I turned 31 recently. Last year for my 30th, my husband threw me a kick-ass party. All of my friends and family got together to celebrate me and we had an awesome time. This year was a much quieter celebration, just me and some of the girls enjoying mimosas. It is strange to think… I am in my thirties. I graduated from college ten years ago. TEN.
It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around it all because in my mind, I still feel like that young kid just out of college, barely out of her parent’s house. I’m still waiting for an adult to tell me what I should be doing here. Who thought it was a good idea to make ME the responsible one?
The only big goal I had for myself before I turned 30 was to have started to have kids. I never imagined that that dream would be so hard to reach. The last four years of our lives have been filled with so much heartbreak and disappointments. Going through the loss of baby after baby, each time going from the highest of highs, to the deepest of lows…. and so much waiting. Waiting on things that are completely beyond your control.
I am not an ambitious person. It doesn’t take much to keep me happy and content. A ball of playdough can keep me entertained for hours. A Frosty from Wendy’s will turn a bad day good. My natural tendency is just to go with the flow. I am not a born leader, I don’t put my own needs/wants in front of others. I’m much more concerned with what will make YOU happy. I think that is why I find freelancing so hard. I want someone to tell me, here, here is the project for you to work on, and then let me do it. Having to go out and get the projects for myself, to work out all the details and contracts and payments, ugh. Do. Not. Like.
And so these last four years have been beyond hell for me on so many levels. Learning how to speak up for what I need. Trying to figure out how to keep on “living” life while paralyzed by the waiting. None of these things are what come easy or naturally to me.
When I was a little girl, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer without hesitation, “An artist.” Here I am, 31, and that hasn’t changed in the slightest. I completely identify myself as an artist. Everything I do is about art. My personal vision statement is, “To reflect the beauty of God to those around me.”
I am an artist. Put me on a deserted island, naked, with nothing, and five minutes later, I would be drawing in the sand with a stick. I can’t help it.
But on the other hand, art is only a very very small percentage of my income. It’s what I do, but its not what I DO. I work at other jobs I like, with people I like, doing things that I like and sometimes I get to use my art too. But most of the time, art is what I do outside of work. And I’m not going to say that is a poor choice. Sometimes find a job you enjoy, and that gives you the freedom to do other things in your free time is exactly what you want. If it works, then why rock the boat?
But, I begin to wonder, if I wouldn’t have more fun if I was doing something… more. I’m not that girl just out of school anymore. But its become too easy just to go with the flow, and wait. This drives those closest to me crazy *cough CLINT* who feel like I’m wasting my talent.
If I could have my dream job, what would it be? See, here is where I have a problem. I want to do so MUCH…. I’ve thought about becoming a professional genealogist. A children’s book illustrator. Concept artist. I love doing research. And graphic design. Murals. Sculpture. Stuff animal design and creation. Costume making. Dollhouses and miniatures.
Hear that? That is the sound of me banging my head against my desk. The problem is, I could do any of those things. But I can’t do them all. At the same time.
So its easier just to keep doing what I’m doing. Which is a little bit of everything, while I’m waiting for someone to tell me what I should be doing right now.
Except, I think I’m done.
Having kids… may or may not happen. And if it happens, it will probably be years down the road.
No one from Blizzard or Wizards of the Coast or Naughty Dog or Pixar or Disney is going to show up at my door and say, Hey! You should come work for us!
No one is going to come do my laundry for me and make my house beautiful… ok, well maybe. But I’d have to fork over money, and I’m too cheap.
What do I want?
I want to make art for people to be used. To be enjoyed. To inspire.
Here I live, in southern California, the backyard of Los Angeles. My husband is a video producer. So many of my friends and family are in the media business. It kinda seems like a no brainer, huh.
I have a lot of excuses.
But mainly its just fear. And having to force myself to go outside my comfort zone. I will want to go back to what is comfortable, and easiest. First big rejection, first big mistake, is going to send me running back to what I know.
So here I am saying, Don’t let me. Be annoying. Give me a hard time. Don’t let me get off easy.
First new rule for myself: draw every day. And be deliberate about it. I’m trying to get rid of the excuse that I don’t have the right experience or portfolio. I think I will post my daily sketches here on my blog to stay accountable for it.
So, here is today’s sketch: let’s draw a medieval ambiance from real life observation. (I used office at work for light reference and drew inspiration from the castle we stayed at in Ireland.)