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I really love it. It’s awesome, the people are great, I work for wonderful supervisors — couldn’t be better! But, like most jobs, the first few days were… not quite productive (hmm, sounds like every time I try to draw…). And anyone who knows me, knows I haaaaaate not being busy. And, the first day at my new job definitely topped all others.
It’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Not that I *actually* go chasing Steve around the house with a mistletoe strapped to my head to steal a kiss. Although…. not a bad idea….
I work as a developer during my day job – and in the IT world, well, we’re all a bunch of geeks and nerds. (Which, let’s face it, is THE BEST!) Anyway, we quote movies, talk about movies, comic books, cartoons… and sometimes reenact them, as well. And, since I have fluffy hair – well, this is what happens.
Under pillows, on the floor, in the laundry basket, in the fridge (yes, really), on random shelves, under pillows and/or blankets, in the car… you name it, I’ve left it there. I’ve even done searches when the phone was RIGHT IN MY HAND!
Don’t lie. You know you can totally relate.
* A typical day *
(frantically searching through the house)
Sweetie, have you seen my phone?
(without looking up)
Did you check your purse?
…IN the bed?
(through gritted teeth)
Then I got nothin’.
(Stomps away angrily)
* Five minutes later *
I found it.
And, it was….?
In the bed….
Huh? What’d you say? Did you say it was in the bed?
Yes, yes!!! IN THE BED. UNDER THE DAMN PILLOW.
(Flops down on the couch)
(Angrily flips through the phone in silence)
This is the type of wedding guest I am. Or, at least, when its with a group of people I know and love. I am bubbly, fun-loving, and then, by the end of the night, I am absolutely done in. Alcohol tends to make me sleepy… 🙂
He wanted me to make a comic out of the whole ordeal – you know, since nothing crazy bad happened in the ER. Thank God. (And to be honest, he knew I needed to draw something as some therapy because I have been a hot mess.)
Let me rephrase that. I don’t mean giving up ENTIRELY (please don’t do that!). No, I’m talking about that come-to-Jesus meeting, that intervention we all face at strategic points in our lives. Who am I? What is my purpose? Apparently, I did that this week – to a lesser extent. Not so much, “What is my purpose?” as, “Why don’t people like meeeee?!” (Or, maybe I just had a mental breakdown and started talking back to the voices in my head. But hey, I’m an artist. We’re allowed a little bit of insanity.)
This is me – my story of how I got to where I am, and my story of self-realization. I began the journey a long time ago. Lots of starts and stops along the way, from the kid who doodled all over her books in elementary school, to the artsy girl in high school drawing anime characters, to the budding art professional with a Bachelor in Studio Art. I have worked in graphic design, as a preschool art teacher, and all kinds of non-creative jobs scattered in between.
During some of that time, my muse stayed close. We were best friends. I had so many ideas, I thought I may burst if I didn’t get them down on paper. Long dry spells inevitably followed. Days were spent plagued with depression and anxiety and a constant struggle to find some sort of self-worth. Nothing I did was good enough. I felt inferior and longed for days past when things weren’t so complicated and hard.
Both sides of that coin shaped who I am today, so I cannot regret any of it. But I can learn from those times. And, when those dry spells inevitably come around again, I can be ready for them.
I found my footing again last fall. Since then, I have spent every-possible-moment-since taking advantage of the inspiration, painstakingly trying to create quality content — and trying to grow my fan-base, extend my empire. Except, my empire is very, very small (really more of a village). For a while that bothered me and, if I’m honest with myself, it still bothers me a bit.
But, do you know what? I am learning that when I raise the bar too high, too fast, that’s when I crash and fail. So what if I have few followers? Those that do follow me, my people, my kindred spirits — they are gold. YOU, my friends, are precious gold. Because you are real people who take an interest in what I do. You find value in the work I create (if not, you wouldn’t bother hanging around). That means so much more than thousands of followers.
At the end of the day, I need to feel that my art means something. I need to believe that my words have power. We all do. But if I touch only one soul, make only one person smile, that still means something.
