Reflections for a new year

Have you ever had a theme word for the year? I’ve experimented with having one in the past, but I’ve never fully embraced the idea. This year is different, though. 2016 was a year of simmering. Lots of ideas, notions, connections… all simmering in the pot… waiting. 2017 is the year I want to put the pedal to the metal and lurch- full steam- ahead.

I’ve been reflecting the last several months about what this means, and I always come back to the same thing: being seen. Stepping into vulnerability, and truly letting the world see me for who I am. I’ve been told over and over (especially from people I’ve met online via blogs, classes, and Instagram) how different I am when they meet me in person. When I enter a new situation, I spend time carefully examining all the parts and players before springing to action. (It’s the INFP in me.) In real life situations, this serves me well, as I’m able to get to the meat of relationships and situations pretty quickly. But let’s face it- it’s also a defense mechanism so I don’t ever have to truly expose myself to vulnerability until I can see where all the chess pieces lie. It sounds calculating, but honestly, it’s not. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was doing this until this year when I learned more about my personality type.

Here’s the deal, though- I’m sick of it. Opening up, being vulnerable- it’s a hard thing for me. But often, when I do the work and show up and step into that tender place, I’m rewarded beyond measure.

Which brings me back to my word for 2017: SEEN

Embracing “Seen” is going to mean making some changes with this space. In the 7+ years, I've had this site, I've never really been able to figure out what to do with it. When I started, it was a place to house my design portfolio, and then later a place to showcase work I wanted to license with manufacturers. The blog portion was always an add-on- something I thought I should be doing. I never really put my whole heart into it, because it just didn't "fit" with the design/art/illustration work I was doing. Additionally, I haven’t updated my portfolio section in ages, because my days are now filled with high-level creative strategy work that I do for the agency I work with. (Work that I find WAY more creatively fulfilling than graphic design projects, BTW.)

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After much reflection, I’ve realized that the thing I’m putting the least effort into (blog content), is the thing that I enjoy the most here. I’m in effortless creative flow when I take the time to create and share content. I adore being an art director and creative strategist for my “day job.” I love photography- both working with photographers and developing my own skills. I’m at my best when I explore new things and then share what I’ve found.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already noticed a shift. Documenting and sharing a more robust version of my life there was a conscious decision to scratch a specific creative itch.

It hasn’t been an easy shift though. My engagement has gone down, and I’ve lost followers. I stopped sharing for almost 2 months because of it. But then I decided I didn’t give a shit. I wanted to be SEEN. I didn’t want to pretend anymore. Am I an artist? Sure, in my own way. But that’s not the whole story- in fact, it’s roughly about 2% of the story. At least in the way that I was sharing it on Instagram. And I’m confident that over time my engagement and following will blossom as I offer a more authentic story.

My “art” is so much more than pen and paint on paper. It’s decorating, it’s fashion, it’s cooking, it’s clean living, it’s crafting. It’s conducting life experiments. And I want this space to reflect that. I want this space to expand to embrace all of what makes me a creative being.

Friends joke that after hanging out with me they go home with long lists of books to read and blogs to check out. When I fall in love with a subject, I dive head first into research mode and go straight down the rabbit hole. And then I enthusiastically share everything I’ve learned with anyone who will listen. It’s time  to do that here too! And, on a personal level, I’ve been on a health journey for the past 7-8 years, and there are parts of my soul SCREAMING to share what I’ve learned. I’ve flirted occasionally with this subject, but it’s high time to let those voices loose.

I've been creating content for brands in one-way shape or form for almost 15 years now, but it's always been behind the scenes through my work with design agencies. I've never put the same effort and joy into creating content for myself just for the fun of it. Is it because all along I’ve been afraid to be seen? Maybe.. But this year is the year I conquer that fear and charge forward. I can’t wait to see what comes of it, and I can’t wait to bring others (and you) along for the ride.

Stay tuned.

{images via my Instagram}