Tag Archives: relationships

You don’t know where you are until it passes you by

tree of life, sketch, drawing, ink drawing, sketchbook, journal, art by jessica doyle

And you don’t know where you’ll end up until you take that leap of faith.

Last July life got a whole lot busier for me. I began working more at the City Market producing and selling art at the stall and Chris became a full-time parent overnight. Our lives changed instantly as Chris scrambled to find a way to look after his son while he was at work full-time. His son turned 12 shortly after and was then able to spend a few hours alone here and there so that helped.

It hit me hard. Chris went from sharing custody 50/50 with his ex to having his son full-time with no extra money, support or anything. It took a toll on our five month old relationship but it also opened it in another way and I got to see how wonderful this man really was. I also got to know his son better and saw how great of a kid he was.

While dating and single from 2007 to 2012, before Chris and I got together, I swore up and down not to date a man with children because of the experiences I had with them. These men were completely absent in their children’s lives or kept me a secret from their kids and/or their ex or were dating multiple women and lying about it. These things didn’t bode well for me as I wanted to someday have a child of my own and very much wanted an involved father in that child’s life.

So I began dating men without kids and usually these men were kids themselves who were more interested in their boats, bikes and pensions than in finding common ground to walk on together. I managed quite well to attract men who wanted no commitment.

I then quit smoking and quit drinking shortly after and began to see “I” was the reason for not attracting a quality man into my life. Well… half the reason… at least.

I’ve known Chris a long time… since I was 19… so 20 years… long… time. We grew up in the same neighborhood. He went out with a good friend of mine as a teenager. He was also a mutual friend of my ex-husband and I. I can remember sitting on the couch talking with Chris while my ex was engrossed in video games. I was never just Jessica. I was Andy’s girlfriend then wife… then ex. This all seems so long ago. A lifetime ago.

We all attended college together and Chris hung out with my ex at our apartment. We partied together but mostly I stayed home as I was sick a lot during college with Chron’s disease and physically could not handle the late nights and party’s. We all studied Graphic Design, surface design and illustration.

After Fredericton we both went our separate ways. Chris spent some time in Toronto and then had his son here in Saint John. He married and raised his two step-children and his own child. All the while I divorced and partied my ass off for five years in Saint John, Fredericton and Vancouver, perhaps making up for losing most of my twenties to severe illness and for marrying a man who didn’t share the same values and morals as I did. And there is no fault in that, it’s just the way the cards played out.

And now, 20 years later Chris and I find ourselves expecting a baby, dealing with extensive child custody and divorce issues, managing two homes, three cats and simply doing our best to keep healthy organic food on the table, the bills paid up-to-date and all the while we both are doing it sober.

Our life may seem mundane to some but it’s our life and the one we are choosing to live. Chris partied lots during his teens and early twenties while I got the partying out of my system in my late twenties and early thirties. And while I miss the parties on occasion, it’s a rather nostalgic feeling of been there done that, had fun and moving on now to the next stage of my life kind of feeling.

And I’m so grateful and lucky to have this man to share this stage of life with.

I love you Chris.

Be unique and wondrous at all times – drawing

drawing inside fabriano quadrato artist journal by jessica doyle

Ideally we’d all be unique and wondrous at all times. This, however, would be difficult to achieve and maintain.

As children we were so. But, as we grew into adulthood we were taught to let go of this wonder and form into lines one after the other as we proceeded to checkout. While we are unique, we are more the same than we really want to admit. It is only through actions that we render each other indifferent perhaps.

detail of drawing inside fabriano quadrato artist journal by jessica doyle

Maybe it comes down to being honest with what makes you tick with those you love, admire and trust.

The drawing above was created using Prismacolor Verithin coloured pencils and Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens inside a Fabriano Quadrato Artist Journal.

Want to support the artist who wrote this post? Go and buy some snazzy wall swag directly from her.

Taken by surprise or how it ended

something and nothing - relationship breakup- sadness - illustration by jessica doyle

When you make assumptions about something, especially someone, it can become hyperbolic to an enth degree that perhaps you don’t realize until well after the climax. It’s so easy to generalize and compartmentalize people’s actions and words into man-made stereotypes that we forget that none of us fit into them, nor should we fit into them. We may carry or display a few of the stereotypical characteristics but ultimately we are all at least a little bit unique in how we adapt to situations that arise that took us by surprise.

