(I had to include these valentines out-takes because they're my favourites. They just don't fit on paper very well...)
Here is what I've learned in the past two weeks, brought to you in lovely, short-form prose. Maybe you'll learn something from what life has taught me!
Give yourself some credit - you do the things you love, no matter how 'blocked' you are.
I made the snap-decision to apply for art school last week, and scrounged up as much of my work as I possibly could. Looking at it all stacked up, it’s actually a surprise to see how much work I’ve been doing while feeling like I’m ‘not doing anything’ artistically. Sometimes it takes a crunch to really see all the things you’ve done, and see how far you’ve come. If you’re really feeling like you’re ‘stuck’ and not creating, I highly suggest gathering up as much of your work as you can, and see it all stacked up gloriously in front of you. For once, I’m not anxious about creating, and what I’ve created!
Sometimes a break is necessary
I’ve hit a point in writing my novel where I need to seriously revise and cut away at the plot. A huge change is on it’s way, and after doing this a few times, I’m well aware that this is the beginning of a good thing, but it’s also a frustrating time. Knowing you’re going to make a break through, but not knowing when it’s going to kick in your door and demand snacks is painful. So it’s been two weeks of creative floundering, toying with ideas, trying on different outfits, cleaning up, waiting. I hate waiting. But I’m hoping I’ll have the story cleaned up and defined enough that I’ll be twelve steps ahead after said breakthrough is comfortably asleep on my couch and inspiring me.
It’s honestly not as bad as you think.
I’ve been going in to work anxious almost every day. Between our traffic and absolutely bonkers customers, every day has been a rollercoaster, leaving me exhausted every day. And going in wearing all my armor (in case of said crazies) and already exhausted (because of the strain of thinking about how many people I’m going to see) makes for another awful day. Is my job ideal? No, not at all. Is it what I have for the moment? Yes. I might as well try and make it as enjoyable as I can, and attempt to at least go in to work and come out of work in a good mood. Hopefully I can continue to call my power and control back from work to myself, and protect myself in a way that isn’t compulsive anxiety.
Friends are great.
I’m a strange mix when it comes to people. I’m comfortable as an extrovert, but more often than not I default to introvert, because people tend to exhaust me. I don’t like big groups, I don’t like parties, and I’m quite comfortable going alone for long periods of time. It doesn’t help when you live with your best friend - we can literally go for weeks without really seeing anyone. Which tends to make me…anxious and grouchy. These past few weeks I’ve stepped it up, I’ve gotten in contact with friends, and I’ve dragged my little ass (and his) out of the house to see friends. Seriously - if there’s one thing that tends to calm me down, it’s games and laughs with a friend or two.
Holy crap, I’m actually kind of a decent person?
I always like to describe anxiety as a literal goblin sitting on your shoulder, squishing you, burping in your face, flicking boogers at you, and constantly commenting on how awful of a human being you are. Not only do I normally face down self depreciation and doubt on a daily basis, I’m literally anxious about having those anxieties confirmed by others (anxiety-inception. How sweet). I not only got HUGE compliments on my art, but I’ve hung out with people who genuinely like me, want to hang out with me, and make me laugh. And it’s felt great. I feel like I’ve got a bit of my shit together, and that feels awesome.
Also - I learned that studio art might not be what I want, and that Theatre Design sounds like a program that suits me WAY better. And I’m applying for it? And I’m excited about it? It’s crazy how life can take a 180 when you trust yourself and let it do it’s thing!
Indicator of your own power. Lends you it's own. Tends to come up in either a time of great strength, or a time when you will need some. Powerful and straightforward. A great card to have in any spread.
Trust. Your. Gut.
I try to run my life on this rule: After this is over, what will you feel when you think back on this, and how do you want to feel? If any anxiety or regrets come up, I tend to take the course of action that will eliminate those feelings. Or at least allow me a justification for why I did what I did, when they do come up. If I feel like I need to do something, I try as hard as I can to muster up the strength to do it, and my gut almost never leads me wrong when I do.