Category Archives: emotions

Personal Empowerment (and Kicking Ass)

A Confident Stride

A couple of years ago, as I approached a new decade, I decided that I was no longer going to be bashful in my 30s. To me this meant developing the strength I knew was there, and blossoming into the perpetual self-confidence I felt I deserved but never embraced. Why shouldn’t I? I was young, healthy, smart. I had good ideas, and with a little hard work, a great future.

Suffice it to say, now in my 30s, this is still an ongoing struggle.

So what’s the problem? What I didn’t know in my 20s is that being confident is a verb, an action. It’s not a feeling that floats around inside you. Doing the things of a confident person is what makes you confident. You have to do first, feel later. You cannot sit around waiting for confidence to find you, or blame the lack of it on your inability to accomplish tasks. The years continue on around us regardless of whether or not we feel confident enough to participate. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Continue reading

You Can’t Handle The Truth

Happiness is a Beach in Kauai

So I’ve learned something.

I went to Kauai to find answers, not really even knowing what my questions were, but feeling like there was something I was missing that I needed to find. Or maybe I needed to be found. One of those. I don’t know.

I wait for answers too often. If I want something to happen, I assume things are simply going to work out, eventually. Someone or something will swoop in with neon signs and arrows showing me every step of the way. 

But clearly, for awhile now, I’ve been unhappy. I’ve felt unsettled and awkward, almost like I was intentionally avoiding something. And for the first few days in Kauai, I wasn’t settled either. I was thrilled to be there, of course, but I felt a little like I was phoning it in. The truth was, I was starting to panic. What if I didn’t find answers here? WHAT IF THERE WERE NO ANSWERS?! Gack. Continue reading

Renewal

Cleansing Rain

Relaxation doesn’t come easy for me, if at all. I’ve battled severe insomnia since I was a child. I’ve always had difficulty shutting off my brain. Over the years, I’ve developed pretty good skills at hiding it from the outside world, but internally I’m usually worrying over something. I like to drum up things to fret about if otherwise there’s nothing.

Working for myself is both a trigger and a relief in this regard. Since I’m obsessing over details anyway, I might as well direct that energy toward my own business. I work excellently on my own. I don’t need anyone to point out all the various nuances of business that I should be watching. (Even if I’m conversely too lazy to take action on them.)

Occasionally I must take drastic measures and run away somewhere. Travel is my drug of choice lately. It’s the only thing I find just as exciting as art. Sometimes more so. Sometimes it’s exactly what I need to inspire me to do more art. Often, while I’m gone, I still try to work. I answer emails, renew listings, send out invoices, keep everything moving along.

I think I’m afraid to let go. Continue reading

The timing is off and someday soon it will turn on

handpainted wooden beads by artist jessica doyle

In life we either get it right or we don’t as there really isn’t an in between nether world that we can climb into when things aren’t going the way we want them to. However, I tend to crawl into that purgatorial space when the creative bug hits and begin drawing the creatures that float around in it, in an attempt to make sense of what was, what is and what could be or write, right here, on the blog.

And it isn’t that things are going bad right now, they are however at a stand still of sorts and testing the limits with the timing being off and locating the on switch seems to be out of reach and dangling in front of my fingertips. I have to laugh at that because what else am I to do when it comes to men?

I decided to put my online dating profile to rest a couple of weeks ago and haven’t logged in since. I’d much rather meet a man in real life and talk with them face to face as between both Facebook and Plenty of Fish the men I’ve met through those sites are not what they make themselves out to be.

There was the man who after five or six painful dates simply couldn’t say more than “Well, uh”, “What do you want to do?”, “I’ll have whatever you are having” or “Whatever you want to watch is good with me”. Conversation was extremely painful and the thumb rubbing and clenched jaw and darting eyes and feel sorry for me look on his face at all times made me want to silently scream. I’m sorry, but always agreeing with me on everything is a complete turn-off. He was not man enough for me. But this next guy was too much man… Continue reading

Why I Hate ‘Work of Art’ (and why I watch it)

Fingerprint of Inspiration

If you’re not familiar, ‘Work of Art’ is a reality TV show on Bravo about artists, in the same vein as Project Runway. Artists with different styles and backgrounds compete against each other toward one last battle, the prize being money and an official show in a fancy art place, displaying all the crap they made over the course of the season.

Each episode presents a new “challenge,” or theme, to inspire the artists to make a piece of art that will be judged against all the rest, after a time limit of one day in which to conceptualize, create, and finish their art. It has to be unique, innovative, something that passes the approval of “qualified” judges, and must never be too reminiscent of their own style or in any way similar to what they made last week.

It’s not much different than pulling in ten random people off the street, throwing them into a craft store for 20 minutes, and then demanding they produce genius art in a day.

This is not a venue in which these artists are allowed to display their lifetime of creativity, the progress in their own careers, or their unique fingerprint of inspiration. It’s a pressure-filled war zone where they are emotionally blindfolded, dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and told to build epic cathedrals out of popsicle sticks. Their reward is a harsh critique from some dude who owns a gallery in New York and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Sarah Jessica Parker will grace them with her presence. Continue reading

Art Frenemies

Perspective is everything.

