The True Failure is When You Stop Trying
Updated: Aug 9
When I was in my first year of university, I killed a bamboo plant. I used to tell people this proudly, as if I had the best excuse in the world to not be a gardener. It took me years to realize that this was a total copout. I had no idea how to care for a plant and had no intension on learning. I vividly recall leaving it in my window over the winter holidays, where likely the heaters were on low, and the cold Toronto weather did not do the plant any favours. With even the little knowledge I had of caring for plants, I knew when I returned to school in January that the bamboo had no chance after being exposed to the cold.
Below is a sketch of me sitting at my window on Glendon Campus studying; I used to love sitting surrounded by windows reading a book, with comfy blankets all around to keep me warm. I'm also hoping to feature this in the children's book I'm writing with my dad as my trial publishing experience before my big star - the YA Fantasy Graphic Novel entitled Element!
A few years went by and I continued to tell people that I could not garden, and despite my adoration for nature, I didn't buy any houseplants for another five years. I even moved out to Vancouver Island to have a more free-spirited life and connect more with Earth through the ocean, mountains, and thick forests. It wasn't until my partner and I moved to England for six months that my mindset finally shifted.
Living in Epping, UK was an experience of a lifetime, but one thing that both of us missed every day while we were there was the beautiful nature that British Columbia is so well-known for. I vowed that when we returned, I would try again at gardening, with the intension on learning from Ryan's mom, who is an avid gardener!
That was three years ago and nowadays I would definitely identify one of my hobbies as gardening. One thing that really allowed me to grow and believe in myself was that I looked at it as an experiment - I researched for particular plants so I had a starting place, tried things that I even thought wouldn't work just to see if they would, and am building on my knowledge and success one year at a time. Now, I thoroughly enjoy succulents in my home during the winter, fresh herbs each year, and different fruits and vegetables during the summer and fall.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that my shift in mindset in gardening, also allowed me to believe in myself as an author. Check out my post on what initiated my decision to write a graphic novel here. Even in the beginning stages of illustrating and writing, I tried to put low pressure on myself. I looked at it as a journey and an experiment - maybe I would actually write a book, and maybe I wouldn't. I viewed it as an excuse to draw and write and see if I could improve, and when I saw how quickly I was learning and becoming passionate about the story, I grew more and more attached to it and unwilling to give up on it. I've always been a pretty persistent person but I really believe that seeing how easily I could learn gardening once I set my mind to it, helped influence my stick-to-it-ness with writing and illustrating as well!
Next week I hope to share some of my beginning work compared to now so you can see my growth!
Below I had to share some pictures of Tandy as I was trying to snap one of the drawing - she always likes to be a part of whatever we're up to!