Lose Perfection and Embrace the Oops

After reading my note Creative Mystery of Female Energy one of my peeps, Leigh, had an Ah Ha! Moment. She summed it up beautifully with:

You will never be happy with your creations until you lose the perfection.


Seems our Leigh was constantly doubting her abilities and undoing her creative efforts in the name of perfectionism. She cited as an example completely undoing a whole knitted garment twice, because of little missed stitches and rows not quite lined up.
How many of us are guilty of tearing apart – figuratively and literally – our creations? Are you? I know can be. I definitely did in the past.

In fact, the past me would give up before I even really got started. Piano, guitar, horse riding, singing, ballet, drama, sewing, Irish penny whistle, art, are just some of the activities I gave up early in the game because I wasn’t performing them perfectly within weeks. I had no stick-to-it-tiveness, because I was embarrassed by my stumbles and mistakes.

When I set up my studio when I turned fifty, I made a commitment to myself. I would do art every single day, if even for five minutes. Mistakes be damned, I was going to persevere. Just recently, I sent my brother this photograph:

With this message:

“For the first time, looking at this mini portfolio, it really truly occurred to me that fuck, I am actually good.”

Being the straight forward type of guy my brother Robert is, he replied simply

“Do something long enough and that usually happens.”

There were so many times in the past four years I could have let perfectionism get in the way. Given that I have kept my daily commitment that is over 1,400 days I could have thrown in the towel because my creations were flawed.

In the mixed media community, mistakes are celebrated! One artist calls her mistakes “flubortunities”, flubs that are opportunities for something cool to happen. When a creative accident happens for Carolyn Dube she calls it an oops … outstanding opportunity presenting suddenly. And I will never forget that moment in Chris Zydel’s Painting with Fire course when she said “if you hate something in your artwork, do more of it”. That was a total WTF for me, but a year later I am still following her advice.

Losing the need for perfection allows you to embrace your own “oops”. As Leigh discovered:

Every little missed stitch, something not quite lining up, is what makes it unique, makes it me.

~ Eliza

Lilith Stationery


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