Rejection is okay by me.

Becoming who you are

This is a pretty crappy camera phone snap of it, but you get the idea.

When we last checked in on our heroine, she was debating creating a piece of art for a local competition, on a Sunday afternoon no less.  The DAY BEFORE IT WAS DUE.  Even though she had been accepted to participated WEEKS ago.

I hemmed and hawed and then decided LATE that afternoon that I would do it.  The requirements were that we use recyclable items, so I decided to make butterflies out of paper towel rolls.  I decided that as with most good art, I’d tell a story on the canvas.  So, I created the dark grey boring-looking butterfly at the bottom right corner.  And then I created various layers with different designs – each row getting a little more zippier.  And finally a fully be-dazzled butterfly at the top.  I called it “Becoming Who You Are” and in the description I included with my entry I explained that we become who we are by trying different things on in life – evolving until we’re pretty comfortable in our skin.

It took several hours to make – I was up waaaaay into the night.  But it was so much fun seeing my idea come to life.

Still, when I was finished I wasn’t sure I was going to enter it into the competition.  I kept thinking how amateur it looked, how it was probably more crafty than fine-art, my butterfly bodies and antennae looked like black blobs, and so on and so on.

I got up after only just a few hours sleep to ask my husband to help me with prepping it for hanging – I had to use eyelets and wire and needed another set of hands.  The whole time I was telling him I wasn’t going to enter it.  We’ll have new art for the house!  we said.  I’ll put it in my office! I  said. 

I texted one of my besties (hi M!) and she quickly wrote back:  SUBMIT IT! Fine art is an interpretation, right? I think it’s beautiful! Do it! Nothing to lose!

Nothing to lose was right.  Except my humility if I bring it in and they laugh at me?  Would they laugh at me?

Then I got serious with myself.  Why did I go to all the trouble to seek out and get involved in my art community if I wasn’t going to follow through?

So, I took it.  And I was nervous and shaky and yet I still had fun talking to the gals who accepted my piece.  Okay, maybe I’d be alright.

AND THEN, they suggested I take a peek at the current exhibit.  As I started to walk around and look at the various art pieces, the voice got louder in my head:  “Oh nooooo.  You don’t have a chance, lady.  THIS is real art.”

When I got back in my car I decided to turn off that voice.  Instead I thought about how it’s only been A YEAR since I started pursuing arts and crafts.  A year.  Do I really expect that I have enough talent and skill to just walk in and right away be entered into a show?  No.  I have a long way to go, a lot to learn.  And that suddenly made me very excited – to think of all the various mediums that I have to research and choose from.  To learn, to play, to create….and yes, to even mess up.  It’s going to be a blast.

I won’t lie, though.  When I saw the list of artists accepted into the show and my name wasn’t on it, I did feel a little crush of sadness.  That’s to be expected.

But instead of being sad over it I’m choosing to look forward to all the fun I’m going to have learning and exploring.  And how proud I am for at least trying.  If I hadn’t, I would never know and I hate just WONDERING what would have happened.

I also learned in this experience that I really love art, and I love making pretty things.  And that my friends is an awesome feeling.

 

 

A Day in the Life

Last week for kicks I participated in a project that a few folks from around the world were doing on Instagram called “A Day in the Life”.  In short, we were to post pictures of our activities throughout the day.  At first I was a little bit nervous because when I looked at my schedule for the day that was chosen for the project, I had nothing exciting planned, other than a mountain of work to do.  I wondered if I should abort my schedule and go out and do something more exciting, but then I thought that wasn’t really true to what my day was really supposed to be like.  So, I did it just as is.

Wakey wakey.

Wakey wakey.

 

7:50 am | Coffee, please.

7:50 am | Coffee, please.

 

8:10 am | Planning day. It's going to be an easy one.

8:10 am | Planning day. It’s going to be an easy one.

 

4 shower

8:30 am | Shower, shampoo and shine.

 

5 housework

9:30 am | Housework

 

10:00 am | Barclay came over and replaced the light fixture in the master bath water closet. Embarrassing how long we went without a working light in there!

10:00 am | Barclay came over and replaced the light fixture in the master bath water closet. Embarrassing how long we went without a working light in there!

 

10:44 am | Worky work.

10:44 am | Worky work.

 

11:10 a.m. Neighbor little one tossed ball over to my yard, asked for it back.

11:10 a.m. Neighbor little one tossed ball over to my yard, asked for it back.

 

11:58 am | Lunchie munchie. Leftover spicy sausage and rice casserole.

11:58 am | Lunchie munchie. Leftover spicy sausage and rice casserole.

 

12:36 | Back to work.

12:36 | Back to work.

 

4:22 p.m. | Crafty time!

4:22 p.m. | Crafty time!

 

6:12 pm | Still crafting, but now with a cocktail as I sneeze, sneeze and sneeze some more from allergies.

6:12 pm | Still crafting, but now with a cocktail as I sneeze, sneeze and sneeze some more from allergies.

 

6:45 pm | Best part of day, Daddy coming home.

6:45 pm | Best part of day, Daddy coming home.

 

Korean BBQ for din-din.

Korean BBQ for din-din.

 

9:46 pm | Time for some Walking Dead.

9:46 pm | Time for some Walking Dead.

 

11:38 pm | Casey says, "good night, Mama!"

11:38 pm | Casey says, “good night, Mama!”

 

What I found with this project was that my “ordinary” Thursday was so much more than what I thought it was.  In these still captures of my day, I saw so much.  I saw my surroundings.  My belongings.  My loved ones.  My responsibilities.  My life.  It’s a good reminder that things aren’t too shabby.

 

What’s cookin’?

