I’ve made it over a week and have (so far) kept my resolutions.
Some days have been easier than others. I have particularly enjoyed the early mornings after I’ve gone to bed at a decent time. The yoga is so rejuvenating when I wake up rested; it has actually been a joy, something for which I've been sincerely excited.
After late nights, like last night, it has been slightly more challenging to peel myself out of the covers, and onto my mat. Still worth it, but challenging.
Luckily, I know as long as I can get myself out of bed, I can find the kind of yoga to fit whatever space I am in (physically or psychologically). Some days its intense, static, muscle strengthening. Other days, it’s meditative, flexibility and breathing focused. This morning, I chose the latter.
I love that I can choose how I want to start my morning. I have the option to ease into it slowly like a swan gliding over a still pond or alternatively, jump in head first with gusto!
This week has been my first full week back to work, so Its been all the more important for me to strive to keep my goals while I get back into my routine. My intention has been to set the standard for how I want to create this habit for the year. And while it would have been feasible for me to do the yoga in the evening some days, I really wanted to establish a morning practice whenever possible.
So far. So good.
I’ve also kept up my drawing. As with the yoga, some days I have been able to be more involved and detailed than other days. Regardless, it has been fun.
Yesterday, I was at the ComedySportz Indianapolis holiday party with my boyfriend and I knew it would be the only chance for me to sketch all day. In the past, not having dedicated time to draw at home or alone would have deterred me from creating at all. However, I reminded myself that I was committed to keeping this promise to myself. So, I went to the party and made some quick gesture drawings on the back of some of Taylor’s old/outdated resumes.
Are they the most polished of drawings? Um. No. clearly.
However, I find these quick drawings train my eye teach me more about drawing with accuracy than some of my dedicated private drawing time. I can’t remember the last time I practiced drawing in this way, and it makes me happy to know that I’m connecting with my creative spirit.
Touching on a completely different process, I painted a gouache painting this week along with my other sketches. It accomplished the task of drawing for the day (I consider painting a kind of drawing), as well as creating a little gift for my boss’ milestone birthday.
The more I work in gouache, the easier it flows. I really enjoy the process and it’s taking time, but I sense that I am improving ever so incrementally.
So, overall, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I’m satisfied. Right now, my focus has shifted from pushing myself to giving myself a little grace. I want to keep the habits up, but I don’t want to push myself too hard. In addition to yoga every morning, I’ve found time to get to the gym for some more intense, cardio-based workouts this week, and I’m planning on going to my Muay Thai class again tonight.
I need to acknowledge, however, I tend to push myself harder than is beneficial, and I know I need to do all I can to care for myself gently as a compliment to the intensity. It can be challenging to strike a balance when all I want to do is see positive changes in my life. However, I’ve learned that the best positive outcomes are usually a result of patience and a gradual shift in behaviors over time. That’s how it is for me anyway.
I will get stronger and be able to hold more complicated poses…not within two weeks, but perhaps with consistent practice, a matter of months. I want to be able to draw with more accuracy and speed, but that’s not going to be immediately perceptible. It’s going to happen in its own time while I keep up with my daily habit. In the meantime, I'm seeking to enjoy the individual sessions for how they make me feel, not just for the outcomes I wish to see.
Along those lines, it often feels like the stressors in my life are overwhelming and I want to do everything I can to take away my anxiety and fears. I do all of the things I know to do when I am overcome with negative emotion: Take my meds daily, exercise, practice mindfulness, get quality sleep, etc. but I’ve accepted that often it just takes time to get past challenging times or situations. I can be doing all of the right things, but emotional pain does not usually sink away down the drain with one relaxing bubble bath. It takes consistent care. I have to make peace with the pain in the meantime, and accept that eventually I will get past it.
So, I say this to be an encouragement to you. Maybe you’re going through something and you’re barely making it. I’m sure there are many of you out there experiencing pain I can’t even begin to comprehend. I know that you are strong, and it may not get better today, or tomorrow, or the next day. But if you keep trying to care for yourself (whatever way that may be), you will get through it. You are resilient.
