2019, let’s do this!

It’s only January 15th and I am already late with a few things on my schedule. I’ve fallen into the trap of saying too many yesses one more time and this is the result.

One of the too many yesses was said to someone who I thought was a friend, who asked me to help with his job and his website: I wasn’t exactly full of enthusiasm at the idea, but It was a moment in which I had very little to do, and so…I said yes. Who am I to turn down a job offer, right?

But my gut is always right because it turns out it’s a total waste of my time, and it’s slowing me on the only thing I want to do: draw. It’s slowing me down on the only thing that it’s making me earn money, on the only job I have! But since it doesn’t feel like a job, since I love it so much, since I can’t wait to get up in the morning to sit at my desk and play with my watercolors…

…this is the right word! PLAY. It feels like playing and it makes me feel guilty. Who am I to make money while playing? Who am I to be this happy about something? And so I sabotaged myself. Unconsciously. Again.

In my defense, I need to say that I have become a lot better at saying no, but I just found out there is a little bit more of work to do. It’s totally fine.

So the beginning of this year has been a bit rough. There no lotus flower without a bit of mud, I keep on telling myself.

I wanted to open up my new shop two weeks ago, but this so-called job slowed me down a lot and then, just as I had a couple of days off to work on it, my iMac decided to leave me. What a nightmare. I bought a cheap second-hand PC that will work for now as I have no funds for a new iMac, and I am working on my shop as I type. I don’t want to have any other distractions and launch it as soon as I get all the files ready. Hopefully by the end of this week.

Because of all this tension, my back got stuck. What. Pain. It happens to me quite often and especially when I am very tense or feel trapped in something. I get too tense, and my back gets too rigid until it can’t move anymore. I’m on the mend, but I should know better…

…DON’T SAY YES. Not to people who don’t help themselves. If they don’t move a finger to learn how to solve their problems, why should I do all their work? My experience has taught me that these are the people who are going to point their fingers at you and blame you for all that didn’t work out in their lives while they did absolutely nothing to make things better.

Bottom line, I still need to learn how to love myself 24/7. I got a lot better at that, but there is still a bit of work to do. Feeling guilty because I love what I am doing is SO STUPID. I worked for this. I’ve spit blood, I’ve starved, I’ve sacrificed everything for my freedom. I went against everyone and I’ve been alone.

I deserve this. It didn’t come for free.

And no matter how strange it started I can predict that 2019 will be a fun year.

Let’s do this.

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Happy Winter Solstice!

I used to go crazy for Christmas as a child: the lights in the streets, the Christmas Tree, and all the gifts! My family wasn’t Catholic, so I never went to church and our Christmas wasn’t religious at all. Growing up I became a Buddhist but became also interested in all the pagan traditions, and so I kept decorating the tree every year. Only now I don’t celebrate Christmas AS Christmas but as Yule, or Winter Solstice.

Yesterday it was Winter Solstice and the first day of Yule, which celebrations go from December 21st to the 26th. It’s the celebration of the light, which will come back little by little every day until Spring Solstice.

I was wishing for a bit of snow, but nothing. It’s been really warm until mid – December and then.all of a sudden, the air froze. I woke up one day and all was covered with ice. But no snow.

I took these pictures a few years ago. In the first one, you can see my house, on the left. It’s so beautiful when it snows here, I feel like I’m on the moon. I don’t like winter at all, but I am in love with snow and with the dreamy feeling that it adds to everything.

Thinking about it it’s a good thing there is no snow yet as I have one less distraction form working on my new shop! It’s taking me a lot longer than planned, but I like the way it is coming along and I can’t wait to show you! It’s going to be live on January 3…just another way to kick off the new year with a bang!

The 55 things list.

The last four years have been highly transformative. And very painful, as deep transformations are. 

In 2015 I closed my brick and mortar shop. I was broke and broken. Totally confused. Took up every kind of job just to get by, as I had no idea of which way to go. 

In 2016 all was pretty much the same as in 2015. But I began taking things more lightly. I realized that at the core of my problems there was a lack of self-love, something I already understood years before… only I had no idea of how deep this lack was. So I began digging and healing.

