yo, plus side

Even though my last post seemed like a little bit of a rain cloud, it's fair to admit when something isn't working. I like to write things out, to pay attention to my thoughts, and as a personal reminder where I need to focus my energy. Because it has slumped ever so slightly, I know what I have to do to pump up the positive. And though this month had its downfalls in some areas, it also had some really good points. Here are the positives of the exact same things I struggled with this month...

Self, self, self
The things that freelance has done for me in a positive way, turns out to be a very hefty list. First off, it is an incredible feeling to get to wake up and do what I love, and actually live off of it. This whole experience has shown me the importance in what I do, and how it actually brings joy to others; which as a result, brings a tremendous amount back to me. When someone tells me what my work has done for them, or how they feel about something I did, or how I've inspired them; it doesn't ever get old to know I made someone smile. I get a tremendous sense of confidence from doing what I do, being who I am, and believing in what I love. I never imagined I would get to do what I do now, and actually get so much out of it, in so many ways. It keeps me stable and grounded, and for that, I throw myself a high kick or two. 

Being able to escape when I need, is something I really value about my job, without taking advantage of it. When the sun is shining, it's nice to get to step out of the office and take an extended mind break, or maybe even bring my work along to get something done while enjoying the outdoors. We live in a really wonderful city, and I love that I have found my own special comforts within it, which I can escape to when I need assistance in getting the job done. Sometimes, it's even nice to bring a friend along to play with. I know he doesn't mind, and it also helps for later, when I need to go back home and concentrate. The sunshine knocks him out. Perfection.

I have always put pressure on myself to do a good job. While it may be a bit much on occasion, I feel that it's good to challenge yourself to be better at what you do so long as it is reasonable, and doesn't lead to total burnout. I realize that because I work well under pressure, it helps to literally work against the clock by setting up a timer. This helps me bring more structure into my day, so that I work for the time that I'm getting paid for. Timing also helps me get to bed at a reasonable time, when I know that I need it. Late nights are good on occasion, but when I overdo it, I walk into stuff. Really, it isn't cool. Especially if I have a hammer in my hand.

So, on the flip of everything I posted about before, there are major positives to what I am learning and experiencing in each given day. I feel lucky to be doing what I'm doing, and even though the negatives might sound like it's too much on me.. believe me, it's not. I would much rather be doing this than sitting in an office for 8 hours a day, staring at the same screen, clicking mouse and putting text on stock photos all day. This is my life, and because it is so new to be doing what I'm doing, it's going to take some adjusting. I expect there will always be positives and negatives about it. I just feel the negatives are what teach us most about ourselves, because they're the ones we can rip apart, challenge, and pull into being something else. Positively.


bring may flowers

April is just about over, and I have to say that I'm kind of thrilled. This was one tough month! But, as I always say, with the struggle comes learning. The negative is a positive. I am constantly learning, and I'll admit that it knocked me on my ass for a while. Just this past week, I was on the couch, sleeping an entire day away, with a migraine, because my mind was tapped out. While the migraine was out of my control, I know what I did wrong for my energy, and I can't dwell on it. I'm shaking off the crust, and reminding myself that it's okay to feel a little bit defeated. This is only month 2, and with it coming to a close, I can review what I need to change for month 3, so this doesn't happen again. While some things are out of my control, getting a hold on the things that are, will help me in the long run.

Self, self, self
This one still is my biggest challenge, when it comes to putting time into my days. I'm great at putting myself last, when it's totally unnecessary, and not helpful at all. I've gotten to getting up and moving around when I need it, as I spend a lot of time working, when I could really use a break. It helps to burn off the steam and get my body moving, because the mind can totally exhaust itself if you let it take over. When I catch myself over thinking, or even just mindlessly working on something that isn't coming together properly, I get up, step away, clear the brains, and run it off. The benefits that come with self maintenance are far too valuable to ignore. When your body is happy, your mind is happy. I'll admit, my mind was quite gloomy this month. I know what I need to fix, and there are no excuses. If it's important, you make the time. I am important. 

While getting out of the house is very important for clearing my head, I have to cut back tremendously and set up a budget. I went way too far overboard this month, because I was nurturing my need to escape. If I'm going to leave the house, it can be for a cup of coffee/beer/tea whatever, but it cannot be a full out splurge of taking myself out on a date. Sure, once a month is a great reward, but I probably took advantage of the luxury of a workspace with service a little too much. Lunch dates are great for catching up with friends, but solo rolling just to get out of the house... no, I have to be mindful of the cost that comes with it. It's a bit of a lesson, when learning how to balance what I need with what seems like a simple fix to my frustrations. A much tinier budget for escapes will be enforced in May. There are other ways to escape the office. I may be making this into a personal challenge, for the sake of getting back in touch with myself, away from work, without having to always physically leave it for the relief. I'm a workaholic. It's time to face it and find balance.