It’s day two of trying to keep my resolutions for 2020. I’d like to start out by saying this:
For those of you who sent encouraging messages to me in response to my previous blog entry, thank you. It really means a lot to me that so many of you expressed care. It wasn’t necessarily my intent to garner sympathy but you guys were there for me, and I won’t soon forget your pep-talks (but I probably will eventually. That's just how memory works).
I do, however, want to emphasize that my goal with the last post was to fire me up to make the positive changes I’ve been contemplating making for a while now. I think it may have seemed like I might have been ignoring previous accomplishments or being too hard on myself. To that aspect, I will have to disagree, and you’re just going to have to trust me on this.
I am proud of the ways I’ve grown in the past decade. I’ve overcome some huge hurdles and I’ve become a person that I think is generally pretty cool. I’m simply ready to take on the next decade with fervor. I want to see what I can do going forward.
That being said, I have identified a few, specific steps/goals for the next year that I hope will keep that fire burning.
As you can see, I'm doing all I can to avoid wearing those squeaky, shiny, tan orthopedic shoes that you might find on the gnarled feet nearly every resident at any retirement community in the country. You know the ones...
Along those lines, I also purchased some new running shoes, and new sports-wear. There’s just something about a new sports bra that makes you want to jump up and kick-ass. Amiright ladies?
This is a big one for me. I’ve never done anything like it before so I’m a little nervous, but when I break it down, I don’t think it’s going to be too bad. In fact, I have a feeling its going to be a lot of fun!
I’m not saying I’ll be drawing a mega-masterpiece, magnum opus. I’m talking about just sketching. If I can do it in 30 seconds, it counts. Of course, I’d hope I can do more than just a 30 second drawing but the point is, developing consistency for my creativity. I believe this practice will enhance my drawing skills and make me a better artist. I’m also hoping it will lead me onto creating bigger and better things.
Now, what do I need from you? I am asking you to hold me accountable (unless you don’t care. If you don’t care, please just move along with your day). I’ll be posting my sketches to my Instagram daily, and I may occasionally post one or two here. If you notice that I have stopped posting them, feel free to pester me about it.
That’s right, I gave you permission to try and annoy me (notice how I didn’t say “harass”). Studies show that having accountability increases the likelihood of the person meeting their goals. So here I go you guys!
Here I am. Smiling. Hopeful. In Aruba for goodness sake! You'd never know there was an inner war going on in that head of mine.
In my last post, I briefly discussed some art goals for 2020. They’re pretty modest, and I think it’s because I’m legitimately doubtful I could handle anything all that challenging. Yes, fear of failure has crept back into my life and dug it’s claws into my psyche.
What does failure look like to me? It looks like being a joke. I don’t want to be the "wannabe" artist that I fear I am. People, especially in the Midwest, do not want to tell you how much you suck. We’re obsessed with being accommodating and kind. So, there is a significant part of me that wonders if any compliment I get on my work is just a fellow Hoosier being polite, when what they really want to say is, “Wow, I can’t believe you wasted all of that student loan money on something you really have no talent in.”
Failure for me looks like being easily winded and unable to live the active lifestyle I want to live. It means I have to spend hundreds of dollars buying another, larger wardrobe. And while I believe beauty is what lies in our hearts not in our jeans, I really don’t have the money to throw at Old Navy. And truly, in my specific case, I’ve let myself become lazy and ignore my physical health. It’s a very personal thing, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
And while I sit here snuggled in my new flannel sheets, dissatisfied with my 2019 decisions, I revisit an alternative version of me that exists in my imagination. This Angela, has a studio in a building with other local artists (not in her home) She gets to collaborate and forge real friendships with these people. Alternative Angela wears more black, has redder lipstick, and is always on top of bleaching or waxing her upper lip hair. She spends much more time creating and much less time eating mindlessly in front of her television. This version of Angela sells more work, shows and more prestigious exhibitions, and is self-assured that she has the mutual respect of her peers.
She exercises regularly and eats food that fuels her body and makes her feel good inside and out. She’s working to start her own business, a local art supply/framing shop. It will succeed; she’s not afraid that she doesn’t have enough money, or that a traditional brick and mortar store wouldn’t work in this economy. She’s well prepared. She’s going to make it work, and work well.
