Year Two: 20 Lessons and 11 Dreams

 

I like looking back so that I can learn. The perspective of time is helpful when planning for the future. This second year, my terrible two’s if you will, was a challenging one. The biggest thing I need to work on is trust and strengthening my community ties. What I realized is that I can easily become consumed by what I have to do and forget to ask for help and trust that help will come. Living is a collaborative effort, we need each other. And trust is an act of hope, which is essential to being able to keep going. Anyway, here are some lessons from this year and as an act of vulnerability and hope I also share some of my dreams.

 

hands sifting through paintings

 

 

LESSONS

 

1. Fear cuts deeps than swords.

Some Game of Thrones wisdom for you. This is from the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series and it’s a lesson Arya learns from her sword master Cyrio. She applies it as a way to cope with her fear and a motivator to jump into action throughout the book. And it’s helped me a lot. ‘My mom will often say what’s the worst thing that can happen? Will they kill you if you ask?’ It’s been a way to motivate myself because not knowing and living in fear is so much worse than just facing the fear. 

2. Nothing, nothing is ever permanent.

I see this quote or piece of writing on social media now and then – it’s the one that says something like don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. It is such a mystery to me how anyone can live the same year twice because I sure can’t. Sometimes it feels like as soon as I settle into something it decides to buck me off or shift beneath my feet. Accepting and embracing change is a strength.

3. There is no such thing as the end of the road with a situation or an individual.

My nature generally wants an ending. I like finality, because it’s understandable. But the truth is there are no endings. Approaching life that way leaves little room for connection and evolution. It’s the same with hearing a no. If you can open your mind a ‘no’ doesn’t have to be the end of the road. It might turn into a yes, it can turn into making a friend or learning something but only if you’re open to it. 

4. A bath and a cup of tea can’t fix everything but it can fix a lot.

Just don’t forget to load it with epsom salts.

5. Community is crucial.

It’s easy to prioritize work over everything, but it’s not the best thing for you or your work. You have to give to receive. If you want you friends to support you by coming to your shows or events you should think of how you can support them. If you have your eye set on being part of a larger community you have to participate in it, with genuine enthusiasm. I believe in the power of community. You can’t make it alone.

6. Keep the process as the top priority.

You must be connected to your process. And if you lose the connection it should be top priority to get back into it. That’s the work, that’s the reason why you’re doing it. Nothing happens if there is not process and if there is no work.

7. Plan to run past the finish line.

You can never know exactly what will happen, or depend entirely on expectations. Always think beyond the checkpoints.

8. Cultivate self belief through discipline.

I recently just came across a list of signs of self sabotage and one of them was letting yourself down. I think that’s what discipline really means to me – is not letting myself down. Follow through builds confidence and trust which helps me feel grounded in my life and the pursuit of my dreams. 

9. A bad day doesn’t define your week, your month or your whole life.

“Just because you feel like shit doesn’t mean that you are shit.” 

10. Staying positive is a choice and it takes work.

Look for the silver linings, and accept that if this was easy you wouldn’t want it.

 

painting

 

11. Don’t wait for anything, always keep working.

We’re all kind of obsessed with over night success stories. But anyone with a true lasting talent did not make it over night. There is a lot of elbow grease, a lot of ‘no’s’ , a lot of dead ends and disappointments. The person that makes it happen is you and your persistence.

12. Don’t assume you know more than anyone.

Always look for opportunities to learn and improve. You can disagree but be a good listener, don’t take people for granted.

13. Develop your own system for coping with stress.

You have to know what makes you feel good and what makes you feel like yourself. Stress is very individual so knowing what you need is the key.

14. Try not to stress.

It would be great if you could just turn it off.

15. Learn how to trust.

A big lesson for this year was realizing how little trust I have in general. I always feel like I have to be super self-sufficient. So this is something I am working on. 

16. Your journey is always unfolding even if it is unseen to you.

You never know who you are affecting and who’s paying attention. An opportunity to connect to someone new or get an opportunity is always a possibility.

17. Don’t be scared to take a chance.

It always worth it. If it doesn’t work out it just means you can move on faster.

18. Don’t forget to live a life you like.

Work can define you and for creatives it is such an intimate expression of self but you are not your work. You have to remember to do things you like and live your life!

19. Laugh more.

Seek joy.

20. Perfection is a myth.

You’re always getting better. Sometimes looking back is healthy so you can see your own progress. That’s the best thing to focus on.

 

a painter in the studio

 

DREAMS

 

1. Make an installation.

I’d love to create work for a public space where people can interact with in a different ways. 

2. Paint a mural.

Although this feels scary, it’s something I’ve wanted to be able to do for a long time.  

3. Go to Paris for work.

You know when people are like I will know I made it when… this is mine. 

4. Have a solo show.

I have a solo show with large scale works and paintings on canvas. 

5. Write a successful residency application.

Please lord, let this year be the year! 

6. Collaborate with more creatives.

There are a lot of people that are doing things are really admire and I hope to join forces more often. I want to do more with photographers, stylists, interiors designers, brands that are doing and making beautiful things.

7. Go to a place I’ve never been before (maybe Arizona or Rome).

 I really want/need to experience being in awe of something.

8. Make huge paintings.

It’s gonna happen. I’ll make it happen.

9. Branch out my work into other things, like home decor.

Something is already in the works!

10. Collaborate with Levis’ and Moleskin.

I have a list of companies I hope to get a chance to collaboration with. These two are at the top of my list. My personal journey is tied with their products and it would just be insane to have my voice echo within the halls if these giants. 

11. Get international representation.

My goal is to have my work all over the world so I am seeking representation in the States and beyond. 

 

paint and brush on the floor
Photography by Jen Aurich.

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