I’m starting a new section of my blog called The True Stories Series where I’ll be interviewing artists + writers + hard working creative types – people I admire and respect and who I’d like you to know about.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Andrea Scher of Superhero Life.
Artist + teacher, Andrea Scher was born under a lucky star. She might not agree with me because there are plenty of days she probably wishes — as do you and I — that the stars were shining a little more brightly on her. But then, one of her many super powers is an ability to create extraordinary things from the everyday ordinary aspects of her life. Andrea is the maker of incredible things — jewelry — photographs — stories and online classes. She’s an artist and a human being who I have tremendous respect for and I wanted to share her with you.
Andrea, sometimes when I describe you to friends I say, “everything she touches turns to gold,” because you’ve been so incredibly successful with your e-courses Mondo Beyondo and Superhero Photo. When I say that what do you think?
The first thing I think is, I’m so honored that Laurie sees me this way! Then I think, Is that true? And then I think of something that an astrologer told me recently when analyzing my chart. She said, “Do you know that Chinese proverb? Luck favors the prepared? Well that’s the kind of luck you have. You make your own luck because you are at the dock when your ship comes in. You’re ready to say yes.”
And I think that’s true for all of us. We can make our luck by getting clear about what we want. We make our luck by practicing courage. We make our luck by saying yes. We make our luck by listening to our intuition.
One of things I think you do really well is keep things simple. You seem to have an idea for something and you just try it — like the voice messages you just started doing. Do you aim for simplicity?
Yes! Always aiming for simplicity. And brevity. Even though I write online daily and have been blogging since the dinosaurs, I don’t love to read online. To capture my attention there has to be a beautiful image and a great story — all told in as few words as possible.
And when it comes to having an idea and trying it? It’s true that I am always asking myself the following question: What if you let it be simple? Usually, my shoulders drop when I say this and a more elegant solution will emerge
A lot of people want to make things and they dream of selling them. When you started creating necklaces 16-years ago, do you remember the moment when you thought, “Hey, I might be able to sell these.”
I’m kind of a geek when it comes to making things and selling them. I had a business making jewelry — earrings made of tiny rubber toy animals — when I was just 10-years old. Since my parents were retailers in Carmel, CA, I walked around to various clothing boutiques there and showed them my wares. I was thrilled when a very hip clothing store started selling them! I must have gotten the impression that people liked things I made so I held onto that belief into adulthood.
When I started making superhero necklaces (just for myself) people regularly stopped me in the street asking about them so I started carrying a stash in my backpack to sell. I was like one of those guys in the cartoons with the trench coat selling watches.
You have a super successful blog. What’s the hardest thing about talking about your real life on your blog? Are there subjects you stay away from?
Anything that involves my relationships is dicey territory for blogging. When I feel like it’s not my story to tell, I can’t blog it.
But what if the relationship stuff is the real stuff you’re dealing with — how do you blog around that and come up with something that is also true and important?
I try to stay with my own experience. I try to tell a story that’s current, something that happened that felt like a metaphor, something I can share. Then I will use that as a way to point to my internal experience, without giving the gory details. For example, I wrote a piece in Wild Writing this week about a moment in my yoga class when the teacher came over + held onto my lower back. He said, “Louise Hay says that pain in the lower back correlates with not feeling supported in your life…” and tears began to well up in my eyes. As I wobbled on one foot, he kept saying, “Let go. It’s okay. Let me support you…” except I didn’t even know how. I tried but my body wouldn’t let go. “Try falling backwards,” he said. And finally I let him catch me.
Was it hard for you to tell readers that you were going on anti depressants?
It was initially. I revealed it first in my Cultivating Courage class. We had created such a sweet, safe space there that I felt compelled to share it with that community. It was my brave move for the day. And the response was so warm + appreciative I wondered why I was holding back. I realized the only thing holding me back were bits of residual shame and that the only way to let go of the shame was to shine on a light on it.
What’s it like for you when people who know you through your blog finally meet you?
Years ago, I was in a grocery store in Seattle (where my parents were living at the time) and a young woman ran up to me and said, “Are you Andrea Scher?” When I said yes and reached out to shake her hand, her eyes welled up with tears. “Thank you so much for your blog,” she said, “your stories have made such a difference in my life.”
My parents, who didn’t really understand what I did for a living (or what a blog was for that matter) were perplexed. “Does this happen often?” they asked Matt. “Yep. All the time.” he said.
I get excited to meet my readers, but this particular time was such a gift. For my parents to be able to see me through the lens of someone who has been touched by my work gave me so much joy. I think it changed how they saw me forever.
Do you sometimes get confused between the way people who don’t know you see you and the way you feel inside? Do you ever feel a pressure to be who they think you are?
The very first time I taught a workshop in person it was kind of a nightmare. I thought I had to be the person that these women had come to know online – shiny, happy, inspiring, all the freaking time. I exhausted myself trying to be perfect for them. I wanted them to know that I saw them, that they mattered to me, that I appreciated them being part of my community. Except that I didn’t set good boundaries and had my very first panic attack by the end of the first night with everyone. What I didn’t know is that I had already showed up for them. With my writing + my art + the ways I had already shared. Showing up and just being present would have been good enough. It was a big, hard lesson.
What’s the biggest enemy of your creativity?
Why? Because you waste time or because you compare yourself to others and the voices inside of you get all chattery and weird?
Mostly it just sucks my time + I forget what actual work I was doing when I started going down the rabbit hole. Sometimes I get triggered too, but mostly it’s just a big distraction. Why do I need to know if Beyonce + Jay Z are getting divorced? Why?
Register for Opening the Creative Channel
If you’d like to meet Ms. Scher in real life, join us for Opening the Creative Channel, our devilishly rich weekend workshop where we’ll share what we know about turning straw into gold — on the canvas, through the lens, on paper and in our lives. Spots are still available. Join us! Andrea also has another round of Mondo Beyondo starting up this week – read more about it here.