My Mess

I would love to be a neat person. Truly. I really would. I mean it. But I am not. I am a multi-tasker. I need it all in front of me at the same time. If I put things away I can’t find them. If I attempt to organize I can’t remember where I organized it to. The other day I was going to stretch a canvas. Where was my staple gun? I distinctly remembered putting it somewhere so I would not forget where it was. Still have not found it. Borrowed one from my other artist friend who knws me enough by now to not even question the fact that she knows I own TWO. When I opened this place I had fantasies of organization. Oh the fantasies. A place for each thing. I thought I would be so different. I have my drafing table for painting and my desk for design work. {note the photo now.} Ahem. But I am working on small paintings and need to answer emails or do some tweaks to that design project. So, um, well, I do it all at my desk. In this picture you can see my mouse, my cell phone, my studio phone, my notebook for everything going on in my life, my paints (yes I use the craft paint). Yes, it is a mess, but it works for me. It is my way. I am coming to terms with the fact that I might never be a neat person or an organized person. But ya know what? That’s ok. I pay my bills, I meet deadlines, I make my meetings. Opening this place has made me realize that there is no “right” way to do any of it. The right way seems to be my way. I have started to stop saying phrases like, “I am doing it all wrong, but somehow managing.” I still exclaim that I am a mess that will be figured out one day by everyone, but maybe being a mess is ok. I learn as I go. I make TONS of mistakes but I learn from them. I might look disorganized, but I know where things are because I can see them. I will probably always admire the neat ones in society, wish I was more like them, but I am really beginning to feel at home with myself and realizing my way is just as valid as any other way. I am a mess, but a successful mess.

One small step.

I have received several emails and comments lately by people that have said they are inspired by me and thank me for telling it like it really is. It is so amazing to me that I inspire people. And here is my big fat secret: I feel like most of the time I am a mess. I go about my day wondering if I am doing anything right. Worrying that it could be done better, imagining that there are people pointing and whispering about how wrong I am doing things. But the other secret I am realizing and I think I have always really known is this: There is no right way to do any of it. Really, how many interviews have we read about people we admire that say they believed in themselves and just went after it? Action, no matter how small is the answer. Dreaming about something is wonderful, but what next? Even telling people about your dream is a huge step. I think that we get so caught up in the big picture, we forget that there are many tiny baby steps to take before that. So many people say I can’t quit my job to live me dream. Well, no, most people can’t. Even I am still freelance designing to pay my bills right now. But imagine this: You are getting your morning coffee today at the office. You are gossiping about your weekend to your coworker, talking about what in the world so and so was thinking when she put that skirt on with that top this morning (don’t lie, you know you do!). What if you turned the conversation toward what you like to do in your spare time? Mention the amazing necklace you made last night, or better yet, be wearing it and when someone asks where you got it decalre, “I made it myself! Eventually I am going to have my own place and sell my necklaces!” You just put in motion a powerful message. Watch what happens. I promise you that the universe will answer you. Suddenly someone will ask if you if you could do a custom design. Or someone else will ask if you do wedding and bridesmaid necklaces. Suddenly the ball is rolling. The secret to our dreams is sharing them. I can’t tell you how many people are behind me supporting me in my gallery. Because when we encourage others we encourage ourselves. Seeing another person realize their goals means it can happen for us too. And don’t worry that there are a bunch of other people doing whatever it is you want to do. No one, NO ONE has your exact vision, or your exact passion. Trust yourself. So I ask you, what one small thing can you do to move closer to your goals? Which one person can you tell what you really want to do in life? Tell a friend, call that school for an catalog or ask to see the campus, don’t worry about the realities of how it can’t work. If it is truly your dream, the universe WILL shift to accomodate you. Be prepared for what happens. It will seem like magic, but it is what happens when we decide to try. Life rewards action.

“If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” ~ David Viscott (I have had this taped to my computer since June 6, 2002. It was two months after I painted my first pet portrait ever. I told a good friend how much I loved painting these silly portraits and he encouraged me to get a booth at a festival. I got a booth at a fall festival that October. I had to quit a full time job a month later because of all the commissions I got that weekend.)


