What a couple of weeks it's been. It feels like the world turned upside down. In my last blog post I wrote about navigating my career trajectory in this brave new amazing growing-pains-filled world. I [still] haven't figured it out.
I realized at some point that I wasn't ready to get behind the easel yet. This has something to do with not feeling inspired to create beautiful things right now, and something to do with not wanting to create ugly things right now, and a little something else to do with not liking how my studio space is set up. My partner, Kyle, and I decided to rent a two-bedroom apartment and use the second bedroom as a shared office space for him (he works from home) and studio for me. I haven't fully navigated the dynamic of being in such close quarters with someone in a space where I'm meant to be creating. Except for during his lunch break when I pop in there to take Spanish lessons with him, I mostly avoid that room altogether. While I've decorated the rest of the apartment, the second bedroom remains mostly barren except for his desk and my art supplies. It's not an inspiring environment. The rest of the apartment is, though! And I'm loving it. I've been focusing on smaller illustrations because I can bring my iPad anywhere, and because small art in small chunks is better than no art at all.
I have had feelings of despondency, moments of giving up. It seems like I've got an argument against any sort of meaningful productivity lately, though Kyle says I should give myself more credit. These last quarantined months I allowed myself to slack off, saying "I'll get back into setting up my business once I'm settled in California." Welp. Now I'm settled in California and have been for 5 weeks now. I don't feel like I've done anything. Depression, fear, insecurity and denial make up my favorite little emo cocktail of the moment. I fret about finding a full time job that will provide benefits and paid time off and weekends to spend at home because I haven't had any of that for the last 5 years. But fear holds me back from making a decision in either direction. I'm afraid I'll hate the full time grind. I'm afraid I'll go broke, get Coronavirus and die if I don't do it. I'm afraid I'll never be inspired or successful or happy. And down the rabbit hole we go.
The other day I asked Kyle, where do you think we'll be one year from now? He said something goofy as he does. But then he got serious, he said a few things and then casually slipped in "you'll be a successful artist..." and continued on. My heart sang at those words and suddenly I had hope again. Sometimes it takes someone else reminding you- yeah you dummy, you're fully capable and you're gonna make this work- to grab hold of something and start climbing back out of the hole. That's what I want. To make art. To have a successful little business creating things that bring joy to people. Duh.
I found myself with a bit of renewed energy after that. Last night I created a daily checklist of self-care items, art items, and business items; shelved into nice little chunks of time, as one does when one finds a bit of energy after crawling through some slog or another. I have not worn real clothes since day one of this quarantine. Three very important items on my list are Shower, Put on a Nice Outfit, and Make Your Face Pretty. I covered the dark circles and put on some pink lipstick and a bit of mascara this morning, along with a mustard yellow smock dress. All before 10am. How productive! I admit my mood is much, much lighter than yesterday... and the other yesterdays. I'm sure Kyle will attest.
Writing this blog post belongs to my 1pm-3pm chunk of time for Marketing, Researching, and Upkeep. I also read a few chapters of some books that I keep on hand for when I need a kick in the pants, I'll list those below.
To anyone who is feeling apathetic, unmotivated, unsure, scared, depressed, insecure: I see you. I feel you. What is happening in our country right now is insane and important and life changing and overwhelming. But you are also important. Your ambition and happiness are important. Just do the next right thing. Even if it's small, like putting on pink lipstick.
Books that light my fire:
Invincible Living- Guru Jagat
The Artist's Way- Julia Cameron
Art, Inc. -Lisa Congdon
ART/WORK - Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber