It's 1991.... My mom is corralling me and my siblings trying to get us ready to head out the door.
Being only 4, mom comes up to my little bedroom and starts helping me pick out what clothes to wear. As I see what she's laying out for me, something CLICKS.
"No." I say with fresh 4 year old attitude. "I don't want to wear that."
My ever-patient mom looks at me and asks, "Well, what would you like to wear?"
This was it. My first invitation to dive in and express my budding creativity.
Challenge accepted, Mom!
A few minutes later, I make my descent down the stairs to showcase my following fashion creation:
(The key is layering)
As I appeared, my sweet mom surveyed my creation and without skipping a beat said, "Well don't you look nice! Ok, let's go!"
And just like that, I experienced what it was like to express myself with visual art.
Thanks Mom for always encouraging my creativity instead of stifling it. And of course, for always putting up with my 4 year-old sass even to this day ;)
Porter in Place has come and gone and I am VERY grateful for the experience! One, it has been a dream of mine for years to be associated with Porter Flea as a vendor and that has finally come true. Cheers to a dream coming true! 🥂And two, honestly online exposure is WHAT👏I👏NEED👏 right now anyway. Even though I of course would've loved to have met people in person at a booth, it seems that online interaction is becoming just as palpable (almost). No really, I met so many great people and am already feeling that amazing sense of community :).
So... let's be honest now. After Porter in Place... I felt depressed. I had been looking forward to that event for so long and then suddenly it came and went! I found myself twiddling my thumbs (in between packing orders) wondering what was next? It's hard generating your own "what's next?"
It's hard generating your own "what's next?"
I would love for those to be laid out for me someday but right now, it's part of the ever-present hustle. So as I was sulking and coming off my Porter Flea high I remembered a quote, and I wish for the life of me I could remember where I first read it, but it's a moment where you commit to something even though you're not ready for it and it's called a "throw your hat over the fence" moment. Meaning you tossed your hat over the fence (that was easy) now, you have to go get it (not so easy, but you're committed). Porter Flea was that for me. I was a newbie and had (still have) so much to learn but I was committed to an endeavor. I need my next hat-over-fence plan.
I've applied for another virtual market, so we'll see if that pans out, but whether is does or doesn't I'll always need to be ready to plan that next "thing". So, here's to my next hat-over-the-fence moment! Let's hope I get my hat back ;)
This year has been a bit relentless to say the least 😂 I'm learning to not cling too tightly to plans or good news, which sounds incredibly depressing but I would assume that most people reading this would agree and understand what I mean. This year has been rough! And the curveballs are never-ending.
All that build-up to say, Porter Flea (the Summer Market I've been looking forward to) has been cancelled due to COVID-19 😩. Though I'm so very glad they are taking our situation seriously, and I agree it was the right call, I still can't help but be disappointed.
It's officially been one month since I moved. I cannot believe how quickly time has flown... My time in Sparta so far has been altogether productive, relaxing and motivating.
I set up my new studio space and have honestly been loving it. I thought for sure that I couldn't beat the coziness factor of my little closet studio in my apartment, but I was wrong. Mom and Dad have graciously allowed me to completely take over their sun porch. It's exactly that too, a beautiful little sun room that my cats love and was my original play room aka "studio". Please see photo below of fuzzy haired baby Ellen living her best left-handed, coloring book, nightgown life.
I love this picture. I've had it sitting on my studio desk everywhere I've moved for as long as I can remember. It reminds me that I've had this deep rooted desire to create instilled in me as long as I've been around. It's comforting and assuring that I'm following the right path.
When I've not been in my new studio painting or working my part-time hours at my job, I've been taking it pretty easy and actually allowing myself to rest. I know this is a very pivotal time for me and I have lots to do to prep for whatever my next season is, but a girl can pretend she has a Summer break once again! It feels like I've come back from a verrrry long semester away at school or something and now it's my Summer before the next school year starts up.
All that to say, poolside lounge time has been an absolute must. Though, it did take some work to get it operational and open for the season, and after my dad fell through the deck (true story) we decided a few patch jobs were in order. This is where I got to play with power tools! And I loved every second :)
So after one month in, and I have to say, I'm a very lucky girl. It's not always perfect, but I plan to cherish this season once again at home with my parents. One of the most exciting things that's happened since I moved in though, was receiving my acceptance email letting me know I'm going to be a vendor for the first time at Porter Flea!!
For those that don't know, Porter Flea is an AMAZING modern handmade market. The market is curated and vendors are hand picked for their work, quality, following, etc... I actually applied a few years before but didn't get in, so I really had no idea what to expect this time around. Needless to say, I did quite the little happy dance when I found out :) It's August 7th & 8th and I've got a LOT of prep work to do, but I couldn't be more excited to dive in.
Life is still coconuts... but it's all good.
Well I did it! No... WE did it. There's absolutely no way my move would've been possible without all the help of my friends and family. Who to thank:
Even my tears in my apartment as I said goodbye were of gratitude. That place was so healing and so pivotal for me. I discovered and embraced a whole new side of me. I felt my creativity blossom and flourish there. I felt a spike in my professional confidence as I was promoted from one creative role to another. I felt independent and free. I've learned A LOT about myself there and I know those lessons won't dissipate based on my location. I will carry them with wherever I go, and for that I am so so very grateful.
Didn't mean to leave on such a "cliffhanger" for so long. Good news! No Covid-19 for me! I got my phone call that it was negative. And for all those wondering.... my chest doesn't hurt anymore, which makes me think it was either stress related or just seasonal asthma which is apparently a thing! Either way I have a dr. apt to figure out what's going on. It's no fun getting older. Lol!