So after another conversation with mom I am realizing more and more things about myself. I may be as scared of failure as of success. Many of my friends have written this to me in the past weeks. In the weeks I was gettitng the gallery ready and all the paperwork in order I went on instinct. I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t panick, I just did it. Action. And everything went well. Not aways smooth, but progress was made. I have found it interesting that once I was open, once I had time to think and ponder, I began to doubt. To second guess. And while this didn’t cause anything bad to happen physically, mentally it was devastating. I was getting over come with fear on a daily basis. Wondering what the hell I had done. I doubted the art classes, I doubted my art, I doubted everything. Yesterday I realized how I was not listening to myself. How I was trying to run this gallery based on how I thought it “should” be run. Not on what my instict said. Not being flexible with my plan changing as I saw opportunities. Worrying that if I needed to change things I was somehow failing. So yesterday I took a deep breath and took action. I went on instinct. I paid bills that were due, I mailed letters, faxed letters, finished two design projects, dropped them at the printer, made arrangements to go to an elementary school for a presentation, dropped off a portrait for an art auction, and made my list of projects to do by Monday. And I did it. All. And it felt good. And last night I went out. And instead of feeling guilty I allowed myself to feel like I deserved it after such a productive day. This morning I had my second art class. I decided to have fun. To play with the kids, to play with art. To show them the joy I feel when I paint acrylic on canvas. The time flew. We laughed, we drew, we painted. At the end of the class each student had done their very first acrylic painting on canvas. And were they ever proud! Their work was amazing – I will post pics soon. There was joy in their art and you could see the pride in their eyes when they saw what they had created. I was flying when the class ended. It felt amazing. I just did what came naturally and stopped tyrying to do what I thought I “should” be doing. It was so much easier and so much more fun my way. Just like my art. When I try to imitate others I get frustrated. When I just paint what comes out of the end of my brush I feel a thrill every time. I am learning to stop fighting with myself. To go for it, with everything I have and see what happens. I tell, you, I may not know how this all turns out, but I can say this, I feel ALIVE. Everyday is an adventure and more and more each day I am trusting in myself. And that is when the fear goes away. Today was a beautiful day that I will remember moments of it forever. I trusted myself enough to give my joy to some children and saw the joy come alive in them. And that rocked.

kind of a rambling essay in my head.

Hmmm, what to write? I usually try not to write or post unless I have something to say. I am sitting here typing, so somewhere I guess I must want to say something. The past two weeks have been hard to describe in one word. Amazing, exhilirating, scary, fearful, anxiety-filled, full of joys, full of tears, so much. So much. I have for the first time in my life experienced panic attacks. For someone who has never had a full time job or a reliable source of income in ten years, you would think I’d be well versed in this. But actually no. I have never experienced physical panick attacks before. I was telling my friend about the fears with this new business. Wondering how I’d pay the bills, if freelance slowed down, or the gallery didn’t pick up the way I think I will. My life is a whole bunch of unknowns right now. And usually I can take a deep breath, know that it always works out one way or another and plunge ahead. But not the past two days. As I told her this and told her I was waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat so full of fear and everything that could go wrong that I never went back to sleep, I began to get dizzy, and clammy, and my arms and fingers got numb and tingly. I couldn’t breathe. I coudn’t focus. I couldn’t think clearly. After ten minutes it passed. I just let myself feel it and got through it. But that was enough. I realized that I was letting fear of the unknown cause me way too much emotional turmoil. Mind you, I have plenty of freelance work, word of mouth for the gallery is picking up daily and I have something else in the works that is pretty big. (which I can’t talk about yet, but when I can, boy howdy!) So all this fear is only because of me. Nothing real, nothing actually bad happening. I have a tremendous fear of failure. I can actually visualize people pointing and laughing saying, “What WAS she thinking? One more thing that isn’t going to work.” For all the successes I have, sometimes I still tend to dwell on what isn’t working. Why do I do that? So I did what any person should do in a case where they can’t get themself out of a self dug hole. I called my mom. And thank god for moms. They know exaclty the right things to say at the right times. She gently pointed out that I am a wee bit, um impatient with my goals. If things don’t happen right away I tend to cross them off as a failure and move on. Well this time I can’t. I need to realize that business takes time to build up. She said that I have plenty of work keeping me busy that will pay the bills and most importantly STICK TO THE PLAN. Don’t change up anything before I know if it will or won’t work. I realize that I don’t often stick to the plan. Which is a reason I can’t live in corporate america. I need to be able to move, do what I want. But right now I need to stay put. I have been increadibly productive in my gallery. I love closing up at 6pm and being done. I love being with my children at night and really being with them. Not getting them to bed while I am thinking about what project needs to be done once they are asleep. So I am breathing better again. Knowing that it is normal to be scared. I have taken on a lot. I have decided to make my dream a reality and it is on a very public level. For the first time if something I am doing does not work, it is for everyone to see. Sure, if I succeed it’s fantastic, if I don’t well, it’s not so fun. But I can say this, I certainly feel more alive than I ever have. But I think I will try to stay in the calmer emotions of life. Panick attacks are really no fun at all. And like I always say there really is no such thing as failure as long as you just don’t quit, and a quitter is nothing I have ever been. (and thanks mom, you rock.)