Kitchen

 

I’ve mentioned before that a few really positive things came out of my down-time of healing and self-discovery.   One was my new found passion for art, crafting and art journaling.

Another new-ish endeavor for me is cooking.  I think I sought after art and cooking because those were two things I always had a peripheral interest in but always found reasons not to delve in.  For one thing, I didn’t know how to do either and I was told in my younger years that I wouldn’t be good at them.  As I was looking back at what was causing my depression I realized that I had stuffed those beliefs way far down inside me and had been to afraid to pursue them.  I hid them with excuses like, “I’m too busy with my business” or “those things are for other people”.

Heck, when my husband and I first got married 19 years ago, and we were unpacking the new kitchen, he took a long look around and joked, “there’s going to be a lot of mistakes made in this kitchen!”  I knew he was kidding, but not too much – I really only had one or two dishes under my belt at the time.  1995 will forever be known as the year of baked chicken teriyaki, rice, and a can of corn.

When I started feeling better and venturing away from the television, I decided I’d start cooking a bit – mostly as a thank you to my husband for feeding us so many nights when I’d say “I just can’t”.  I started looking at recipes in magazines, and started honing in on easy-to-throw-together meals.  One pan meals were golden.  Two pans…we’re pushing it here!

Chick Orz Zucch

Herbed chicken (not baked!), orzo with an amazing red wine vinegar and olive oil drizzle, and zucchini.

 

As I’d make a meal, and my husband would dig in and compliment the food, I began to gain a little confidence.  I could do more than fire up a rice cooker and put a baking dish in the oven!  Happy days are here!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are approximately 80 trillion recipes on the world wide web.  Food blogs, recipes in online magazines, Pinterest, Facebook, they are everywhere and in the beginning I was very intimidated.

Yet, what I found when I was putting together a meal was that I enjoyed the process.  I enjoyed the time of focus.  The very act of making something for both of us to enjoy.  Something that I made.

Pork chops with cheesy grits and jammy tomatoes.  That's right, I said it:  jammy tomatoes.

Pork chops with cheesy grits and jammy tomatoes. That’s right, I said it: jammy tomatoes.

Once I started this cooking thing, my husband started expecting it more (ha!) and would often ask – first thing in the morning, mind you, sometimes before I’d even had my first cup of coffee – what we were going to have for dinner that night.  So I realized, it was time to start getting organized.

I began planning out our meals for the week along with our grocery shopping list.  I felt very grown up, indeed.

While it was a lot of work in the beginning – my recipe library was probably a whole 10 recipes at the time so I was constantly looking up new ones, it helped to be super organized.

Turkey spinach medley - a one pan meal with a delicious and surprising taste of citrus.

Turkey spinach medley – a one pan meal with a delicious and surprising taste of citrus.

For one thing, we only bought what we needed for the week, so we hardly had any waste – everything went to use.  Husband always knew what we were having for dinner because I’d have the weeks meals posted on the fridge.  And when dinner time was sneaking up on me I didn’t have to try to figure out what to slap together.

For fun-sies I started posting  my meal plan on Facebook, and soon friends were asking for recipes, so I started a blog called Dinners This Week in order to house all my plans and recipes.  I use the blog myself when I need to pull p a recipe in the kitchen.  One little fibby about the site though is even though I have the meals listed out per day, we don’t always eat them in that order.  I usually choose based on what sounds good or how much time I have that day to spend in the kitchen.

Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak, creamy mashed potatoes and FROZEN CORN INSTEAD OF CANNED (what? I like corn!)

I’m definitely no Emeril, but I am enjoying my time in the kitchen.  It’s actually FUN to cook (for the most part), I love it when I hit a home run and my husband enjoys my cooking (how 1950’s of me), and I love the confidence that comes with defeating that voice that once said “I can’t”.  I’m learning so much about myself.

It’s a nice, happy little high until….it’s time to do the dishes.

 

Playtime

A few really positive things have come from my down time aka my time of healing and discovery.

The biggest one is pretty obvious; I quit smoking.  That alone will probably go down as one of the biggest accomplishments of my lifetime.

The second was I developed a love for….creating things.  I don’t want to say art, because I don’t really think of myself as an artistic person – but I will say I’m creative and I enjoy the process of creating pretty things.  I just didn’t really know I could create pretty things.

I was always told I wasn’t good at art, that I shouldn’t pursue it, it wasn’t my thing.

But last fall I took my first ever art class and I made this:

My finale piece

It’s far from being a Picasso, but it was enough to make me have a tiny breakdown on our lunch break because I couldn’t believe I had created something that was pretty nice to look at.  Because again, I’d heard all these voices saying I couldn’t.

In November, I decided to look into art journaling – creating a small piece of art or something creative every day.   This is what my once-skinny art journal looks like today:

Journal

Some of my pages are pretty dumb looking.  I’m not saying that to sound all “poor me”, but I truly am not artistic, meaning I don’t know a lot of artistic techniques.  But what’s been fun is discovering what I DO like – colors, textures, word  play, etc.  I’ve found that I’m really drawn to collages and bright colors.

I just enrolled in a online watercolor class and I’m nervous as heck about it, but I hope it really livens up my pages.  I’ve made a goal for myself to learn 10 new art journaling techniques this year.

aj

I love my art journaling time.  I usually do it first thing, with my morning coffee.  Whereas I used to start my day staring at a TV while sipping my coffee and waiting to wake up, I now sit down right away, even with morning fog, and produce something.  There’s a sense of accomplishment with that kind of productivity and it usually sets a good tone for the rest of the day.

I’m hoping this is one positive from this experience that sticks with me for a long, long time.