If you were to ask me what work I’m proudest of, I wouldn’t point to my prints or textiles, but would tell you that my biggest accomplishment was overcoming the anxiety that had plagued me for most of my life.

When I was 30, I realized I didn’t have to be deathly afraid of making mistakes, looking foolish, being rejected. I knew that my anxiety was learned, and not innate. Others didn’t collapse at criticism; I wanted to be more like them.

I got help. I learned to make mistakes and saw that the repercussions weren’t life threatening. I gradually let go of perfectionism.  As a result, my life has become messier, more spontaneous, looser – and way more interesting.

I turned 38 a few days ago. When I look at my 30s, I realize how much I’ve grown in the past eight years. Without all this work, I never would have taken the risks, made seemingly-crazy career leaps, done the creative work or put myself out there the way I have.

And if I spend the next 38 years the same way I’ve spent the last eight, I think I will have lived a really good, creative, adventurous life.

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