I work way too well under pressure, but a little too much that I actually wait for that pressure to get myself moving. I don't think it's safe to live this way, when I'm currently my own provider. I have to be able to start saving and putting things aside, both for expenses that come with the job (supplies, tables/booths for events, shipping, travel) never mind any possible emergencies that might pop up along the way. The end of the month has always been a massive scramble to get things ready for my upcoming expenses, and though I'm able to catch myself up and keep on top of the demand.. it's not worth it to run so hard against the wind. I have to be mindful of what sort of pressure is helpful, and what is damaging. I don't think I'm doing it right quite yet. It is my goal to laugh at May in the face, when this time of month rolls around. There's a challenge to keep up with! Adding pressure to the pressure I already put on myself to succeed is just not a happy plan. Quit it.

With all of these notes I've taken, I've made myself a list to carry into next month, with the incentive that I don't repeat the same anchors that I don't need to have as extra weight in the challenge(s) of being a freelance artist. I have to be responsible, and part of that includes taking better care of myself and my living space... even if I may want to escape it so often as I do.

We are fortunate to have some lovely weather, so taking walks to play in the field, or meditate/read under a tree are definitely good things to have at my access. I'm also looking into creating different spaces within my living space, so I can remove myself from where I work, and find breathing room to get back in touch with myself; without taking the cut. It's like, I have been cutting myself down without realizing it, only to say hey, you're feeling pretty low. We are our own worst enemies in disguise. I really bashed myself good this month for a variety of reasons that were highly unnecessary. My new note to self reads: You won't fail, if you don't allow it.

Let's get April out the door and make way for May.


the art of the battle

The thing about being a working artist is that it's a bit of a war game; to roll with the punches, find your steady ground, and keep up with the unpredictability of it all. It's a tough and constant battle, but one I'm really learning to love as I go. Some weeks are easy coasting, while other weeks can be a major challenge, with very little rest in between. My mind is a busy one, so it makes sense to keep myself just as busy, without burning out in the process. I can't afford to lose my pace. The go-go-go is how I work, naturally, so I feel I'm being pushed in the right way. I'm focused in the evening, and planning my attack during the day. For someone who bores easily, by nature, this is a good place for me to be. Always changing, and always focused forward on how to survive.

This past month has really shown me a different side of myself. I've scrapped my outer shell in regards to trying to keep up with imaginary expectations that no longer exist. I am not in an office just for the sake of the stability of a pay check. There's more to life than bi-weekly payments, office cake, florescent lights, and benefits. I feel I'm really working for myself, and for that, it has incredible rewards. When I can keep up with the demand of life's responsibilities and show myself that it all came from something I do, and love, I'm sent over the moon with confidence. I've realized that I needed this, for a long time coming. 

Why didn't I do this earlier? A lot of people have asked me this question, and some have already given me some sass with the "told you so" and "it's about time." Yeah, yeah, I get it. *eye roll*  The truth is, I needed to find that confidence from myself, and for a very long time, I just had no idea how to approach it with the proper mindset of personal value. It's where I have struggled most through my years of doing art on the side. Now that it's a full time gig, it's a bit different. I can't fall back on attempting to make the world happy, because it's just not going to happen. I actually have a post-it, to remind myself, until it is firmly ingrained in my modest brains, "value what you do, and others will too." Simple as that. 

To scrap my hippie mindset toward advertising and consumerist culture, I have to acknowledge that who I am, and what I do, is a brand. Everything I post, represents what I'm made of, and it feels pretty good to know that what I've put out there is a completely honest expression of who I am. To think that it has gotten me somewhere, by being myself, makes me quite proud of what I do, and even more so what it does for others. I am a brand and I have to protect and nurture it, to keep it going. It also goes hand in hand with self love, which shows me my art is a healer. Wild. 

The next step to keeping the dream alive, is taking the cougar outside. (Yeah, I said cougar. My 35th birthday is in less than three weeks. I've accepted it.) Ahem, as I was saying.... With summer approaching, so are the outdoor events and festivals; which is perfect timing for making my public appearance(s). It's very exciting to plan and prep for, as it is an entirely new process within itself. It goes with all of what I stated above: rolling with the punches, planning ahead, keeping up with the pace, representing the props, valuing self... It never slows down, I never stop learning, and it never gets old. For that, I feel pretty damn amazing.

