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I've probably spent more time looking out this window than doing anything else. The leaves in full bloom, trees arching over the tops of the glass, glistening water reflecting on the rooftop in the deepest night. In the winter, the trees turn bare and leave reflections on my bedroom floor as the sun descends. Throughout it all I've spent many hours simply sitting on my bed, in awe of simple beauty and light.
Many people may think that dreams are sprung from intense reflection or drudging work, but oh so many of my dreams erupted from this window, these trees, this glass, that water. Simplicity may seem like our greatest enemy, but it's my dearest friend.
Simplicity brought my walls bare and caused me to find a way to adorn them.
Simplicity caused me to stay enclosed in a color palette and focus on shade rather than color.
Simplicity decided to take hold of my work and bring out the natural details that all too often go unnoticed from our busy human eye.
When people stare deeply into my sketches, entranced by details, all I see is simplicity. I see each stroke, all alike, all in uniform. They see detail, but I see simplicity.
Would you like to know how the mind of the artist works? It takes the littlest of things and attempts to expand its beauty. The artist aims to take the glimmers of beauty she finds, and magnify their impact, so every commonplace person can see.
I've said before that an artist's main job is to make intangible emotions, tangible: real. And that's what I'm doing. As I stare out that window, clearing my head, calming my soul; I'm finding the emotion, identifying its imagery, and dreaming up a way to bring it to reality.
Never begin to think that you're purpose or dreams are too simple, for it is out of simple things that beauty and greatness grow.
I try to keep my life in perspective. You know, have a 20/20 sort of vision when it comes to my life picture. Specifically, I have an actual 2020 vision for that exact year.
Sometimes it is hard having a dream that goes that far out, but I just patiently wait...just kidding, I’m not very patient. But I’m working on it!
So the story about my 2020 dream comes from a very general dream that my best friend, DeLane, and I have about owning a coffee shop/art studio together. We are both creative, although in different ways, and we love the culture of sitting and drinking tea or coffee and having quality time together. What led to a 2020 vision, was that - and this is literally the story - I was driving past a small veterinary hospital and they were announcing that their anniversary was going on that year in 2015, for like 20 years or something big. And I had the thought...that is so aesthetically pleasing to have your big year anniversaries be on a number that ends in 5 or 0. I gave it some thought… and the more I thought about it, the more I liked that idea.
Seriously, this is how I make decisions.
Not the little ones, just the really big, life-altering ones, apparently.
I called up DeLane and said, okay, what do you think about working towards opening our shop in 5 years. That gives us time to save up and get ready and establish our lives a little bit, but it’s not so far in the future that we would lose track of the vision. She agreed, strangely, that the year 2020 seemed like a good plan to open our coffee house/art studio shop.
And so my mind went racing.
Okay, I have 5 years to go. I need to get my life going and figure things out and get a plan. As I was heavily dwelling on these thoughts, my art was thrown away and the dream of this blog and my art show came together in my mind.
I thought, “that’s perfect!” I can do an art show in 2016, build the blog meanwhile. Work at work. And then. And then. And then. There was so much involved. So many ideas.
Before I knew it, I had a whole outline of possibilities for things to do and line up in between then and 2020. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in planning out every detail of your life. I agree with the old saying, “When we make plans, God laughs.” So I am open to things changing and the possibilities of new and different ideas. But having a general idea of where I am going has helped me to stay focused and get ready and be persistent.
Also, along with all of this, I have felt content, mostly, and able to accept the flow of life. Because although I am not planning every detail or every last second, I have a broad sense of where I am headed. (And to Colorado, no less. That is important.)
Along with this vision, I felt like I needed to stay where I was, in Texas (unfortunately), until it was time to move forward with the plan of putting the shop into action. And although I do not like Texas, I have felt reassured in many aspects that there are good and important reasons why I am where I am.
(Now, when I say I don’t like Texas, don’t freak out if you are a Texan. Just understand that I am very, very, very warm natured. I sweat in the winter. So being in Texas...especially like right now, when it’s summer, is really not ideal for me. Also, I have allergies in Texas, but none in Colorado. A lot of people would say that is a big enough sign to move. And...I love the snow and the cold and the mountains and the healthier lifestyle and my friends that live there. So, I hope that all makes sense and no feeling are hurt.)
While staying here, I have connected with some important people in my life that I know I was meant to meet with. I feel like staying here has been the right decision so far and I look forward to see what all happens with my life in Texas. And the fact that I love quite a few people down here, makes it easier to stay. If I didn’t have such amazing people in my life, I probably would not feel as adamant about staying. The people we have in our lives make a word of difference.