You kind of get to a point where you know you have to snap out of it and move forward and stop sobbing, pacing and begin eating properly again and get back into the game even with the broken heart. I didn’t realize it was a broken heart until this morning when I woke again with that familiar pang in my central chest that I haven’t felt in a very long time… years maybe?

And I feel so foolish and just don’t understand even what happened over the last few weeks… a complete 360º spun wildly for sure.

I’m well aware that some of you who are reading this know both myself and the man involved but here’s the thing I don’t have anything bad to say and that is why this hurts so much. It really shouldn’t hurt this much right? It’s just the timing is off right? We were not meant for each other right? The stars were not aligned right, right? The age gap was too big? He’s just not that into me right?

And here I’m thinking and asking myself why I keep attracting the same man over and over again and expecting a different result when in actual fact this person is not the same as my two long-term ex’s at all. While there are similarities it was the emotions I was experiencing while spending time with him that made me think he was similar to my ex’s when in actual fact this man was quite different.

It was exhilarating to spend the holidays with him at each of our respective households. We both were not working (on holiday) and kind of jumped head long into a whirlwind romance. Maybe it was just what we both needed? We could talk about anything, cook and eat food together and both enjoyed walking immensely. We had things in common but really we had much that wasn’t in common and that is what I enjoyed so much. He told me stories and sang to me while playing guitar while I drew in my sketchbook. He introduced me to his family and friends and he likewise met some of my people too.

And while I can pin point a few things that made our relationship end I really don’t understand why it ended but have resolved that it has indeed ended.

I’ve dated some men over the last few years in search of a long-term relationship and have experienced break-ups either of my own doing or of the man’s doing and I was always able to pick myself right back up and move on with no regrets. For God sakes… I’ve been eating chocolate for the last three days. I DO NOT eat chocolate ever. Chocolate bars have been known to go stale in my fridge.

This time… it’s not so easy to go back to online dating.

So how can one learn from this experience?

Throw everything you know out the window and just let yourself feel and be vulnerable to whatever is happening.

When we base attraction only on physical it can lead to being attracted to the same people over and over again and expecting different results. I think this is where people’s “types” come into play. Like always buying apples and hoping one apple will become an orange. Well, I met Mr. Clementine in mid-December and he was tasty. And then, my dating patterns and beliefs were smashed to smithereens which is a very good thing.

Yet, this whole experience is beyond bittersweet.

I miss him.

The illustration above is from the children’s book Every Someday that I illustrated a couple of years back. I have a few soft cover copies here in the studio. If you are interested in purchasing a signed edition get in touch and let me know.

Fish illustration and some thoughts in no particular order and why I give up…

chart, fish, drawing, illustration, jessica doyle, whismical, skatchebook, fabriano quadrato journal, pilot Gtec C4 pen, watercolour

Why is it that when you really like someone you get all crazy and can’t contain yourself and blurt out the wrong things and repeat yourself, asking the same questions over and over from sheer excitement because you do indeed like the man. These last few months have been nothing but extraordinary for me and I’m desperately trying to plant my feet on the ground again which over the last week has happened in a most intense and disastrous way.

I need downtime and traditionally January through to April have been the months when I steel the time to be alone or in one on one calm atmospheres to create, paint, write and choose to be home more often than not.

I’ve lost the ability to write openly and freely here on my blog because everyone knows about it now, especially here in my hometown, and I’m doing my best to come to terms with this and kicking myself for allowing said outside sources to dictate what I could and could not legitimately write about last year.

chart, fish, drawing, illustration, jessica doyle, whismical, skatchebook, fabriano quadrato journal, pilot Gtec C4 pen, watercolour

Have you ever found the honesty, respect, integrity and intimacy you’ve been searching for in a man only to have it hit you in the soul so blatantly hard that it makes you step back and go is this f#$%ing real? Then your wall falls down and you are so vulnerable and cold and shaking and needing warmth yet terrified to let someone else take control. And then they take control and you hurt and shake like nothing you have ever felt before because they choose to leave and do the opposite of what you hoped for?

