it's okay to fail

I've been thinking about writing this for a while because I feel like it's something that needs to be said. As a blog *reader* I end up feeling like I can't relate to a lot of my favorite bloggers because they never seem to fail at anything they do. But maybe they're just like me and don't really talk about the failure part of life quite so much. I want my own blog readers to know that I fail CONSTANTLY and sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating in it. I've had a moderate level of success with this blog and my etsy shops, but overall I feel the failure much more. Hopefully this post will help somebody relate and feel like they're not alone in their struggles.

Professionally, I used to do outdoor art fairs full time. Then the recession hit in 2008 and I could barely make back my booth fee at most of the shows. So I switched to Etsy. My Flapper Doodle shop became my sole source of income, making over $100 a day. I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but I felt so ridiculously lucky!! At some point over the last two years though it started to decline, to the point that this whole week so far I've made $50. I've been trying to come up with new ideas all the time - starting Sweet and Lovely, The Book Fair, Your Fan Club, etc. I've managed to make up for the loss in income with my extra shops, wholesale orders and freelance work, but Flapper Doodle's downward spiral keeps me up almost every night. Every so often I have a good week where things seem back on track, but they always inevitably trickle back to my new normal. This week has seen the most drastic decline yet, but on average I'm making about 30% less than I did in 2012.

Personally, my shyness is so crippling that I haven't had a boyfriend yet. I'm on the late end of my mid-twenties and it's really hard not to feel like I've flunked life. I see people my age or much younger getting married and starting families, and it's like there's a little voice whispering in my ear "failure!"

Here's the thing though -- I'm not a failure. I think that I grew up to be a very kind, considerate human being. I'm confident in my appearance and my intellect. I'm responsible, a hard worker, and dedicated to my family, friends and animals. As a person, I don't think I've done too bad. I've had projects that have failed, I've failed in the romance department, and I've experienced constant little failures on a day-to-day basis -- but *I* am not a failure. I'm not defined by the things that have gone wrong in my life.

I am not a success story and I don't know if I'll ever be one -- and that's okay. Failure isn't always a preface to success, sometimes it's part of the story and continues to be part of it until the end. But just because it's included doesn't mean it's the main plot.  I think if you try really hard, or even if you have really good intentions (hi, nonexistent boyfriend!) that's really all that matters. My friends and family don't discount me as a person because my etsy shop is on rocky ground. You guys (I hope?) don't think any less of me because I'm ridiculously shy.

So if you've been facing any failures in your life or work, just know that I totally get it. It's okay to fail, and it doesn't make you a failure. xo