Lately I’ve been pondering the relationships artists have with other artists.

I think in some ways, there’s this mistaken dream that artists all gather collectively the way we imagine it was done in 1920’s Paris; a utopia of sorts for artists to mingle, support, and commiserate with each other.

A scene from the movie Midnight in Paris:

Gil: I would like you to read my novel and get your opinion.
Ernest Hemingway: I hate it.
Gil: You haven’t even read it yet.
Ernest Hemingway: If it’s bad, I’ll hate it. If it’s good, then I’ll be envious and hate it even more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.

Well put.

Online, I’ve been fortunate to connect with many artists, mostly visual artists, but artists of other genres as well. Perhaps it’s the distance between us, the safe barrier of computer screens shielding us from the snickering, eye-rolling, and snide comments we’ve experienced in real life. Maybe it’s the sense that we share a common bond, not only of marketing ourselves as a business online, but also a common lack of artist-to-artist relationships in the real world.

Or, maybe we just have a wider audience in which to find people we truly click with.

In real life, at least for me personally, I find an odd, awkward distance in communication between myself and other artists. For whatever reason, conveniently, my real-life artist friends are the least likely to comment on my Facebook updates, acknowledge anything about my life, or ask how I’m doing when they see me. Continue reading

Loneliness – The Burden of Artists

The Lonesome Road of Artists

Don’t get me wrong — Being a self-employed artist is absolutely the most rewarding and fascinating journey I have ever undertaken. It lights my soul on fire and makes me happier than I ever thought possible. I feel empowered and capable. I absolutely love getting up every morning. I adore my job.

That doesn’t make it any less lonely though.

I’m not talking about the hermit-like lifestyle I lead all day, every day, in order to get work done. I’m talking about the absence of true connection with other people who don’t pursue goals in the same manner.

I’ve met many people who work 9-to-5’s and generally assume that I work very little, and that my daily life consists of TV, napping, and leisure. Somehow, amidst this life of endless stasis, my artwork, marketing, and writings burst forth into the universe simply because I think them into existence.

Whenever I achieve something I’ve been working towards, someone inevitably comments about how “lucky” I am. Ha. Continue reading

Finding passion without becoming addicted or why six years on it’s not any easier

2012 calendar desktop monsters handmade aliens pretty whimsical etsy

I wrote this blog post earlier this year in May but hadn’t published it. This seems to be a common occurrence as I write a lot but don’t publish them. And with 95 blog post drafts sitting anxiously I thought well, now is the time to edit and publish. Anyhow, I recently celebrated six years sobriety of off hard drugs on August 26th so while perusing the drafts I re-read this one and thought it appropriate to share with you.

For the last six years I’ve been searching for something that doesn’t exist. A something that perhaps exists in everyday life but doesn’t exist in the nether regions of one’s psyche. One can never return to the past nor can they return to the future.

While I may think of chemical drugs almost everyday I know that if I consume them it would spell the death of me as I’d fall so far down the rabbit hole that I would not return as the drug means more to me than life itself and more than everyone and everything else in this world. I knew this, and understood this, when cleaning up from addiction in 2005.

And I miss the freedom of living in a larger urban center and of being free to not wear a bra and being free to not look like the rest of the population surrounding me. While it seems tuff at times to live in a small town… yes, Saint John is a small town even though it is officially declared a city… it is still a small town by modern standards; and a very conservative small town at that. And to see fashions that were in style in Vancouver in 2007 rearing there head here right now is mind boggling as it’s nuts to think that it takes four to five years for fashions to make their way from West to East.

I was talking with my cousin a few days ago who is four years older than I. We are both relatively single and do not have children. We are also both self employed and creative although her creativity is a hobby while mine is my main source of income.

I can remember at age 12 or 13 visiting with her and her showing me the many drawings that she drew and being inspired by them. I don’t know if you know that Rochelle. But I’ll never forget the amazing ink drawings you rendered as a teenager and how you told me to keep drawing even when I didn’t feel like it while we stood in your bedroom. I’m fortunate to have had people in my life who inspired me creatively at a very early and tender age.

As I near middle age now, I wonder if this is how it’s supposed to be. While I don’t enjoy being single, I do long for savageness and wild abandon. I miss it to be honest. I feel repressed here in Saint John and while I have sex on very rare occasions, I do miss the damn connection that comes when you finally meet the right person. I’m sick and tired of dating. And this isn’t to say that I’m looking to lay just anybody. I’m not addicted to sex but I am human and I hunger for physical contact but MUCH more than that I want a life long commitment with someone.

I may never have children and that is not okay. So six years on it’s not any easier. And that is the truth people about addiction. It never goes away, but you can use it to your advantage and work with it, molding it into inspiration to continue living and striving for the life you want.

Handmade by me 2012 Desk and Wall Calendars are listed and ready to ship in the art shop now. Pictured above are the 12 months from the desk calendar.