Demoralized, Depressed, and DefeatedPosted: June 3, 2012
….yes, those three words describe the entirity of my weekend at the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta. Never, in my wildest of cynical moments did I think I would do as poorly as I did.
Yeah, three. In two days. Fourteen hours of manning my booth, and I had only three customers. Not only did I lose my shirt this weekend, I lost my pants, my underwear, my shoes, and any semblance of dignity. I didn’t even make enough money to cover my booth fee, not to mention the hotel room, the gas to get there, and the cost of the canvases and prints.
Really, it was humiliating. I cried on the drive home.
Okay, in all honesty, I had five customers. My mom and dad actually drove all the way to Atlanta to see me on Saturday, which touched me so much I nearly cried. I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to me to see them in the crowd; to feel their love and support was immeasurably wonderful. Thank you, mom and dad! I love you more than I could ever say!
My fifth customer was the FAMOUS Jennifer West, whose The Jen West Quest Blog should be on your blogroll if it’s not already. We went to high school together and have kept in touch via Facebook, but not seen each other since at least our 10-year reunion, which was…..uh, like five years ago. (Dear GOD!) She absolutely made my day and we’re going to grab lunch very soon. Love, love, LOVE me some Jen West!
Anyhow, back to my tale of woe and heartache.
The show itself is really cool, and I was impressed to be among so many talented people, but the bitter taste of so few people expressing any kind of interest in my work was really, really demoralizing. I felt like a total failure, like someone with absolutely no talent. A total fraud. It was a terrible feeling, about as bad as when someone dumps you or you fail an important test in school. A handful of people told me that they loved my work, and honestly, that was all that kept me going, so thank you, Kind Strangers, for your words of encouragement, because I desperately needed them.
I spent much of yesterday and today feeling like a fool for telling everyone how I got into such a cool show, and how awesome it was going to be, and how excited I was. Like, now I have to eat my words and let everyone down because so many people have been so supportive and said so many kind things, and I basically failed in the most public and humiliating of ways. When you put so MUCH of yourself into your art and spend so much time honing your craft and striving for perfection, it’s really hard not to take it personally when so many people walk by your work without much more than a glance. It hurts.
My wonderful husband had a lot nice things to say about me on our way home, when I hit rock bottom (well, I also hit rock bottom today in the ladies room when I had my first Good Cry). And you know what I realized? He’s right. I am good. I am talented. I do have a style. I am WORTHY. This show may not have proven that in any way, but it doesn’t take away the fact that photography is what I love, what I spend my time dreaming of, and ultimately, what makes me happiest in life. (Apart from icky, mushy things like my husband, my cats, my friends, and my family.)
Maybe this wasn’t my kind of show. Maybe this wasn’t my kind of audience. The only way I can really fail is if I let this defeat me. And I will not let this weekend defeat me. I will put a lampshade on my head until tomorrow and have the most rocking Pity Party you ever did see, but tomorrow I’m going to wake up, realize I have a ton of great inventory to put in my store, and keep on keeping on.