I have spent years fighting for control. Control over my circumstances. Control over how others perceive me. Things that I can never hope to attain but that I continue to beat myself up over. I cannot force others to like what I do. I cannot force others to invest in my work. But I CAN foster relationships and build trust with those who do. And that’s my focus, from here on out. Creating quality art for quality people, numbers be damned.
I may not have 2000 followers. I may not be earning much at all from my Patreon campaign. But if I focus on the small things, I realize that I’m pretty lucky in the long run. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong. We love our little Dug, but he’s the most lovable holy terror you will ever meet. He’s chewed up shoes, clothes, bedspreads… the screen door. Thankfully as time goes on he’s growing out of that, but until then, we affectionately gave him the title of “Dug the Destroyer.”
I’ll be the first to admit I’m flaky. Still, there’s a time and a place for such revelations. Case in point:
In the morning, on the way to work, I step down our four measly brick steps in the garage on my way to the car. Unfortunately, my brain forgets the routine I have been performing almost daily close to the last decade and my foot misses the last step. As I crumple to the floor, my knees save my face from planting first on the concrete.
And so, I unceremoniously pick myself off – laughing, because what else can a klutz do in this sad comedy of errors? – and gather my fallen belongings.
Does Steve offer a hand, a word of sympathy or encouragement?
Of course not.
Steve (watching bemusedly from the doorway): What in the world happened?
Me: (sighs) I missed the step.
Steve: But… how?
Me: I don’t know! I just had a flaky moment, I guess.
Steve: Moment? But… you’re always flaky.
The humor in this may be a little dark for some people. However, it’s something that just sort of spilled out and it was very therapeutic for me to draw. We have no kids. We wanted kids. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately that just wasn’t in the cards. (I have a brief blog I wrote on my infertility journey, in case you’re interested to read more.)
I’ve come to appreciate my life as it is, with no kids, with lots of fur babies, and lots of nieces and nephews to spoil. And that’s fine! It’s a great life. I’m not less for not being a parent.
Some people just need to be reminded of that. 😉
Mind mapping fell into my lap a while back during a time when I felt scattered and undisciplined (or maybe I came across it while pinning random pictures on Pinterest, I can’t remember). Lists no longer worked for me, if they had ever worked at all. And, that is a difficult thing for me to admit. Because I, being the true nerd that I am, have always had a thing for lists. Maybe it’s OCD… maybe I’m just weird. Either way, I love nothing more than planning things with nice little checklists. Sometimes (okay lots of times) I will even add a task I have already completed just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off my list.
But lists and I have a love/hate relationship. For one thing, order has always been important to me and if I thought of an item that belonged somewhere in the list but there was no room to add it – well, that drove me crazy and I often had to rewrite the whole list from scratch. For another, I would often get so hung up on making the list perfect that I would never get around to actually doing any of the items ON the list!
The *idea* of mind mapping has been around for centuries, but the term and the practice we know it as today was coined by author Tony Buzan: “A Mind Map is a visual thinking tool that can be applied to all cognitive functions, especially memory, learning, creativity and analysis. Mind Mapping is a process that involves a distinct combination of imagery, colour and visual-spatial arrangement. The technique maps out your thoughts using keywords that trigger associations in the brain to spark further ideas.” (From the iMindMap software from Tony Buzan)
Simply put, the process goes a little like this:
Think of a mind map as just that — a map. Maps use roads and paths to connect us from one place to another. Mind maps use words, thoughts, images, and color, to connect our thoughts together into one cohesive idea.
Have you tried mind mapping? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what are you waiting for?! 😉
For those who don’t know our newest cuddle bug yet, meet Dug. He’s a 50 lb., sweet-as-pie, lovable, huggable, kissable, Tazmanian devil with a bundle of energy. We got him from a wonderful local rescue called Southern Skies at 8 months old. They had originally named him Douglas and – since we love Dug from the movie, Up, well… it seemed an obvious choice.
