Mistakes I’ve Made (a post about shame)
Day in and day out, we hear about accomplishments and we see “perfect” lives through social media. I’ve seen posts shared months – even years – later where someone will disclose a failure or mistake that they went through. A lot of us hide behind shame and refuse to be vulnerable. We fear being judged, even by those closest to us.
Shame is something I have struggled with greatly, especially recently. Over last 5 years, I have slowly let go of all of my “identities”. In my early teens, I identified as a musician and writer. Beginning in junior high, I identified as a photographer. After high school, I identified as an “entrepreneur” because I felt that I loved marketing, business, and hopefully running a successful photography business one day. In my early twenties, I identified myself as a business owner with a direct sales business.
“What happened?” you might ask. To this I will answer: Fear. Failure. Insecurities. Imposter syndrome.
I had let go of playing instruments, because I felt that I wasn’t good enough and I never focused on practicing. After photographing my first wedding, I believed that I had failed at something that I felt confident about. I gave up direct sales because I was tired of chasing people for orderes and investing way too much money in product I will never move.
Do you relate to any of this? This is just the surface of my failures. I have thought about them a lot over the last year. Two years ago, my brother said to me, “I want to see you doing photography again.” Why haven’t I gone back? I constantly wonder this, but I also realize that I have a creative block that I am working through, and fear of failing over and over again.
I’m here to tell you, you’re going to fail and THAT’S OKAY. And don’t worry, this isn’t the end of the post. I am going to share with you some mistakes I have made. I love reading about other people’s accomplishments, but I also love reading about someone being “human” because it inspires me to no longer hold on to my shame. I hope that this post will help you do the same.
Here are some mistakes I have made:
I invested in NYIP (New York Institute of Photography) and never completed a single lesson
You heard me…I invested money for a couple of years on photography education materials that I never once completed. I’m not sure I even read one of the books. I’m unsure how much money I invested, but I do know that I have all 6 units. I feel so much shame around this. I spent so much money for a course that I never completed. The materials simply sat in a box. Some books weren’t even pulled out of their envelopes. I found these materials tonight and I’m not sure where unit 2 is at the moment.
The fact that I spent the money and had full intentions of completing this awesome course, but never did, has made me feel pretty badly. But, I can redeem myself. I can go through these materials on my own, or I can enroll again with their new online-based course. Maybe this what I will need to get back to passion for photography.
I owe student loans on education I failed and never completed
After high school, I needed to go to full time school to keep my health insurance. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but cosmetology interested me. I ended up barely attending beauty school and owing way more than I completed because of the loan disbursement dates. A few years later, I decided I wanted to major in Public Relations and attended a very expensive private college downtown. For my second semester there, they raised the tuition and even as a commuter, I couldn’t get enough in federal loans to cover tuition. I wasn’t able to find a co-signer for private loans and unable to get them on my own. To top it off, I spiraled into one of the worst depressions I have experienced. I gave up on school and I am now paying back money on education that I didn’t do well grade-wise and didn’t complete.
However, I redeemed myself by completing a certificate in web design at community college. I did very well and graduated! Is it a great accomplishment? No, because it is just a certificate, but for someone who has struggled with school (and took it for granted), it is one of my greatest accomplishments.
I racked up credit card debt over and over again
For a few years, I basically lived off of credit cards. I lived paycheck to paycheck, and my credit cards were my only means of having some fun or a way to provide me with my needs of food and gas. Even once I was in a better place financially, I still used my credit card to pay for things I didn’t want to pay for at the time such as festival tickets and vacations. Thankfully, my fiance has always had the mindset that he doesn’t buy something unless he has the money. I learned from him finally and I’m working on paying off my credit card debt. I also now use my credit card responsibly. It’s paid off in full each month.
This post isn’t a “pity party”, nor am I slamming social media for almost always depicting “perfect lives”, because I love seeing those posts just as much as I love seeing someone being human. With this post, it is my goal to make you feel human. Maybe you did really well in school and accomplished a lot in your lifetime, but I can guarantee you are holding onto something that you feel shameful about. I challenge you to be vulnerable. Write about it privately or publicly, and think about how you can redeem yourself. You can simply let go of that shame and stop identifying with it, or you can take action. It’s your choice.
If you want to read more about shame, I highly recommend the book Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. (affiliate link)
Feel free to share anything that you feel shame about either in the comments or you can email me