The following is a guest post by Megan Eckman.
"Fear's Uncloaking" by Megan Eckman
They say that courage is having the strength to stand tall in times of adversity. Firefighters are courageous, nurses are courageous, and kids who stand up to the school bully are courageous. Yet, in order to stand tall, we must first fall hard.
Two weeks ago I fell harder than ever.
Runners have the term of ‘hitting the wall’. It’s the point in their run when their body is screaming at them that it can’t go another step. Everything tells them to stop, to give up, to call their boyfriend to pick them up because there’s just no way they’re going to run the 5 miles back to the apartment. But ‘the wall’ can appear in everyday life.
For me, the wall appeared late one night two weeks ago when I was prepping a screen for my dodo illustration. For some reason the image would not wash out. It was 10pm, too late to try again, and I was running out of remover fluid, which meant I might not be able to try again anyway. This, on top of losing my part-time job, having a drop in artwork sales, and losing a contract deal made me lash out at my pillow.
That poor thing got the hardest wallop of its feathery life (which reminds me that I need to buy firmer pillows because I think the pillow behind it got a bit of the backlash and that’s not fair to it). After that, I sat on the edge of the bed and cried. And then, something odd happened…I grew confident.
“I don’t care if everything is going against me. I’m going to keep trying! The universe is just going to have to watch out because no matter what it throws at me, I’m not quitting!”
I had found my courage.
I had admitted, deep down inside, that the main thing bothering me was the fear that the universe was telling me to stop trying to turn my passion into a livelihood. But, once I voiced that fear, I realized how silly it was. I had just secured a show in downtown Santa Cruz for the month of October, I had a whole slew of people eager to buy artwork from me, and I had the support of my family, boyfriend, and the artists I’d met online. Why did I even think the universe was trying to make me stop drawing?
So I pressed on and one week later, I had the most amazing things happen to me! Thanks to an ‘email of recommendation’ from a friend, I gained a new job working for Justine of Create Hype. I also landed a booth at a huge local craft fair and sold $200 of artwork to a magazine editor thanks to one out-of-the-blue email I sent the company.
Even now, I’m still in a bit of shock over all of this. I’m moving forward with my business but I know that I could not have grown as much as I have these last few weeks if I had not been forced to find my inner confidence. My perception of failure and set-backs have shifted the most. Every day I try to look at failure as a possibility, not a disaster. I gain new skills, I learn what ‘not’ to do, and I am able to better decide what I truly want in my life.
Have you ever hit ‘the wall’? And have you found the courage to push through it?I’d love to hear your inspiring tales! Together, we can encourage one another to strive for the careers and lives we truly dream to possess.
Megan Eckman is an illustrator and freelance writer living in San Jose, CA. She creates quirky pen and ink illustrations and writes for national magazines, including Backpacker and Renaissance. Visit her website, StudioMME, to delve into her world!