And it suits him. 🙂
I love fall. Everything about it – the crinkling of leaves, the scent of bonfires and toasted marshmallows, the taste of pumpkin (to a degree. I’m not crazy-white-girl-pumpkin-spice in love with fall. I like my pumpkin in moderation).
But fall fashion HAS to be my favorite. Sweaters, cardigans, boots, and scarves. Lots and lots and lots of scarves… I have a Harry Potter scarf, a Doctor Who scarf, a gray scarf, a blue scarf (and apparently just turned into Dr. Suess!).
Anyway, the point is – fall is awesome.
I have long tried to get Steve to get his first pedicure. He tries to keep his toes and feet groomed and tidy, but there’s nothing like the experience of going to a spa and getting pampered for an hour. But, every time I mention the possibility, he scoffs at the mere idea of a man getting a pedicure. Who does such a thing?! (Lots of people, but I digress.)
During our beach vacation this summer, I scheduled myself a pedicure and jokingly mentioned scheduling one for him. Imagine my surprise when he actually said yes! Of course this momentous occasion had to be recorded!
And so, dear reader, I give you Steve’s first pedicure. Enjoy. 🙂
There is a certain etiquette when providing birthday greetings to the Steve. The Steve is a man of simple tastes – mainly, to be left alone. So, one most take that into consideration when approaching the Steve. I have provided this handy illustrated guide on the various acceptable (?) birthday greetings in our household. 😉
This is my first
guest-post (ghost-post? ghost-written-post?) user inspired comic. True story, this happened when my good friend and co-author, Heatherlyn Egan, and her friend Caleb went to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Caleb, bless his heart, is not the die hard Harry Potter fan that Heatherlyn and I are… but I’ll forgive him, since it led to this hilarious back-and-forth between the two.
This week’s comic is brought to you by a fun Instagram contest for the end of August. The only rule for the subject was: black-and-white. I decided to go with a vintage jazz style straight from the Roaring Twenties. (Which, let’s be honest, is awesome. The height of jazz, big band, and swing music? Don’t even get me started on the fashion!). The comic depicts me as a lounge singer belting out a tune with Steve rocking the bass* in the background.
*Side Note* You have to admit, he’d totally be one of those bassists. Or, maybe one of those bass guitar players who stands around bobbing his head to the music and plucking at the strings. You know the kind I’m talking about.
Yeah. Just like that.
Everyone treasures those select few favorite childhood books. You know the ones. These books have been read so many times, the binding is cracked and splintered. And, these books came to life when we read them, and the words engraved into the very marrow of our bones. These books hold stories that were our dearest friends, our closest companions, and our solace in many a darker time. Finally, they helped us to escape from the drudgery of life. They became our first loves. And, they taught us how to dream big.
In all honesty, I have no answer for what makes this book greater than that book and vice versa. I know only that the books I gravitated toward had a tendency to show one or more of the following characteristics:
Check out the slideshow* below:
I consider Anne of Green Gables another classic series. The story follows a young orphan girl through life, from finding a family, to finding friends, to finding love and beyond. It warms the heart, has all the whimsy a girl like me could ask for, and has been read by me more times than I can count. Those characters are MY kindred spirits.
“Favorites for nearly 100 years, these classic novels follow the adventures of the spirited redhead Anne Shirley, who comes to stay at Green Gables and wins the hearts of everyone she meets.”
Last, but CERTAINLY not least – C .S. Lewis tops my chart of all-time-favorite authors. I’ve read about everything he’s written twice and three-times over, this series most of all. I cannot say enough good things about it, from the character development to the breathtaking description and the poetic way Lewis writes. You aren’t dragged into the story – you go willingly, excitedly, through that wardrobe and into an amazing world where things aren’t always what they seem.
“C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years, enchanting them with fantastical talking creatures, epic battles between good and evil, and magical doorways into new lands.”
As I mentioned before, these are only a small sampling of my favorites. After all, I was a huge bookworm growing up so to really delve into all of the books who touched me in some way throughout my childhood — well, we’d be here a long, long time. 🙂
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