I sigh and glance up at the ceiling. How much of this fantasy is a possibility and how much is truly unrealistic? How much am I holding myself back from doing what needs to be done for me to live up to my potential?
Can I tell you the truth, the disappointing truth of it all?
I am my own greatest obstacle. While I’ve worked very hard to learn love myself, I don’t like myself very much at this moment.
Everyday I wake up and tell myself that I am going to do better than the day before. I am going to choose foods that well help me be able to lose some weight (yeah, controversial, I know), so that I can run, box, and garden to best of my ability. So that I put less of a strain on my feet, which after a summer of taking long walks in cheap flats (glorified pieces of cardboard surrounded by fabric) and gaining weight have created the perfect condition for me to develop plantar fasciitis. And yes, admitting this makes me feel so old. I feel more ancient admitting my feet hurt in the mornings than I did when I turned 30.
In addition to neglecting my physical health, I’ve completely pushed my artistic soul off to the back burner in my life, and it makes me sick (not like, ebola sick, more like the common cold sick, but still, unpleasant!). How will I ever progress as a creative, if I never make time for it anymore? Why have I let this stop being a priority? Time and time again I’ve complained to you on here about how I’ve lacked the discipline to get myself into my studio regularly.
The unfortunate matter at hand, is that not only have I neglected my art, but now I’m realizing that I’ve stopped challenging myself in more than my creativity. I’m not challenging myself physically. I’m not pushing myself professionally. The only thing I can think to do is to intervene in my habits before I steer this train straight off of a cliff.
Here’s what 2020 is going to mean for me. 2020 is a year for me to develop discipline once again. I’m going to commit to my art, my fitness, and my work in addition to my relationships. I am going to challenge myself to fight laziness tooth and nail, as long and as hard as it takes. I am better than this. I can do more than just settle into a life of coasting by, when I know I have it in me to excel. I want this year, this decade, to be the beginning of a renewed sense of self. I am going to do my best to live this life I’ve been given with the volume on max.
I'll end this entry with a photo of me from Summer 2010. Excited and also a little scared for what the future would hold. A time when of a lot healing and pain, but also a time of investing in myself. I'm hoping to grasp that energy, and channel it again into 2020.
Hold me to it, beautiful people.
Hello Loyal Readers,
Loyal you must be, if you’re still reading this. I always tell myself I’ll be better about posting consistently…but you know, life is what it is. It’s a process of gradually filling your calendar with more things: dinner with so-and-so, dermatologist appointment, holiday shopping, holiday cooking, filing taxes, and so on….until all of the sudden you realize you’ve become your mother (though it’s really not a bad thing in my case 😉)
Anyway, you don’t need the excuses. I’m here and I’m ready to spill some tea. Well, maybe not tea…I’m sharing some relatively tame info, so maybe you could say I’m spilling the…almond milk? Can that be a thing? Someone tells you a boring story, instead of “spilling the tea,” they’re “dripping the almond milk?”
Alright. I’m here to drip the almond milk, so get out your bounty paper towels, cause it’s gonna be sticky (oh, ew. What have I done?).
It’s the time of year where I obsess over my progress, or lack thereof, and start to ideate on what I should focus on for the coming year. That’s right, it’s resolution time, baby! I’ve mapped all of my resolutions out through my super awesome project management platform, SmartSheet.
Sidenote: SmartSheet rocks my world. I use it for practically everything now. Groceries (check), Christmas list (Check), RSVP lists (Check), and now resolutions. I’m addicted. I don’t know how I did anything before having it in my life. Not getting paid to say that, I just love the software.
I made a few creative resolutions:
I thought they seemed like fairly “smart” goals.
I’ve made quite a few gouache paintings over the past few months, but I’ve been neglecting my first love, Oil Painting. I’ve got a couple of incomplete paintings that are, I hate to admit, over a year old. I want to wrap those up in a shiny red bow and officially finish my work on them, anything additional to that I will happily take, but I want those two paintings to be a priority.
I just don’t like loose ends, you know. It feels sloppy.
