Home Office Ideas

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Photo of me by my lovely friend Amanda 

I have a ton of books.  Like, a TON.  In the photo above, what you don’t see is the top row of books on the super tall book shelf, another overflowing book shelf next to it, or the other two book exploding shelves across (you can see the side of one on the left of the picture).  Add to that a growing sample library, project files, and notebook collection.  My office, which is half library, half museum, is becoming just a tiny bit out of control.    Continue reading “Home Office Ideas”

Project Snapshots

I realize I don’t put a lot on this blog about the things I’m working on, and so I’d like to share some tidbits from a project I’m wrapping up.  A few months ago, I was contacted by a lovely family who purchased a second home in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood and needed their new empty condo completely furnished.  Sound like a dream?  I know… Continue reading “Project Snapshots”

2017 Goals

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Image via Drew Ellis, found on Pinterest, obvi.

We’re fast approaching the end of 2016 (phew!), and now is the time that many of us are making resolutions for next year.  Somehow it seems more important and serious this time around, as if suddenly a switch has been flipped inside of me, and I now understand the consequences of inaction.

Most of my goals for next year focus on financial stability and growth.  I want to pay off my credit cards, and make room to start saving towards our goal of buying a home.   Of course, I want to make sure I’m working enough to afford to do all of that.  If possible, I would love it if the work was rewarding and fun, but I won’t get ahead of myself here…

Aside from that I’m trying to prioritize my efforts so that they fit into the following three categories.  I’m going for improvement, not perfection, with happiness as the main goal. Continue reading “2017 Goals”

A New Season

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March 2016

Back in early March, I was sitting on my sister’s couch, crying my eyes out in the middle of the night.  Things were horribly, yet inexplicably wrong at my job (my dream job!) and the anxiety of returning to a toxic workplace had ruined the end of my week long vacation in Phoenix.  The feeling crept up on me, until it had totally overwhelmed me and stopped my ability to enjoy a single moment of the day.  Imagine Sunday Anxiety x 1000.

Earlier that day as we wandered through the aisles of a Native American Market, I felt lost and hopeless, touching every stone and asking what they meant.  Where was the thing that would purify my soul?  Where was the thing that could protect me?  I allowed my mom and sister to dawdle at the booths and rushed ahead of them so they would not see that I was crying.  Something in me had cracked and broken, but I did not know what it was.

Continue reading “A New Season”

Permission to Create

 

This weekend, I texted a good friend of mine from way back in college and asked, “Is there any reason I need to keep the boxes of notebooks and binders of short stories I’ve written?”  I’ve had it on my list for a while to clear out my  home of unnecessary clutter, and my notebooks and writing starts from undergrad make up a huge part of it.

He responded with a series of questions to get me to determine for myself their current and future value, and before I knew it I was moaning to him (can you moan via text message?) about how I’m not an artist anymore, I’ve lost direction, I have no purpose, I have no idea what I’m doing sometimes…

My friend Andreas is one of two people I still keep in touch with from my writing program.  He has sat through years of writing classes with me – often multiple classes a week.  He’s read countless stories of mine centered around directionless characters that were really just thinly veiled versions of myself.  We even took a class together where we literally had to transcribe our dreams each night as they came to us. So yeah, this guy knows me.  And it is not totally strange that his gentle line of questioning unleashed such a roaring out-pour of emotions.  Questions I have about myself past, present, future.  What am I even doing and does it have meaning?  Is everyone laughing at me?  It was a full on cathartic dump.

When the conversation expired I had to move on to handle the rest of my duties I’d outlined for myself that day:  go to the gym, go grocery shopping, take the dog to the park…  I had LIFE to do, and it was all Very Important, and so I got in my car and went on my dutiful adult way.  While I was dripping from my post workout shower waiting for the elevator back to the parking garage, I noticed here was a big hub of activity happening in front of the Michael’s craft store (70% off Halloween stuff for any holiday decor nuts out there), and so I wandered in.  I aimlessly walked the aisles, poking around for something to draw my attention.  I ended up in the yarn section, and before I knew it I was checking out with two skeins of chunky wool.  I have not picked up my knitting needles in years, but something compelled me to get a new project going and so I listened to the voice.

Later that evening as I was finishing up my project, I listened to an episode of Creative Peptalk called Breaking Through Anxiety .  Andy talks all about giving yourself permission to create for the sake of creation, to allow yourself the opportunity to do something that has no purpose just because.  My day had come full circle. I think I was looking for advice from others because I felt stagnant and wanted permission to create.   And then I realized that only I can grant myself that permission.   So I created.  Who cares what value my knitting will add to the art world?  Who cares what other people are doing or might have to say about what I’m doing?  (Ok, I care a little but I’m working on it!)

My hands were busy and my mind was clear and I was happy.  And I realized that just as much as I need to find time to work out and meal plan and juggle my 5,000 jobs, I also need to find time to create things for me.  For the sake of creating and emotional release.  (Yes, knitting can be a emotional release!)  Obviously I know its easier said than done, but I’m starting to finally understand how important it is to schedule time for everything – including fun.  

For everyone out there who may also be struggling to get started on something, I totally understand.   But if there is something holding you back from feeling happy, and that thing is yourself, you have to let go.  I constantly worry about what others think, to the point where I have had this blog for who know how long, and only just this week added a link to it in my Instagram profile.  For some reason the act of putting myself out there is a terrifying leap into an unknown void – I am making myself vulnerable to criticism on purpose??  But the voice inside that compels me to do this is not going to go away.  And if I want to be free, I have to let go of the anxiety and worry and just be myself.  The people I love most on social media are very truly themselves, and I follow them because of their genuine personalities and unique perspectives.  They post heartfelt, often personal messages that resonate with a wide audience as if it were the most natural thing in the world. They are real people being their real selves.  They are free.

I am realizing lately that I am also a real person, who is capable of being myself.   I am also capable of being free.  I am edging (slowly) toward the ledge for my leap.

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Upon presenting MJ with the finished product, he inspected it and said “Wow, I had no idea you could knit…”