"If I appear to be brave, it is because I have been well-loved."
I can't count how many times I have said this or wrote this to people. I could also add, "If I appear to be productive, it is because I have been well-loved." There's a way in which we are quick to assume that people's accomplishments (even the things they have legimately done themselves) happen in a vacuum, but I'm not sure I believe this is ever true.
I've been knee-deep in DIY projects over here all winter. On the plus side, I'm becoming quite well-rounded in my skill set and I'm learning so much about all the different parts of the production process. On the down side, this has meant that official collaborators have been scarce. When you're doing creative work with others, it feels like the creative energy is a ball you pass back and forth, and it enlarges with each exchange. This feeling of play and expansion has not been easy to keep alive on my own.
I was wilting a couple months back and felt immediately confronted when I realized how great was my need for encouragement. We're talking, it takes truckloads of You Can Really Do This and What You're Doing Matters and I Swear to Gods, People Will Be Glad You Did's to get me through to the end. It felt embarrassing, and I was really battling shame over it. But I knew I needed it, like it or not, so I started calling and emailing my friends.
Can you just look at this, and tell me that it's good? Can you just feed my optimism and hope enough so I can keep going another day?
So many people have been really in this with me. They've met me for lunch and we've had that creative-ball-back-and-forth play while sharing about one another's projects, they've talked me through wilty days on the phone, they've looked and looked again at my drafts, at my design, they've patiently listened while I've talked of nearly nothing else for weeks and weeks. These unofficial collaborators are my creative team, and my heart is full of gratitude for them.
If I had truly done this "alone", it either wouldn't have gotten done, or it might have gotten done but felt thin in the end, without the richness of things grown in the soil of love. Instead, I now have boxes and boxes in my apartment full of things that I can't stop touching and holding and gazing at like new babies. For the next few days I'll be unpacking them and writing notes inside every one, and then soon it will be time to pass the love and creative possibility to you.
But please don't forget, it's from all of us.