Of course, I saw this adorable resolution list on Instagram the other day from @coco__glez:
Sigh, it completely dwarfs my piddly analytical list. I mean look at it! So adorable. And the goals, they’re fun. I especially like #1. What a clever idea to create work inspired by different books. Obviously, stylistically, this artist is very different…but that could be a really fun idea.
So here’s my question for you, If you would want to see me paint anything based on a book, which one would you choose, and why? I think this idea would bring some much needed creative-joy back into my work. I’d be interested in your suggestions.
At the end of they day, I need to find a way to feed my spirit in 2020. I mean, It’s important that I work on paying my student loans, and succeeding professionally but I can tell I’ve let my creative-self diminish and slither into the creepy/forbidden recesses of my mind where I keep my memories from middle school and my unyielding adoration of the power rangers.
Here’s to you 2019, you silly lil’ beeotch (I only wrote this to seem cool and relatable, like I haven’t lost my quirkiness to “the man,” but in actuality, I was to afraid to write the actual b-word because a). I don’t want my parents to be disappointed in me, and b). I like my job). You’ve been an interesting year.
P.S. Oh hey, If you are interested in seeing something REALLY cool. You should watch the airing of S12 Ep4 of “The Dead Files” on the Travel channel.
I’m not saying anything more about it; just watch it. Trust me 😉
Going into the summer, I felt worthless as an artist. I was burnt-out on making things and having them just stack up in my studio, taking up space and suffocating my creativity. I was getting sick of painting things no one seemed to want to purchase. Somehow, I let my fire go out.
February through May, I consistently made the choice to avoid sitting down in front of my easel. Boxes, old shirts, empty cans of sparkling water (my drug of choice), and all kinds of random things began to make their home in the corners of the studio. It was like I knew I didn't want to be in there, so I made it less comfortable.
In my teens and twenties, I didn't have this problem; I just made work I felt was satisfying in some way. I did it because it was fun and made me feel like I was giving something back to the universe. Youthful-20-something Angela created art to share, and if she sold something, it was just an added perk. She wanted to paint meaningful subject matter and pour her bleeding heart out into the world.
So, by the end of May, I was considering throwing in the towel on art. I had one commitment I had to honor, a three-month show in the Garfield Park Arts Center. After that, I was going to burn my collection of work in an angry bonfire while softly humming Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album. Okay, maybe not but ultimately, I was just going to try to get through the summer show and let my art take a back-seat in my life.
And then it all started to turn around. I made sales in my art show. shocking. More than I was anticipating. I was contacted about an opportunity that....I can't tell you guys about until sometime in December, but it was a wonderful experience AND it paid.
In addition to this financial success, I scrounged for some extra cash and went to my local money-hole: Michaels, to purchase some brand-new materials. A type of paint I'd never used before: Gouache. It's pronounced like "Gwash" (Rhymes with squash). This might have been the smartest decision I made all summer.
Let me tell you, I love this stuff. Painting with it has been like opening a door that I didn't even know about. The process is so fun and quick. I feel good painting with it, and even better with the end result. It re-lit the little flame in my heart for creating. As they say, boo-yah.
Not only that but you guys, Your interest in my work and continued encouragement keeps me going. Being an artist is not a simple/straight forward thing. I didn't just graduate from college and go to the art company for an art job with impressive benefits and a 401k. I can't trade a painting for an appointment to my gynecologist. I have to carve my own path in this world, and it can be burdensome and discouraging. Knowing I bring even a smidgeon of joy to your lives can sometimes be enough motivation to start on a new project.
(I cuss in the next part of this blog...sorry Mom).
Of course, I miss the days of college when I made shitty paintings I thought would be my "magnum opus," late into the night, while sipping latte's and listening to the Sleigh Bells with Melinda. I felt like I was so unique (bahahahaha!).
Art just came so easy back then. I don't know if it was the "blessing" of taking studio classes, and the regularity of the time I spent in the art building, or what...It's funny how memory works. I know I experienced anguish, heartbreak, and frustration just as I do now, but my heart only clings to the good times, and feeling like I was basically the best artist to ever live.