I’m just over seven weeks smoke free #Quitsmoking um… yeah and ohhhhhhhhh so grateful that I stopped smoking for myself and for no one else or I’d likely be smoking again given the life circumstances that have arisen and that I seem to have found myself in and facing over the last seven weeks.

I haven’t been a man’s girlfriend in a very long time and I’d like to know what that feels like again for real. This isn’t really a finished blog post or even one that makes complete sense… but…

You should never trust so blindly or simply give up. Plain and simple… really?

Jessica Doyle sexy artist

I give up. And yes, giving up is a choice and this doesn’t mean that it’s a negative choice. It’s just a choice to change direction and reevaluate why doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is an exercise in futility.

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

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

The lure of online dating…

Artist Jessica Doyle

People seem to forget that on the other end of the email, convo, comment, message or blog, that there is a REAL human being with feelings. I’ve never encountered more asshattery since opening an account on a dating site in search of that special man.

I’ve been harassed, threatened and chased by men who don’t know their a$$ from their mouth. At one point one man had sent 40 emails in two days demanding to know my real name and where I live all the while professing his love for me stating that we are meant to be together and are soul mates. After a week of this from numerous men I finally located and learned to use the block button.

While, I have met a few nice men on the site who seem to be genuinely looking for a long term relationship I have yet to meet up with one of them in real life and I’m beginning to ask myself why? Continue reading

The good in becoming vulnerable

How do you deal with unwanted attention or attention that perhaps you didn’t expect to get from something you wrote, said, posted, tweeted, shared or facebooked for the sheer fun of it; basically because you could, because it’s your personal space to share and create on.

Getting sick and feeling awful certainly puts one’s life into perspective. It has a way of making you take stock of where you are, where you were and most importantly where you want to be once you do begin to feel better.

Do you count your blessings? Do you make yourself vulnerable to new friendships, new business initiatives or even romantic relationships or do you avoid them out of fear? Do you take risks or do you always walk on the damn line like everyone else and fit into the mold that society markets to you?

Something snapped inside in March after travelling to Fredericton. I haven’t been quite the same since. And that could be due to the Synthroid beginning to work and stabilize the hypothyroidism. Or, it could be that in being honest with and surrounding myself with people who inspire, share, challenge and grow with me rather than work against or hold me back, I’m growing as a person again. And this doesn’t mean that we agree all of the time… in fact it’s quite the opposite… it just means that we like each other and like the dreams we talk of. That Waitress Story is more important than ever.

I applied for a creation grant in early April. It was rejected three weeks ago.

I signed with an artist representative a few months back. I ended that relationship quite abruptly a few weeks ago after learning that all was not what it seemed to be.

I also turned down a part-time College level teaching job earlier this year after realizing during the uber-complicated negotiation process that we were not a good fit after all.

I am dating and realizing more and more what it is that I’m looking for and it’s not so simple or black and white as what is written on this list as many men seem to think from the sheer amount of emails I’ve received from them about it. Look, I don’t date men that I meet online anymore, well maybe…

All it really takes in life is a genuine smile and an outreached arm to dance. Actions speak much louder than words and it’s those actions that make a person back away or grab on and enjoy the ride.

Really, life is that simple and if you are not experiencing that then you must do everything you can and get off of that straight line and enjoy the bumps along the way.

Today I’m grateful for family and friends who while being kind and gentle are challenging me to break out of the shell that I slid into sometime last year.

Photo Credits: Andrew of Park Imagery

  1. Me and my beautiful friend of 20 years, Vikki (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
  2. Me and Vikki again (Fredericton, NB, Canada)
  3. Me hoola hopping with 50lbs of homemade hoops (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  4. Doing my best to keep those hoops spinning (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  5. My good friend Anne hooping (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  6. My good friend and roommate Andrew, hooping! (Quispamsis, NB, Canada)
  7. Harrison’s Dad, me and Harrison (Cambridge Narrows, NB, Canada)