Excuse me? I’m writing! 

2017 was better. I began to draw again, this time for myself, and something inside of me shifted. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure. Lack of self-love comes with habits that are hard to kick…and so I took one step forward and two steps back. 

2018 has been the year in which I have made my mind up once and for all and kicked all fears away. I am happier, excited. I feel like I can face everything just because I know exactly who I am and what I want to do. And I knew what I wanted to be since I was eight years old, then forgot all because of other people’s expectations and frustrations, but here I am again: an eight year old in the body of a 47 years old woman. A deadly combo.

Just a little side note: FEARS ARE A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME! Unless you learn how to use them. More on this some other time.

Anyway, for most of this year, my brain was like scrambled eggs, something that ALWAYS happens to me when I get excited. I want to do everything, all at once, go everywhere, etc. Being not exactly organized, you can imagine the results. I made very little of all I had in mind. 

But 2019 is going to be different. First of all, for a very stupid reason: 19 has been the number that took me through serious change, even if not always good right away. Nine is my lucky number. The year 1999 was really good, for example. Don’t tell me you don’t have a lucky number.

Superstitions aside, trying hard to use what little rationality I have, I can see how nothing can’t go bad if not because I went through so much shit and managed to shovel it away…really, what more can happen? Smallpox and cholera epidemic could be the only thing, but I’m vaccinated, so I say I’m done with shit for a while.

But I have to solve the focus problem. Stay concentrated and organized. 

I have had a habit of writing down a list of things to do, see, buy etc., at the and of every year. It’s usually a 100 things list because I really love to go wild, but do I stick by it? Never. I always cheat. The thing is, nobody reads my list. It’s mine. Cheating is easy.

Susanna the writing assistant.

Since everything is still evolving, I decided to keep it simple and lighten up my list by writing down ‘only’ 55 things. Mind you, I could have easily wrote down the missing 45 things, but there is no reason to do it right now. The 55 in this year’s list are doable and it’s what I need. 

So, to hold myself accountable, I have decided to make my list public with a dedicated page on this blog. And to log in every month, to update my progress.

I know it’s not the end of the year yet, but I am impatient. Bring it on, 2019!

Here’s the list

Amor Fati

Children know everything. They know what to do, how to do it, what’s their destiny, why they are here. Since we’ve all been children, we all had that kind of knowledge until a certain stage of our lives. sadly, growing up we get influenced by other people’s fears and, bit by bit, we bury our knowledge in a corner of our soul. 

I know I knew everything as a child. My ideas were super clear. I knew I wanted to leave the city and buy a farm near the water. I knew I wanted to save animals, I knew I wanted to work from home as a designer and illustrator and use my work to advocate for animal rights. 

Lately, I’ve had one more proof that you are born knowing what’s your destiny. Life bangs you on the head with all possible misfortunes and troubles, until you begin to let go and listen to your inner voice, letting the course of things flow and get you where you need to be.

Twenty years ago I was hired by a fashion brand as a stylist, and even if I really didn’t like that job, the pay was good and I had great co-workers. But then this brand was sold and the new owners made the place hell. I left and got a new job in a furniture company as a designer. I left the city and came here, rented this cottage and worked in furniture design for almost nine years. I loved that job. And I felt somewhat satisfied with my life because it was all quite close to what I had dreamed of. But again, the company was sold and closed shortly after. I felt like I was cursed: why all the places I worked for went to rotten at one point? Why couldn’t I settle down?

So I opened my own store. I loved it but felt like something was missing. An infinite series of troubles hit me. I felt like destiny was against anything I wanted to do and build in my life. The more things went bad, the more I tried hard to make them go right, and the more they went bad, in an infinite spiral of misfortunes that has forced me to close down the shop and left me with no money. So I took up all the odd jobs just to get by, trying to understand what to do with my life. In the meantime, I began to draw again, something I had not been doing for a long time. I thought about selling my watercolors on Etsy. I opened a shop on Etsy and began to draw every time I had a spare moment. My drawings didn’t sell big numbers, but they did sell. I had had a couple of Etsy shops before, and nothing sold as my drawings did.