So why are you where you are in life? Do you have something you are working towards? What are your dreams and visions?
I would love to hear your stories and share life together!
In life, it can be hard to see good things about yourself. Especially when you struggle with mental health issues.
A long time ago, a friend and mentor challenged me to think up and write down 50 things I loved about myself. Already struggling with my self esteem, I told her, “there aren't 50 things about me, let alone 50 things I love about myself.” But she still told me to do it. I made it 5 in and gave up. Despite her following up with me, my heart wasn't in it and I gave up for good.
One and a half years later, I was sitting in PHP (partial hospitalization program) for therapy and mentioned that my friend had challenged me to write down 50 things I loved about myself but, I couldn't manage it. Suddenly, my therapist thought it was a fantastic idea and challenged me to finish my list.
Of course, I was not excited.
But my therapist said to just write 5 things before each session and work my way up to 50. However, once I was over halfway through, they just started coming to me. I realized there was more about myself to love than I thought there was.
Do you realize how loveable you are? Do you love yourself? Really think about it. Make a list if you need to and keep it on your phone like I do for hard times.
To prove it’s possible, here's my list:
50 Things I Love About Myself
1. My hair
2. I'm creative
3. I love my tattoo
4. I care deeply about people
5. I feel like I'm a very faithful person
6. I'm more courageous than I usually see
7. I love that I am a traveler who wanders
8. I love that I am a wonderer
9. I love to learn
10. I like the shape of my nose
11. I love that I dance
12. I love my eclectic sense of style
13. I love that my favorite color is grey and so are my eyes
14. I love my love for words
15. I love that I'm unique
16. I love that I am loved
17. I love that I am a passionate person
18. I love that I'm an artist
19. I love that I'm adventurous
20. I love that I'm curious
21. I love that I'm sincere
22. I love that I make a genuine effort to be kind to others
23. I love that I am a reader
24. I love that I'm a dreamer
25. I love that I am colorful
26. I love that I have a purpose
27. I love my hat collection
28. I love my imagination
29. I love my love for people
30. I love my choice in friends
31. I love that I'm a fighter
32. I love that I loves miniatures and tiny things
33. I love that I am a very spiritual person
34. I love that I keep my toes painted and my feet healthy
35. I love that my brain works like a book in space
36. I love that I can hand make books
37. I love that I'm a sculptor and caster
38. I love that I am skörjet
39. I love that I've lived abroad
40. I love that I have piercings
41. I love that I have an eclectic taste in music
42. I love that I love fluffy things
43. I love that I love organic aesthetics
44. I love that I have generally good composition and aesthetics
45. I love that I have faith in people and am learning to have faith in myself
46. I love that I love the cold and the snow
47. Yet I love that I love hot drinks
48. I love that my favorite word is yet.
49. I love that I have good discernment
50. I love that I still give my heart to people even though it's been broken so much
So what about you? What do you love about yourself?
Definitely a full weekend.
Friday happened. Real hard.
After waiting to hear back from work about when I needed to come in for some new training, I finally got an email. But definitely not the one I wanted. Instead of a time to come in for training, they just decided to let me go. I am no longer needed. In fact, I was not even given the chance to finish out the pay period. And because I recently changed to working from home instead of being in the office, they have no legal binding to me, which was why they were able to just drop me quick.
I felt like the proverbial rug had been swept out from beneath me.
And I fell. Real hard. Thankfully, I have wonderful friends. A dear friend came over to my apartment to comfort me. We went to a church event that evening and then country dancing after. My friend stayed the night since I had my apartment to myself this weekend and her presence was a huge comfort to me.
But let me be real with you. This being let go was a hard hit. And it was about my writing...so as a writer, I felt personally humiliated and hurt. And very confused, because up until this past week, everything was grand. They loved me; I loved them. All hunky dory. So definitely shocking, scary, and hurtful.
There is a letting go feeling going on right now inside of me. Letting go of the job and all that I thought it was. Having to learn again how to trust and let go of my controlling desires. Anybody else struggle with this? I feel like I am not the only one.
Saturday, I had a difficult conversation with a friend. And by difficult conversation, I mean that her, her roommate, and I all sat down and had the discussion about how much professional help she needed to get in the wake of family death, struggles, depression, and anxiety. This went so far as to going to the hospital to get an evaluation done. In fact, the same hospital that I spent my inpatient days in. That was a throwback. I had major flashbacks. But I was there to support a friend, so I did.