I miss feeling like God's gift to the art world. I laugh to myself writing that, but I was naïve and so full of bubbling potential I was convinced I could be the most celebrated artist on the planet...if I could just find an "in" or make it into a juried show. Hell, I guess it could still happen. I'm not dead...but it's also no longer my dream. Or perhaps, Critical Acclaim just isn't as important to me now.
I don't go around telling people I'm the reincarnation of Michaelangelo (just because my name is Angela Michele)...and yes. I used to do that, jokingly, but yes I did that. Cringe away.
My dream now, is to just be me. I will paint because it feels right. It makes me feel good.
So the good news is, I'm reinvigorated to create. I'm ready to pick up my brushes and make some new work for you. I'm reaching inside of me to find that young, hopeful, lil' artist gal and get excited again. Here's to that *clinks invisible glass*
Btw, I turned 30. GASP. So I guess my youth is gone. Long ago are the days of zero injuries, and skin-elasticity. Woe is me! Woe is me! *Cries into pillow*
Its been a while. Sorry I've flaked out on you. I hate it when I do this (I always do this), because how can I sum up activities for the past five months?
The artwork has been a little slower coming these past months. I think I bit off a little more than I could chew this summer when I had my portrait special. I was incredibly humbled to have had so many of you interested in my work. I had no idea how popular it would be. But wow, that created a lot of work for me!
I was committed to getting these drawings out to you, and at the same time, daunted by how many orders I'd racked in. This summer project took me a lot longer than I'd anticipated, and by the end of it, I'd realized I had no energy left over to make my own personal work.
Commission work is very important to me, and I take it seriously. However, in order to create quality work for the individuals who commission me, it is vital that I also have time to feed my soul with art I make just for me. This was something completely impossible to do with the amount of work I'd chosen to take on.
Since then, I finished one more commissioned piece and took a break from making work. I've been a bit burned out. It's caused me to reexamine how I take on commission work. Here's what I'm committed to doing going forward.
Outside of the commission world. I've recently had a First Friday show at New Day Craft. It was a huge encouragement for me to have friends and family come out in support. I even sold a piece on the opening night! Here's to hoping I sell more before the show ends at the end of the month.
If you'd like to stop by to see my work, make sure to support this wonderful local business by grabbing a tasty mead or cider before leaving. You won't regret it! They have these delicious new spritzers that taste like the fountain of youth (or so I'm told).
I've had at least one major change to my life in the past few months. I would love nothing more than to tell you all about it, but out of respect for the privacy to another individual involved I'm going to keep my lips zipped for now. Just know, I'm happy. :)
Over New Years Eve, I was able to visit one of my best friends, Amanda and so many other friends in Bradford Ontario. I brought in 2019 with a bit of a cold, but was still able to have a wonderful time with my all of my Canadian friends over delicious craft beers and fresh poutine.
My being able to enjoy myself, despite coughing incessantly is mostly thanks to Buckley's, an amazing cough medicine that tastes like liquified pine needles, melted-down cough drops, and lighter fluid. I drank a whole bottle like a drunken sailor because it works pretty damn well. In fact, I bought an extra bottle to have at home because stupid America doesn't sell it. We're too busy trying to build an idiotic wall.
I'm always shocked by how much happens in a year. January last year, I was a crumpled mess. I felt lost and frustrated but hoped the year ahead would bring a renewed joy. Well it did. In addition to all I've already mentioned, 2018 was the year I took responsibility for my mental health. To be completely transparent with you, I started speaking to a therapist, and have begun taking an anti-depressant.
I mention this despite being a bit self-conscience about it, because I think it is important for you to know that it has been such an incredible thing in my life and if you think it could help you at all, I would encourage you to look into it. I feel more like myself than I have in years. I feel more in touch with the Angela I was as a girl. It is a major relief.
So in 2019, my goals are to carry on taking care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and artistically. I want to create more art, and strengthen the artistic voice that's been hibernating the past few months.
Here goes nothing!
This video is weirdness, but I won't post it on the "Painting with Angela" page....because it's obviously not painting.
But it is creating, right? So...I mean...watch it if you want.
Before or while reading this post, play Where is my Mind, by: The Pixies
Someone recently advised me to practice mindfulness. As some one who is a self-described over analyzer, it seemed a bit like a joke.
