Permission to be a Beginner

Consider this a gentle reminder to give yourself permission to be a beginner. The photo is of my first two attempts at spinning and plying wool. It is far, very far, from being perfect but it is beautiful just the same. All its lumps, bumps, and inconsistencies are lessons learned as I get used to the rhythm of drawing and spinning.

Many times, we stop here. Seeing an imperfect result discourages us from continuing. That negative gremlin inside tells us that we suck, we will never be any good at it, maybe this just isn’t your thing, stop now before you embarrass yourself. Don’t listen to that voice.

Instead ask yourself; Am I getting better and learning from my mistakes? Does this excite and inspire me? Does this bring me joy? If your answer is yes, then continue. Leave the misconception of perfection at the door and allow yourself to just have fun. Remember being a child with finger paints and just let yourself play, get messy, and experiment.

As a child, I was heavily criticized for anything that wasn’t perfect and often shamed for “wasting” paper, yarn, fabric or paints in my attempts to learn and experiment. This set up a core belief that if I didn’t make something useful and perfect, I was being wasteful. But also, that I was somehow not worthy of using such precious things unless I could produce perfection. There was no room for mistakes, knots, missed stitches, or making mud. This led to me having a deep-seated fear of using my supplies. Supplies that I viewed as precious. I collected them but never gave myself permission to use them for fear of making mistakes and wasting my precious paints and papers. Such an unhealthy, shame based, mindset.

It took some time to work through that deep set belief of wasting supplies and unrealistic expectation of perfection. I began to give myself permission to just play with my paints by starting an art journal. In an art journal nothing has to be perfect. It is more about expressing feelings and learning. After a while that moved on to other supplies. Now, I give myself permission to learn and play and grow. I give myself permission to rip up a drawing or painting I don’t like. I give myself permission to make knots and ruin a handful of wool. I can repurpose mistakes into something else or it IS okay to just throw it in the bin. There is NO SHAME in making mistakes, in making imperfect creations! This is how we learn.

I encourage you to give yourself permission to be a beginner, to be messy, make mistakes, to do it just because it is fun. It makes the process so much more joyful. I now look at this imperfect yarn and I see beauty. I see lessons. I look at it with the wonder of a child and think of all the things I can use it for. Then I get my supplies ready to try again without fear or unrealistic expectations.

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