I have always loved this…


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates other.”

Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech.


I have been in the studio painting all day today. Doing my JOB. Can you believe it? I am SUPPOSED to paint now! I did two new paintings today and am finishing a third. I have to say, being here all day certianly keeps me productive. This week I had a toddler class, signed up a 6 year old for children’s class, went out to a house from someone who came to my open house for a mural consulation, finished a poster design, did a commission (my first one here and they came to ME to pick it up!!), and had a woman contact me about a custom order of paintings for a grooming shop she is opening in South Carolina! Not bad for my first week. I have a few other things in the works that I hope to be announcing soon as well. (and just to keep it real, I have also had at least a dozen panic attacks most of which involved tears – yes, I am still scared to death about what I have taken on!)

The lovely thing about being here is that now all the ideas I have I can just do. There have been so many half begun ideas or series of paintings in the past few years. Now I can do them. I might start an ebay store or sell from my website. Since I don’t have to share half with a gallery owner anymore I can price my art a bit more affordably. So we’ll see. I still am taking every freelance desing job that comes along, but one day I will be able to just paint. I was so worried about moving my computer here. But a magic thing happened this week when I did. I actually got all my work done by 6pm! And when I went home I was able to relax. I can’t compulsively check my email or get back online to work a bit more. There is actually a lot of freedom not having my design computer at home. I do have one for emailing at home, but I didn’t even bother the past few nights. It was nice to catch up on my housework (oh my, does working like crazy for 6 weeks take a toll on the house!!) I did laundry last night, cleaned every nook and cranny and now tonite I know I will go home to a nice clean house. I feel peaceful right now. And now when I am home with my kids they get all of me. Not, “in a minute.” mommy or “just let me finish this email.” mommy, or “mommy has to work tonite.” And that is the BEST part of all.

Here is some new art I did today. (and a gold star to anyone who knows the song that goes with the horse painting!)

And how was YOUR day???

Got to go for a three mile run this morning and felt sooo good. Then promptly got a parking ticket this morning that, as you can imagine made me very happy. I parked for, I kid you not, thirty seconds with my hazards on in a handicapped space in front of Starbucks to drop off the caraffe from the coffee they donated for my opening. I actually have to go to court for parking illegally for 30 seconds. Niiiice. Wonder how much the free coffee will cost me? Oh, and so the police woman was of course being such a um, rhymes with witch. Would not listen to me or anything. And I know I was wrong, but seriously, 30 SECONDS. So I get all pissy, right? Meanwhile there is another guy who got a ticket and threw a holy hissy fit and three more officers showed up. My officer keeps being such a lovely woman that I do finally get upset, but I know better than to say anything. So finally she gives me my ticket and I swing open my door, and sit down in a huge huff. Right on top of my yogurt I had brought for breakfast and had fallen out of my purse and onto my seat – sending a peach explosion of yogurt EVERYWHERE. So then, after slamming the door in a huge spectacle in front of all the officers to make a point of my irritation, I have to get out with yogurt all over my um, rumpus maximus to clean it all up. And they got to see all of it. Sigh. Wonderful moment. And how was YOUR day??? (and yes, you may laugh, I can now, it just took a few hours.