Mindfulness? Really? I already live in my head all-the-time. I'm pretty sure that's my problem.
Apparently, Mindfulness is the opposite. I think I should have known that already.
"a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."
The concept seems great. Perfect. That's my problem, My head is always living in the past or planning for the future. Very rarely I catch myself simply experiencing each moment as it happens, but it seems like those moments have become less and less frequent as I've grown older.
Last night, for example, I was able to stop by a couple of fantastic First Friday Shows, Quantum Leap at the Harrison Center and No Authority by the incredibly talented Benny Sanders, at Cat Head Press. First Fridays are wonderful, and I love walking through exhibits and speaking with the artists. Except, last night I felt like my body was on autopilot and my mind was wandering through a maze of thoughts.
I could feel myself inside wanting to enjoy the free wine and be connected to the conversations I was having, but I couldn't let me out of my head. It was like I was trapped by my own insecurities as an artist, bogged down by fears of the future, and simply exhausted by it all.
This morning, as I drink my coffee and watch 2 Dope Queens on HBO, I'm starting to realize how much of my life I'm not living, because I'm constantly replaying previous experiences in my head, and allowing those experiences to cause me anxiety about the future.
Its weird, I always hated it when I'd hear people say things like "I'm just trying to live in the present," because it felt so fake to me me. Like, Duh. You're living in the present. We're here right now eating chips and guac. But now I've realized how much I live outside of my actual life.
I'm a little freaked out by it, and honestly intimidated by the task of trying to stop it.
How do I step away from this habit? How can I have a conversation with someone over beers and not be thinking about the last time I had a conversation with someone over beers? Or when am I going to be able to afford to fix my wheel on my car? Or will I ever fall in love? Or I wonder if I can get the stain out of my favorite shirt? It was stupid of me to drink that coffee too quickly. Or is my artwork actually crap, because I don't get the likes on instagram that I want, and I'm always struggling to get accepted to art shows? Do the other local artists think I'm a loser and they're just trying to be nice to me? Do they even know me at all? ...
Then I snap back into the conversation, and nod along not having actually listened to a thing the other person has said.
I'm realizing that many of the videos I put in my insta-story are more for me to remember than they were for me to experience.
So now, I have before me one of two choices:
I'm ready to attempt to be less judgmental of myself and what I feel at any given time. I'm going to attempt to pour my essence into as many PRESENT moments as possible, knowing that I won't be successful all the time but hoping that I can start to rewire how I think and feel.
This should be fun (just kidding it's going to be really hard). Throughout it all. I paint.
Here goes nothing,
Each morning I scramble two eggs. I pour a little bit of green-vegetable juice into a glass and dilute it to the brim with city water from my faucet; it’s something I picked up doing in Australia. It makes you feel less guilty about drinking sugary juice.
My coffee pot sputters and steams as it make the MY perfect cup of hot black coffee. I usually sip this throughout the morning while I do dishes and make my bed.
Sitting down for breakfast is brief these days, usually spent listening to a podcast like 1A or the Creative Pep Talk, and other days I simply sit down with my own thoughts to entertain myself (Scary, I know).
This week my thoughts have revolved around my favorite year. Do you have a favorite year of life? I’ve heard of people wanting to re-do particularly painful years (like my junior year of high school). However, I’m not here to talk about my most painful year. I’m here to talk about my favorite year.
2010: The year of the first iPad and the BP oil spill. It was a time when people still loved Justin Bieber.
I was in my early twenties in college and experienced some major changes. A late bloomer, I experienced my first French kiss at the end of my sophomore year and a swift heartbreak that followed finding out that this person was spreading the love with several other willing participants.
At the time, I was a little naïve and had never been in a situation like that before and so it crushed me (there’s a little more to this story, but it’s going to stay private). I can laugh about it all now, but at the time I didn’t believe I would recover from the loss; it all felt pretty hopeless.
When the semester ended, I spent a decent part of the summer running. Not running away from my feelings, I mean literally running, up to about 6 miles in the morning, and walking approximately 4+ miles each evening. I was only working a part-time job so moving around became a hobby. Month after month, I woke up, tied on my shoes, and ran.