So let me seamlessly segue into another bit of news. I'm moving! HA! Seriously my life is coconuts right now. Honestly, I know I'm eligible for unemployment assistance, and I know my job has every intention of bringing me back full time, but the smartest move I can make right now is to minimize my bills as much as possible and right now the biggest bill I pay is monthly rent.
You have NO idea how bummed this makes me. I seriously LOVE my apartment. It's featured in my About Me section on my site because my home is such a big piece of who I am. However, I know me, and I KNOW I can make a cozy home wherever I am. I'm also seriously bummed to say goodbye to Nashville 😭😭😭. This city has been home for the past 10 years and I can't believe I won't be a Nashvillian anymore. ☹️ But I won't be too far...
The plan is to move back home with Mom and Dad to my hometown, Sparta, TN!!!
Spartans love: Lester Flatt, Church, El Tapatio, Bluegrass, High School Football (Go Warriors!), our Drive-In Theatre, and Liberty Square celebrations.
Ok, so it's actually pretty cute right? It's definitely a small rural town, but I have to say I love it. It's going to be a major adjustment for me but I am SO grateful to have parents that are willing to take me back in. Actually, tbh, they're super stoked. ;)
So, yeah, I am moving out at the end of this month.
Ohhhh my goodness. Things are crazy, but I'm not freaking out.... yet. I realized this morning on my walk that my life seems to run in 4 year life-changing cycles. Every 4 years since 2008 something really drastic has happened and changed my life.
Wow... it is AMAZING to me... that just a few days after writing my very first blog post about embracing an imperfect life that I've been thrown a major curveball. Two curveballs actually! Let's go back, 24 hours ago.... (harp music plays as we flashback)
Yesterday morning (May 6, 2020). I wake up.... my chest is tight and hurting like it had been days before. I decide I'm going to go get tested for COVID-19. My symptoms could be a myriad of things, but since we ARE in the middle of pandemic I decided it's better to be safe than sorry. So I get ready for the day and hop online to message my boss that I will be offline for a couple hours and told her why. Minutes later she calls.... along with my boss's boss. LOL one part of me was like "Whoa! This escalated quickly! They really care!" (which they do!). They asked about my symptoms and going to get tested n such.... then after a brief pause I hear the "Well, there's no easy way to say this." haha. SO I knew immediately what that meant.
Basically my company, just like many others right now, isn't doing so hot and they had to let go of a bunch of people and reduce a ton of hours. I work in Marketing as the Creative Director for this company, and unfortunately there's just not a lot of marketing and selling happening out there right now. So my hours have been drastically cut. From full time to 12 hours to be exact!! Y'ouch! This happened, mind you, as I was literally packing up to go get tested for the Coronavirus!! LOL oh man my life...
I literally can't stop laughing about it and that may sound weird and so disconnected like I'm in denial, but honestly? I think something inside me was already preparing me for this. I mean I literally just wrote about embracing a Wabi Sabi lifestyle, where things are GOING to be imperfect. If you look up Wabi Sabi art, you'll commonly see a rustic pot that had a crack running through it that has been beautifully filled in with gold leafing. I imagine me as a a little rustic pot right now, except i'm currently laying on the floor still split apart. LOL haven't made it to the gold leafing part yet, BUT I'll get there!
I'm very grateful to have so many people in my life that support me. Even sending me food and alcohol yesterday!! (That's my kinda people). They've also been offering comfort through words. One of the go-to's seems to be,
When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window" Said in best Julie Andrews voice...
This is what I picture when I hear that. 😂😂😂
Except maybe more so thrown out than voluntarily jumping through...
Haha oh man.... things are going to be OK though! I've already made a to-do list which helps me break things down so I don't get overwhelmed. I'm going to start cracking on that and just take it a day at a time! Should know my test results in a couple days, so I will just keep laying low till then. I don't feel defeated, I know this is the beginning of something new as well as the end of my current season and even home I'm in. It's definitely a weird combination to feel sad and excited at the same time, but that's where I'm at!
So, let me start this off by saying. I am not a blogger... or well I guess I technically am now, though I've never been one before. I have zero expectations for this blog, other than to use it as an exercise in articulating myself and as practice in "putting myself out there".
Maybe it's the pandemic and end of the world as we know it that has spurred me on, but I've recently felt this... pull... to not hold myself back any longer. I imagine it sounds a lot like the voice that sings to Elsa in Frozen 2! lol. Like many other creatives out there, I tend to be the only one in my own way. Whether that's painting, writing, socializing, emoting, sharing, etc... the list goes on and on. I'm the one that holds myself back, no one else.
Recently, I had a chance to open up to someone that I've had feelings for for a very long time. Long story short, the feelings weren't mutual. LOL, but that's ok! I was bummed, of course, but after a good cry I feel nothing but overwhelmingly proud of myself for truly representing ME and voicing my feelings. It's an amazing feeling! And it got me thinking, what would it look like if I applied this same authenticity into every aspect of my life? The quote on my homepage is,
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. - Henry Van Dyke
I have loved this quote for most of my life, yet I feel like I've lived most of it as a quiet little bird. I know I am creative, I know I'm driven to learn and keep improving, I know I'm not the best but I know I'm worth putting myself out there. So, here we are! Giving this (along with many other new endeavors) a go!
Being authentic is messy and hard and might even open up more doors with more messes hidden, but I'm ready to tackle this Spring cleaning. The Japanese have a term for finding beauty in imperfections, it's called Wabi Sabi. And the basic principle is to accept your imperfections and make the most of life. So here we go, and let's see where this Wabi Sabi life takes me! Or better yet, where I take it! ;)