As far back as I can remember someone asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I have wanted to be an artist. The was the path. That was really all I could ever see myself as. I didn't know in what capacity it would be but I knew that there was a drive inside of me to get the ideas out of my head and in front of someones eyes and ears. I don't ever really remember being bored as a kid. I could easily find something to entertain myself with, no matter how dull it might have seemed to someone else. My brain has always been going at a mile a minute. Always.
And that is how I've ended up here. You see, someone like me thought that everyones brain worked the same way. I thought that everyone must feel completely overwhelmed with the exhausting rush of thoughts, the constant dialogue, and the jumbled mess that cause so much confusion. I have struggled with aftermath, depression, even as far back as 7 years old. We didn't know it then, but manic depression would dictate over me in a profound way.
I'd gone through a lot of incredibly challenging circumstances in my life and some where just barely bearable for me, but the serious 2 year bout of depression I had following the births of my daughters was one of the scariest. It was scary in that I was contemplating suicide and I now had these two precious lives that I would be leaving behind if I acted on my thoughts. It was the longest stretch in my life that I hadn't been creating in some capacity and I knew that feeling some sense of purpose in that could help. I was (and still currently) also in cognitive therapy once a week, where my psychologist encouraged me to seek out what medium would bests fit into my life. Having been a photographer for the past 10 years, I wanted to try something different. I had always very lazily painted in my teens and early 20's, but never had any patience to actually learn or hone that skill. Drawing and painting seemed like a good option to start with since I could do it anywhere and pretty much at any time, which I needed because having 2 babies meant having to be flexible.
I made a deal with myself. I would devote 2015 to learning the art of drawing and painting via online tutorials and books. I would practice without pressure and allow myself to explore every medium that interested me. I didn't strive for perfection. I didn't expect for anything to be a "keeper". Just the act of creating under these conditions alone was transformative for me.
I fell in love.
Not only did I fall in love with it... it fell in love with me. It was like meeting someone and knowing within the first few minutes of conversation that you would be together, somehow, someway, for the rest of your lives. That actually happened to me. So I know. I know that feeling well.
The next year in 2016, I devoted myself to applying everything I had learned and painting as much as humanly possible. I even went so far as to challenge myself to paint 14 paintings in 30 days. And I did it. Not only was I doing something I absolutely loved and something I was becoming pretty good at, I was gaining a lot more confidence in my ability to achieve something if went for it. My ex-husband once gave me a mug that said "Good things happen when you go for it" and I've always kept that in back of my head when I feel scared or nervous to try something that isn't in my comfort zone. It was probably one of the best things he ever did for me... I wouldn't be with Jim if not for that type of motivation. ;)
Now, I don't consider myself an expert by any means and I don't know so much of the technical knowledge one would learn in art school, but when I look at my first painting and the one I'm currently working on side by side, I see that patience, dedication and putting in the hard work can absolutely pay off. I didn't learn any of this overnight, but with each drawing, with each painting, I improved so much... so much in fact that people now pay me to paint commissions. I feel truly honored that someone would trust me that much.
I have so much to learn about how this side of the art world works but I'm happy I'm here in it. This is where I feel like I should have always been.