Both Saturday and Sunday nights came with huge panic attacks. Not fun. So Monday morning came with grogginess and a hungover feeling, not that I am actually familiar with that feeling, to be honest, but it sure felt like what I imagine them to feel like.
I had a meeting get canceled in the morning, but I still had a lunch meeting about “the show,” as elusive as that sounds, I still can give no more details. But soon, my friends, soon.
As I am writing this, it is Monday evening and I am still tired and just plain worn out. The good news is that this week, I should be finding out about a space for me to finish my art in for the show and that would be amazing to finally have s p a c e.
There are good meetings to come this week. Tomorrow I plan to throw some pots. And I don’t mean throw. I mean the pottery term - “to throw.” As in creating pieces of pottery on a wheel. Hopefully I can get out of bed tomorrow and do that. I am trying to hold onto what little sanity I have left. It may not be much, but I am certainly trying.
This is a two part blog today. Part I covers the past and the present. Part II covers the future and some plans.
Wow...there is so much going on and I am not sure where to begin. Creativity, art, mental health, business, work, writing, building, friendships, life, and death. All of it is going on at once. But I guess that is they way life is, isn't it?
When I first was planning out this post (a long time ago), I thought I was going to explain what April was to me. But I realized that it didn't matter. April was a struggle. And you know what's sad? I started my new job April 4th and I LOVED it. You know what I am doing? Writing. And it's amazing. I have the privilege to write for a marketing company, as well as create graphics and video and other content for our clients. It's not always easy, but I am truly enjoying it and feel like I am supposed to be there. That is a nice feeling.
Work was not my problem in April. But every other area of my life was feeling drained. I was sad that I could not embrace the joy of my new, exciting job to the fullest because I was feeling dragged down by other struggles and worries. Friendships were a struggle and I take that very seriously. People that I am close to mean a lot to me and when there is something wrong there, I feel it very deeply and become very sensitive to whatever issues are going on.
When May began, I said, "Okay, new month, new beginning. Let's start over."
But it didn't work like that. The first week of May felt like an April hangover. I dragged myself around and felt as if I was barely making it.
Honestly, I felt as if I had created this blog and worked so hard to do so much and thought I was getting no where. My anxiety was becoming more and more of a problem; my depression was considering moving back into it's old room in my brain. That was not something I wanted.
Then something changed.
Don't get me wrong, I do not believe that circumstances make life easy or not. It's about how we live our lives, being willing to be content even in the difficult times. However, I needed a change of scenery. Something, anything, I felt that would be different than what I was used to.
Apparently, my cries were heard.
Finally, I am able to tell you guys that something is happening...I know that's not much to go on. But what I mean is that the goal for this blog to document my new portfolio and the creation of a series of art that is meant to go into my first solo art exhibition...that goal is coming into fruition. That much I can say.
Now, I am not at liberty to give you all the details right now, but I just want to give you a heads up that things are happening...all of you who read this blog are part of a community, and that community is growing.
Of course, something could go terribly wrong and everything could change and I could be alone and devastated tomorrow...at least that is what my anxiety keeps trying to tell me. But my faith and hope and trust is being told another dream. One that says, "Hold on, answers are coming. Dreams are coming true."
I truly hope you all will be apart of this journey. There is much to come. And many good surprises along the way. So as they say...stay tuned. There's more to come. So much more.
The other part of this post is to tell you that I have come up with a calendar for posting. No more random posts and no more waiting a month in between posts. There are actually things going on! Things that are important to document! So you will actually be hearing from me...regularly. And that will start very soon. Just so you know my goal, and yes, you may hold me to it, I plan to post twice a week. I will let you know what those days are this week, too. A calendar is being made and worked on as we speak.
This also means regular emails. I've missed writing to you guys. I hope you've missed hearing from me. I plan to be much more involved from now on. Thank you for being patient with me. I appreciate every one of you.
If you have read this to the very end, I thank you, deeply. Feel free to comment and let me know if you made it : ) Survivors will be awarded...somehow...someway...someday, possibly. But at least you have all the information and get to go forth knowing you finished reading the entire blog post. Thank you.
Til next time...
Life is like a box of chocolates...you are allowed to eat all you want, but you are eventually going to have a sugar crash.
My week has been full of highs and lows. Which I guess is just life. But the immense contrast makes it difficult to focus on the highs when you become emotionally drained. I'm not trying to be a downer, but just observant.
