After spending the day pouring over websites and blogs about “how to sell your art” or “how to become an artist”, I feel very… uneasy. And really, I guess that was everyone’s point; becoming an artist is just not easy. There’s no formula for becoming successful and so you have to figure out what is going to work for you. Selling artwork, patterns, creativity in any form is always going to be difficult. I never said that I believed otherwise; there are just some days where I feel more confident than others. So I feel the need to fess up to the truth, the ever steady truth… that I just don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I will be doing. I don’t know how to get to where I want to be. This is ultimately what sums up my journey-into-adulthood experience. How’s yours going?
I haven’t been posting as much personal introspection on this blog as I used to especially because so many people in my life actually take the time to read it now (bffs, family, and coworkers alike). But I’m taking a risk here in order to stay genuine and let it all hang out in hopes that everyone – particularly those also my age – will understand that this is just a part of what it takes to get there. You know. There. Wherever there is, that place when all the pieces will start magically falling into place. Who knows when there will actually present itself.
The universe, in some sort of weirdly choreographed routine, has allowed me to spend days on end in bed with my computer, a sketchbook, and the remote control. To some, this sounds like a paradise. Nowhere to be, no one to see, nothing to do except be at peace with your thoughts and have the room to create. On the contrary, it’s led me to asking myself some important questions about my role. That’s right – you read right – my role. As a person, an artist, a blogger, you name it. After being removed from active participation in the world, I’m left wondering what is it I do for the world anyways. Like with any other dilemma I’ve had recently, the roads lead me back here to figure it all out.
I want to discuss the importance of preserving your own significance. It’s one of many in the myriad of mid-20s lessons everyone (particularly women) needs to learn, but I don’t think there is a formulaic solution. It’s a quiet conflict that happens within us and can bear greatness and determination as easily as it can surrender and settlement.
In almost any situation in life (and in art), I will stand behind the motto “be who you are”.
This can get a little bit complicated, as I’m sure you know. Most of our adolescence is spent learning how to act and how to present ourselves in the right light, in order to be on the right path. We learn to play the part of success because that is what everyone wants for their child (and for themselves). The problem is that success comes in infinite shades of grey and as we grow older, it gets more difficult to tell which shade is our own. You can spend your whole life trying to become some picture of perfection you had implanted in your head and suddenly realize one day that it is not you at all.
With the leaves falling and the chill rapidly growing, I’m reminded of the passage of time and the irrefutable need to re-align my perspective. My life has found itself once again in a foreign landscape, this one being solely focused on working. Yes, clocking in and clocking out, that kind of working. While I stand behind my decision to do this, I can’t deny how hard it’s been to make this transition. My days are never ending and I’ve barely even had a single day off to do my own thing in the last month. That being said, I think it’s time I make some fall/winter resolutions. Who says you need to wait until New Year’s to begin working on yourself? Ideally, I’d like to keep track of these self-assigned initiatives through the blog, but I can’t make any promises right now. To start, let me just give you an outline of how I foresee this happening. If all goes well, it may even transform the way my blog is written and organized…
Sometimes I like to end the tiring work day with a movie; an escape from reality. A reminder of the poetic beauty in life we seem to forget in the day to day grind. Last night I decided I would pop in a childhood favorite, A Little Princess. Please tell me you’ve seen it. If you haven’t, it’s totally a must see (I’m serious) for every daughter, sister, mother, and best friend. I had been feeling stumped on what to write for this week’s linkup until I was reminded exactly why I loved this movie. The main character is sort of like the spirit guide or guardian angel that we all deserve to have whispering in our ears; her unconditional faith in the magic and beauty of the world is more poignant to me now than ever.
I fully realize the level of cheese I’m at when I’m spouting sonnets about how much I love this movie, but I’m just a sucker for films/books/anything that reminds me of the hope we all used to have when we were children. We believed we could be princesses, we could be artists, we could be anything we want if we just believed in it hard enough. Where does all that optimism go when it disappears? Does it transform into resignation and regret? Could it ever turn back into what it once was?
For this week’s Choose Beauty Linkup, I was able to convince my best friend Liz to write an article for Tide & Bloom. I am extremely grateful to have someone like her on my side; she’s been a steady force in my life since high school, always supporting and loving me through all my crazy periods of growth. It’s no surprise to me, or anyone else that knows her, that she turned to therapy as her career path – making it her life’s goal to help others. I’ve been begging her to write something for me because she has too many great things to share and I knew this series would be something right up her alley.
When I began this entry, I did not know exactly what I wanted to say or where it was going to end up. I knew I wanted to focus on the power of nature, as I have been using it as a personal self-care strategy in my life. Christina and I had discussed the idea of me guest-blogging many times before, but I have a lot going on in my life right now having just moved to a new city and began a new career. In the midst of that, she still wanted and believed that I had something to offer in writing a column. I felt many doubts run through my mind… “I can’t do that, I am too busy,” or “Ugh, what do I have to offer to anyone anyway?” The irony of that last statement is that I am a therapist, a mental health counselor who helps people for a living.
Some may wonder, what is it like to be a therapist, to deal with people’s problems all day? It is true that in my professional life I deal with the entire spectrum of human emotions. I see people at the lowest of their lows, as well as hear about truly horrific events and situations they have experienced. It is crucial that I have ways to protect myself in order to have an escape from all that trauma, hurt, sorrow, abandonment. One of my current rituals is taking time at lunch to step back and be with nature. I work in an office with no windows so by lunch time, I am craving the sunshine and open spaces. I am fortunate to have beautiful outside spaces surrounding me. Although I do not claim to be an outdoorsy person, the research, along with my own experience, shows how powerful communing with nature can be. Within minutes of being outside in the open air, I feel a shift in my being.
Right now I’m going through somewhat of a tough time. The instability that surrounds me feels like it will close in at any moment and I’ll crumble right along with it. And so in an attempt to try to be my own happiness, to be my own best friend, I am going to write a letter to myself (and hopefully it’ll resonate with you too).
You’re turning 26 soon and let me tell you: you are exactly where you are supposed to be. It may seem like everything’s been for naught, like everything feels like a waste of time. But I promise you that it is not. I promise you that you are going to make a difference to someone, somewhere… and soon. The things you create and the ways you love are limitless and there is no reason to keep that from the world.
I want to write on something a bit different today. The Love Yourself Linkup has been a great way to explore ideas and personal stories on self-image, but for this post I would like to focus on something we tend to forget about until it’s corrupted – the value of our professional work. It’s a different kind of self-love that’s not often given attention due to cultural norms in the American workforce. When I say value, I mean in it a variety of senses: monetarily, creatively, metaphorically. As young professionals in a depression era, we’re unfortunately subject to a skewed value system in which the unemployed abound and the employed tread lightly for fear of losing their coveted positions, even if they’re really not so great. Too often we let our desire to be liked dictate the course of action we take when wanting to take a stand for our worth.
I wanted to speak on this topic because I have way too many talented friends and colleagues who are being taken advantage of, without them even knowing it. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced it firsthand as well. It’s become so evident to me recently because I’m a mid-20-something meaning all of the people I socialize with are going through a similar professional crossroads. You usually begin at the bottom of the totem pole after you graduate college. I graduated 2010 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, entering the workforce at probably the worst time to have such a degree. And so the imposed societal instinct is to suck it up and take what you can get, if you can get anything at all. Prove yourself worthy, exceed their expectations, and stay quiet. While I still believe this sort of work ethic is important, it also underscores the rip current that takes you further and further away from reaching the status and value you actually deserve.
Please find the courage within to fight for what you are worth.