If you’ve witnessed my journey with Isy B. since its inception 7 years ago, you’ll have seen Isy B. in all her varied and beautiful manifestations, and her many ups and downs as she and I struggled to figure out who we are, separately and together.
Isy B. has been the source of some of my highest highs, and yes, also the reason for many tears and swearing blind that this is the absolute last time I design another thing, and basically give blood, sweat and tears to keep creating.
And yet, I keep coming back to it.
Why? Because despite everything, I love it.
Also because I have a drive to create, a love of beauty, and a desire to share what I do that keeps calling me back. But make no mistake, Isy B. has been the vehicle of my schooling in many tough and valuable life lessons, none more so than learning to trust myself.
Making all the mistakes.
When I first started Isy B., I was surrounded by other designers who’d been to fashion school and/or had a world of experience I didn’t have. How was I ever going to be able to compete? Despite my self doubt I persisted, stumbling from one adventure (and misadventure) to another, impatient with myself as I tried to find my feet and oh boy, the mistakes I made! I still cringe, although at least I can now laugh about some of them.
Even winning Designer of the Year at Phoenix Fashion Week wasn’t enough to convince me of the value of what I had to offer. I listened to a lot of well-meaning advice and took what feels like a hundred different courses from experts whose way seemed to work for them but didn’t at all work for me.
The turning point came when after A LOT of self enquiry (thank you COVID-19), I realized that instead of trusting in my own very unique set of gifts, I was looking at the world around me and trying to fit myself to it, and trying to be what I thought I should be, rather than creating in a way that who I am.
Building my own house.
I recently heard a quote which encapsulates my new understanding. It came from Heidi Roizen, the inspirational venture capitalist and budding glass artist and made me want to do my happy dance (yes, I have one of those); “The glass ceiling doesn’t apply when you’re building your own house.”
I’m grateful to all those designers who have inadvertently taught me to be exactly myself. Instead of treading the worn out and dusty paths that other people have created, I’m trusting myself to build my own house with the bricks of the things that light me up; creating and design, sketching and drawing, writing and storytelling, my connection with myself and my spirit and sharing what I love. All in the hope of brightening someone’s day and engaging their spirit. And that makes me very happy.
What does trusting in myself look like?
Trusting in my vision for my work and my life, and in each design choice and knowing that even if I mess up, I can find another way. Trusting when I’ve done enough and trusting that what I’ve done is good. Trusting in my own capability and ultimately trusting that all will be well and trusting myself be able to handle what comes next.
Making the mistakes, learning to forgive myself quickly and move on has helped me grow in ways I could never have imagined and I’m grateful to the part of myself that keeps trying.
Have you ever wondered what it would look like for you if you trusted yourself just 1% more? Or simply allowed yourself to do something you’ve always wanted to do in a small way?
Here some of the wonderful places in which I’ve found inspiration recently:
I love the simple but profound wisdom from Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits: A guide to practicing trust
Don’t let the title put you off. This is one of the best books I’ve read all year.
What you say to yourself becomes your reality, and learning to be more gentle and supportive myself has been a game changer.
Trusting myself has meant slowly figuring out my values over time and understanding myself better.
My self encouragement playlist:
Optimistic - Sounds of Blackness
This girl is on fire - Alicia Keys
This is me - Karla Settle and the Greatest Showman
The voice within - Christina Aguilera
Rise Up - Andra Day
Reflecting in my journals:
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