It helped occupy my mind that summer and gave me confidence in myself. I began to see myself as a person who could accomplish things on my own, rather than on the defense, just reacting to the things happening to me.
In September of 2010, I left for the Trip of a Lifetime (as we called it): My university study abroad program (5 weeks on Australia’s Gold Coast, 5 Weeks in Queenstown, NZ and 3 Weeks all over Southeast Asia). At this point, only mildly sore from the heartbreak I’d experienced months previously, I was optimistic that I was about to experience something truly remarkable.
I created friendships with people I didn’t expect. I broke rules. I jumped into the lake. I got lost in Hanoi, then again in Tokyo. During this time I discovered my passion for art and immediately changed my major to painting. I let myself feel alive again.
I like to think I “leveled-up” that year. When I look back on 2010, I don’t think about my heartbreak. I really only see the good. I see my first experience with fancy Japanese toilets. I see myself sneaking down the street with a pupil, drinking Heinekens in brown bags, trying not to get caught by our instructors. I see us staying up late on a sheep farm playing truth-or-dare. I still hear the group of us harmonizing on the bus, making the driver cry because it was beautiful.
2010 was the year I pushed myself out of my, so called, comfort zone and into (cue Kenny Loggins) the danger zone. Even the aforementioned heartbreak was a good thing. I pushed myself to be vulnerable with someone, and while it didn’t work out how I’d hoped, it was rewarding to open myself up. I learned how to be hurt and how to take care of myself at the same time.
Since then, I’ve had quite a few life-changing experiences and collected a whole slew of heartbreaks. I’ve changed for the better in some ways and, in other ways, I’ve likely changed for the worse. However, I simply can’t think of a year that sums up the idea of “leveling-up” better than 2010.
Upon this reflection, I’ve begun thinking about how I can level-up this year. How can I push myself to be the best I can be, make my best art, throw my best boxing combination, and explore the best places I can afford? What can I do in order to be brave enough to be vulnerable again? Are there things I can do now to keep progressing and eventually look back with a new favorite year?
I’m not sure I have an answer but I do have the mindset and motivation I know I need. I’m going to put myself back into the (Cue Kenny Loggins again) Danger Zone. I’m going to try new things and meet new people. I’m going to care for my body and my spirit.
2018 is the year I level-up again. If you’re tuned in, expect good things and if you have any recommendations, I’ll take those below.
I've started this post several times without feeling very committed to it. It might be because I keep trying to write something that is true about myself and my own experience but I'm not really sure about what I'm experiencing these days.
I'll tell you what I know is true. The past 365 days have been difficult. I could list all of the things this year that have disappointed me, and if you know me personally, I'm sure you could quote them all yourself. I'm all too fond of maudlin (my new favorite word); I let it snake through my veins like a thick, unfiltered, honey. Eventually coating my lungs and escaping from my lips as grievances and protestations.
A friend once described me as, "a walking billboard," So, I'm sure you don't need to know my story, the good and the bad; it's written on everything I do, engrained on my every fingerprint.
So now I paint.
I paint, I write, I laugh, and I cry a little. I'm trying to let myself feel all of my emotions and then let them go, reminding myself that all feelings are here and then they're gone They're just gusts of wind off the lake at dawn, chilling, thrilling, and temporary.
Sometimes it seems like maybe I live in the wrong time or place, surrounded by people who've all come up with their own ideas about what part I play in the world or their world. Maybe it's an artist thing that I always feel like I've never clearly articulated what I want, and why I'm here.
I've never said all of the words I've intended to say. I've never quite got my point across.
Maybe it's just the human condition to never truly know yourself and that's why I paint and draw so many self-portraits; I'm still figuring it out.
Well, my most recent portrait gets a little bit closer to a sliver of what I wish I could say about myself.
Painted in only four hours. It felt good. It felt like the truth. My vulnerability.
This painting is a short story. You can tell yourself whatever you want about it. Draw your own conclusions, just as everyone tells themselves their own story about everyone else. But for me, it's nice to look at this painting and recognize a truth about myself and where I'm at, even if it's still a bit blurry.
I may sometimes find myself lost at sea, but I keep swimming.
Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.