and enjoyed it well enough. I got free clothes and the opportunity to see clothing lines a season before they were to hit shelves.

Then one day, I got laid off. Boom! Real life. No job, no school, broken passions and hurt feelings. I went on employment insurance and let myself fall into a bit of a depression. I would wake up at 1 in the afternoon and spend my time on facebook and playing silly video games. All my talents were rotting away inside of me along with my self worth. This went on for months.
And then one night at about 3 in the morning I remember sitting in the living room on my computer. I was in the middle of a deep internet wormhole (you know, when you get sucked in by wikipedia,etc for multiple hours on end) and I ended up at the local universities website, specifically the fashion design program. I had always loved fashion, I made my own prom dress without any instruction or guidance (or even a pattern), and my warehouse job let that passion deepen as I got to see a bit of the behind the scenes work that goes into distributing the massive industry. And I just signed up. Right then. Portfolios would be due in about 2 months.

I woke up the next morning feeling a mixture of horrified and delighted. I managed to pull together a portfolio including some sewn items that make me absolutely cringe to look at now, and I got in!

The program was one of the toughest and yet most rewarding things I have ever done. The professors were an odd mixture of mad passion and sweet affection. Tears were shed by every student on multiple occasions. We stayed in the department until 11 pm most nights when the security guards kicked us out. We even had to be reminded to eat, and yet, we created some truly beautiful collections and learned some invaluable skills.
I graduated with a teary smile as I watched my collection being walked down the runway and was awarded with the "Most Marketable Collection". I had a job interview the following week and opportunities for internships, and I was feeling on top of the world.

The very next day I started this blog. I needed a place to vent my passions and share my creativity. Even if nobody read it, I wanted to share it.

Fast forward a year. I have an amazing internship at a beautifully curated consignment shop. My duties range from minor repair work (on beautiful designer items), product photography, and even plenty of graphic design work! I thought I had failed when I got rejected years ago, but I was just starting out in the wrong direction.
If you're in a place right now where you can't see the end of the tunnel, just remember that you can't feel happiness without sadness, you can't feel success without failure. Failures and mistakes are life's constructive criticism. Without them we wouldn't be able to improve and get better. I am thankful I got rejected to that first school because now I get to do fashion-specific graphic design with a strong knowledge of the fashion industry and a renewed passion for the graphic industry. I became better from that failure.
I'm still learning about how life works itself out in such odd ways, but I think I'm starting to realize that you just sort of have to go with the flow. Never stop creating and never give up.

Thanks for reading, thanks for letting me vent.

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