I worked very hard last week, on a lot of things, but unfortunately because I had not completed a single big project, I still had to copy my entire to do list from last week to this week. Talk about a depressing list. But it helped me realize that I needed to break things down into smaller, bite-sized steps.
"You can eat a whole elephant, just one bite at a time."
But please don't eat elephants. It's just a phrase. They are too wonderful to eat. I love elephants.
The point is, you can do anything, just take it one step at a time. Don't try to accomplish entire projects in one step.
On the bright side of accomplishing, I have officially launched my fundraising page, which is very exciting! Please take a look and let me know what you think!
The art show is becoming more and more of a reality and it is very overwhelming - in an awesome way.
Working on the art for the portfolio has been amazing and truly invigorating. I cannot wait to share with you what has been going on artistically.
So don't forget to stick around and make sure you see what happens next...
Ok, so the year has more than started and already, I am so behind. But the exciting thing about that is that there is stuff to be behind with! I've got so much work coming in and going on that being bored is NOT an option. What a privilege. I am so grateful.
The holidays? Not much to tell...
They were a struggle for me, but that's okay. I made it through and I'm glad to be on the other side.
My real excitement came after the new year began.
I had been very sad and sleep deprived and trying very hard to not become emotionally overwhelmed. When I realized something important...
This year has just begun. And I am NOT going to allow the first half of the first month to define my entire year. This will be a year of conquering and victory. So I decided.
This was a big moment for me because I usually get stuck in the moment and forget to look at the big picture. Talk about revolutionary for me. Seems simple, but I really embraced it.
I picked a theme for the year instead of making resolutions. (I'm not really a revolution kinda gal.)
My theme is: FREEDOM. (Yes, there is a slight Braveheart reference in that.)
But mostly, what I mean, is that I am dedicating this year to freedom from entanglement, freedom from anxiety, freedom from fear. Instead, I will embrace my own freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom to enjoy life.
So what about you? Any resolutions? Any themes? Remember, don't let the first month define your year. See a bigger picture. It's there.
Today…let me tell you about today. Today is a day in which I didn’t want to get out of bed. Today is a day in which just breathing feels like a drain to my system. Every little thing people do I interpret as personal or a threat to me. In my paranoia, everyone is out to get me.
Do I sound ridiculous? I’m sure I do to most of you. But other people know this is one of the types of days that is just part of being creative and sensitive.
On top of today being what it is, my last post was erratic and crazy sounding. So now I seem like I’m going from mania to depression. In reality, the state I’m in now has been building for the past week and had a catalyst today so it just exploded into this feeling of instability. I am teetering on the edge of oblivion feeling like the fall is inevitable.
Have I really only written that much? I feel like I’ve sat at my typewriter (more like computer) and bled all that I have to bleed, as Ernest Hemingway might put it.
I want to hide, but I’m afraid to be alone. I guess I need an invisibility cloak. One that has good airflow and doesn’t overheat me. I’ll check craigslist but if you hear of anyone trying to get rid of one, let me know.
Don’t misunderstand me, I may actually post this, but I don’t want to. I don’t want people knowing that I am feeling this way and thinking these things. But I take commitments very seriously and since I agreed to the reality and truth of the creative life in this blog, I am not going to go back on my word easily. I’m not saying it’s impossible; I know I am fallible. But I’ve fought too hard to fall guilty to stigmas and trying to only write the “right” things, the easy things.
The other difficult truth that I’ll be honest about on here is about God. Part of feeling the way I do today is feeling like God has left me. And abandonment issues run deep inside me. I feel left out in the rain. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rain, but being left out in it has a certain sad imagery to it. (By the way, the word for a lover of grey and rainy days is pluviophile. So, I am a pluviophile. Just not one who wants to get abandoned in the rain.)
Yes, I realize that my thinking is a vicious cycle and believe me when I say that I am fighting against it. It just isn’t easy.
“Do not mistake the bad days for days in which I am not fighting;
those are the days I am fighting the hardest.”
I am not sure who said that, but it is very true. Bad days do not mean I have given up; they just mean the demons got a great night’s sleep and were ready to start a violent fight this morning. I, on the other hand, slept very little. Add some nightmares to that and you’ve got an equation for a difficult day.
I write all this to say, yes, these days are real and really hard and horrible. But don’t mistake them for the end. As much as it may feel like the end, it really isn’t. So don’t let those demons you are fighting tell you otherwise. (I say all of this to myself more than anyone.)
Thank you for attention. See you later.