High Hopes & Rejection

just what makes that little old ant think he can move that rubber tree plant

anyone knows an ant! can't! move a rubber tree plant

but he's got high hopes

this one's a bit personal, but stick with it, it ends really well.

Being rejected sucks. It can make you question how worthy you are, how good you are, and whether you're doing the right thing with your life. Being rejected can also make you look at what you're doing in a whole new light, create a new path for yourself and change things for the better. Rejection generally boils down to a few opinions, and opinions don't always need to ruin your hopes.

5 years ago I was at the end of my degree. The culmination of any fashion design degree is a show, and for a lot of the prestigious universities (back then anyway, it's changed now... and it was only a few years ago!) this is at Graduate Fashion Week. Months of hard work, savings and tears (OH GOD WE ALL CRIED SO MUCH!) were put into working on our collections. We worked awful summer jobs in pubs and petrol stations (that example being myself and a friend whose job was worse than mine!) for minimum wage and spent all the money on fabrics, believing that if we got into this show it would be the start of our careers. It was built up to be the most important thing in the world, and we all believed it was. Our collections were judged in a mock fashion show by a panel. I'm going to cut a long story short now. The carefully scaffolded swimsuit I painstakingly stitched every ruffle on to fell down on the model, and the panel didn't pick me. I thought the world was going to end.

It didn't though. A few weeks later I had started my first buying job, which at that time when recession was about to hit was pretty impressive. I used the energy I could have wasted crying about it to be of more use, then went to the show to support my friends wearing one of my dresses, head held high. Yes, it dinted my confidence as a designer for a while, but it was merely a small number of people's opinions and Paul Smith himself (yes, I could name a lot of "cooler" Designers but it was always Paul Smith I wanted to work for, and almost did, but that's a story for another time) was hardly going to pick me out and make me his creative director based on the show. So never mind. Move on!

I'm not a pessimist, I'm realistic. So, when I put myself out there in any respect where rejection could happen I have my feet firmly on the ground, just in case. A few weeks ago I applied for something I've wanted to do for a long time. I didn't think I'd get in for a number of reasons, but none of those reasons were 'you're not good enough' - they were realistic reasons I'd planted in my head ready in case the answer was no. I convinced myself it probably would be no.

Last Wednesday I got an email. I actually got about 8 emails at once and my phone decided it wasn't going to help me read any of them. One contained the word 'Renegade' in the title and the panic started to appear! It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon and I was not ready for this. I logged on to my emails and lo and behold were the words 'You're accepted'. 

I've been pretty much buzzing like a bumble bee ever since! I'm doing Renegade Craft Fair!!! I am so, so SO excited.

I will tell you more about it as we get closer, but I wanted to blog about the wonderful feeling of being accepted for something as brilliant as this, and also share an experience of rejection and how it turned out to be absolutely fine. The thing I was most upset about when I didn't get into my graduate show was somehow letting my parents down, that they'd never see my designs on the catwalk. The other day I got to show them my cards in a shop, and show them everything I'd been upto and they were so proud, so it really does work out. 

August for me was just an incredible month. I saw people I love get married, spent time with my family, said "see you later" to a very close friend, and spent lots of time with other friends who I hadn't been able to see properly in ages. Workwise, it was brilliant too and my little business is turning a lot of corners which is just incredible, and the hard work is paying off (with plenty more to come!). 

If anyone has read this all the way to the end (hello!) then I think the message I want to finish with is simply this - don't let rejection get you down. It might be the dream job you didn't get, the girl who turned down the date with you, the show you didn't get into, or not getting picked for the team (hello high school flashbacks!). 

so anytime you're feeling low

instead of letting go

just remember that ant

whoops there goes another rubber tree plant

* that song reminds me of doing a tap dance in a polka dot crop top shorts & bow aged 6. I was TERRIBLE at tap dancing, but I tried very hard! 

** In case you wondered, the images are all from my portfolio of my collection! You can see my handwriting as a designer (quite literally!) and how it's naturally evolved into oh squirrel, but I can also see that I've come on a long way since then too ;-) 

*** one day I'll design clothes again!