For the first time in my entire life I felt like I was on the right path. Drawing for a living was what I always wanted to do and now I could see how it was possible. I could draw from home and sell my drawings online. It felt like a big knot began to unravel. Things started to go right. Everything that was even slightly related to my dream, went well. For example, I needed new watercolors: the one I wanted were too expensive…I went on Amazon to look at them a drool a little bit, only to find they were discounted by 70 percent, only for that day. It was like my life was telling me ‘DRAW!! DO IT!’

In the meantime, Etsy developed in something I didn’t like. In the back of my head I had a new dream…I wanted my very own online store. Not in a common market place, but something mine, something that I could completely control.

I left Etsy. Too tricky, too big, too expensive. I took some time off to clear my ideas. I wanted a Shopify store so badly, but no, too expensive, too much of a risk. I don’t have followers, I should have paid for promotion, it would have been too much.

So I settled for a Tictail Store. Simple, cheap, easy to use.
And here’s the fun part.

Twelve hours later the ‘launch’ of my shop on Tictail, I received an email: Tictail is closing down in April and is being absorbed by…guess who? Shopify!! And all Tictail shop owners would get 6 months for free.
Did I have to think about it? Of course NOT. I signed for a Shopify store right away and I’ve been working on it for the last ten days. It will probably be ready in another week because I want it to look super cute and I am doing all by myself. It takes a bit. I AM SO EXCITED!!

Looking back I can see how everything worked to get me where I am, where I always wanted to be. Where I knew I had to be.

Amor Fati. Life gets you exactly where you need to be, if you let it.

So stay tuned for this new adventure. Whatever the outcome, it will be fun.

#draweverydamnday

I already told you about the kitten someone threw in my garden. But I won’t tell you about the night when I heard a crash coming from downstairs and I ran down at 2,30 in the night to find that one of my cats had stumbled into my brand new tv’s wire, throwing it on the floor and breaking it beyond repair.

And I won’t tell you about the HUGE tax bill I received.

I also won’t tell you about the tiles beside the shower in my bathroom, that decided to come down, or the toilet seat that decided to break and fuse itself to the ceramic (it’s a long story you don’t want to hear) forcing me to change the toilet… which is obviously out of production.  So now I’ll have to change the entire bathroom unless I want a toilet in a different style from the sink and the bidet. I am a damn designer, and cannot live with that idea!!

In case you wanted to know about the stoves, it broke too.

As you can easily understand, the only thing that it’s keeping me sane lately it’s drawing. Life is trying to distract me from my art, and boy is she putting some efforts in this! But I am tougher.

I know this too well. Every time I’m doing something I like but I doubt about myself, my capabilities, life throws hell at me to test me. It’s like she wants to see how much I really want it. They say the reward is as big as the obstacle, and I know this to be true, so I am not letting myself be distracted by a huge tax bill, an orphan kitten, a broken new tv, no tiles in half of the bathroom, almost no toilet, and broken stoves. 

I’m forcing myself to see the glass as half full, and it’s a glass half full of the best red wine ever. And it’s not only because I desperately need to get drunk, but because this is it, it’s the end. I mean, it can’t get worse than this. 

It’s a lie. It could. But it won’t because there is a statistical end to misfortune and I have already crossed it. I hope. 

 

God bless the inventor of monthly drawing challenges. The current challenge is ‘Huevember’: you have to make a drawing a day and every day it’s a different color. I’m in awe at what people can draw, there are really some amazing works of art on Instagram right now, and it’s a great inspiration to keep on going.

Due to all that is going on around here I was able to do just a couple of proper drawings and to sketches. This one up here is already on my Redbubble shop together with the very first at the beginning of this post.

They say not all bad come to hurt and it’s true: I rediscovered a deep passion for what I do thanks to all this mess. Drawing is again my hiding space, my refuge. Watercolor is so therapeutic and calming. I could draw for days and days.

Which is a good thing given the fact that I need to make a lot of money to pay, repair and buy all that it’s broken….