On that note, I'll save the rest of my thoughts for another post. This is a wicked fun ride you guys, and every day is an adventure, because of you! Thanks, so much. 


challenges and solutions

Whenever I'm feeling challenged, I like to write it out, for the sake of paying attention to my thoughts, and for sharing with whoever is out there creeping. It's been a bit of a tough go, getting used to working for myself; though there's that shiny happy concept that working from home, as an artist, is incredibly luxurious. I mean, sure, it's great to get to do what I love every day, and not be stuck in an office environment from 9-5, but it -like any change- is an adjustment. Side note, are paint pants and old sweaters luxurious? Hmn.

I've become my own boss, my own provider/planner, marketing team, promoter, customer service rep, secretary, shipper/receiver, banker, supplier, brand, business, and my own cheering team. There are a number of other roles I take on in every day, I just thought a brief example would be enough to explain why I may be a little overwhelmed under the surface. I have no idea what I'm doing, and that's okay because we all have to start somewhere, right? Too bad I have very little patience, an unrealistic need to be perfect at everything, and I don't know how to ask for help. All of those things can add up and become a bit of a problem.  Reading this, already, I see that I'm really quite hard on myself.

My anxieties, present themselves in my dreams, almost constantly. It can be a little entertaining, when I look at them closer, and see what my mind is trying to tell me. I'm either late, lost, being hurt/rejected by someone I care about/love, I'm losing my shoes, my sense of direction, my passport; or in some situations I am surrounded by orcas, while floating around in a very tiny lifeboat. Yeah, analyzing any of these indicates a certain insecurity toward losing my grip on the stability of my life, my relationships, and the world around me. Intense. I know I need to slow down, but also pick up in other areas that I'm losing out on. Yes, orcas, I get it! You're there to make me think about it!

Isolation is most definitely my biggest challenge. With my office space as my living space, I tend to have difficulty disconnecting when it is needed. I can work 18 hour days if I'm in the zone, which can sometimes result in running myself dry; without leaving the house at all. And though it's sometimes how I roll with being a homebody and workaholic ... I need, and I mean need to stop, get out, and do more for myself. It's okay to stop working, even if I feel it will result in wishing I'd done more, later. Business won't fail in an hour, or two, or even a day off. I'm learning to disconnect, and also connect in different ways. I've become more social with my friends, catching up, slowing down, getting back in touch when it is needed. I like this change in my life. People that matter make the time.

My impatience rests on where I live. I have my struggles, getting over my fears of the north, based off of my experiences; but I'm not in any sort of danger to need to get out this instant. It's a quiet neighbourhood, tidy, and friendly in patches; just not what I'm looking for in regards to action and social interaction. If I want to go for a long walk, on my own, or with dog, I am more than happy to pack a bag and set out on a miniature road trip and adventure to the south side. There are solutions to every problem, and if filling my gas tank a little more often than usual is part of the equation, so be it. I need it. It just makes a difference on my day, and state of mind, to get outside and be around the people. Damn, this city is great for people. I can't wait until I can get the energy I need, by simply leaving my doorstep.

I'll be moving back to the south, in July, and though I tried my best to shorten my lease to June; it is the most responsible thing to do, while I figure out freelance and how to keep up with it. It worries me sometimes, when I think about how much I need to do in between the list of responsibilities that I take on every day; but I also realize that worry gets you nowhere. It's natural to worry, but when it comes in excessive doses, it slows shit down and can even stand in your way, entirely. I don't have time for that, nor do I need that sort energy in the mix. Don't play your own enemy with mind games of failure. That's one of my worst habits. Ask the orcas! You only fail if you allow yourself to fail. No way, no time for it.

I feel like I'm keeping a good grip on maintaining a positive mindset, for figuring things out.  My goal for the next few months is to take better care of myself, and make it a more consistent and necessary part of my list of priorities. I'm the engine that keeps this train running (profound analogy, no?) so, I need to take care of myself similarly to how I run my business. It's a lot to take in, but I've loved what I've learned, and am looking forward to what I'll learn even a week from now. It's constant. Change is good for the soul, so long as you're taking care of yourself. And with a goal in sight, imagine the possibilities to come, while you reach for it.

Everything is going to be alright.


Wrestlers Daily

I know I'm going to need to eventually explain this series, but for now, just enjoy.

Hulk Hogan

Brutus the Barber Beefcake


For the Love of Character: 4

I recently realized that Krang is a recurring character in my sketchbook, and in my fish bowl. The name is good enough on its own, but my love for Krang is completely in his design. He's so unique, he's almost ridiculous. I don't know whether to fight him, or tickle his brain...See what I did there?