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Healing my core wounds & learning to love and trust myself through therapy, coaching, and shadow work #
Committing myself to therapy has been the defining moment of 2021. Talking through tough situations with a trusted professional has made me feel much more calm, open, and grounded.
I do experience resistance to these appointments, even after eleven months. I tell myself that I've talked it all through already, and isn't is incredibly self-centered to sit and talk about myself for an hour every week?! I heard a quote recently that went something like, "I've never felt more open to giving generously to friends, family, and community than after talking about myself for an hour in therapy." This is how I feel too. Therapy gives me a healthy outlet to work through anxiety and sadness, making it easier to show up for my loved ones.
The Artist's Way #
I completed the twelve-week Artist's Way program in October, which includes a lot of healing inner-child activities and thoughtful reflection questions for journaling. I wrote a really long post about my experience working through The Artist's Way so I won't go into too much detail here, but this experience definitely helped me work through some core emotional wounds that have been holding me back.
Career coaching #
In August I hired a career coach, Lindsay Parker, to help me navigate a path that integrates my software engineering background with my desire to focus on more artistic endeavors. Really this felt like an extension of my weekly therapy appointments, with a focus in the career part of my life. I met with Lindsay for four sessions, each week working on keeping small promises to myself, building trust with myself to do the things that are important to me.
Ultimately, I crafted a simple career plan that allows space for serendipity and opportunity. Right now, I am happy with writing code being main source of income as I build my artistic practice.
All of these methodologies have helped me to feel safer in being seen, which has made it easier for me to share my journey through writing, art, and videos #
Sometime in September I started writing again. I updated blog posts and wrote new ones. I re-launched and re-branded my newsletter, Gradient Mesh. In November I started experimenting with creating YouTube videos, which has been another creative outlet that I'd like to continue in the new year.
Being a highly sensitive person #
This year I've admitted to myself that I'm a highly sensitive person. This might sound kind of silly and woo-woo, but whatever! I'm sensitive to social media. I'm sensitive to alcohol. I'm sensitive to offhand comments. I'm sensitive to loud noises and too much stimuli. I feel deeply and think a lot. Thus, I am learning to set a lot of boundaries in order to not become completely overwhelmed in life.
Launched a small Kickstarter with sticker designs & opened an Etsy store #
A fun little project I launched in January finally has a permanent home on my Etsy store! All profits from the Kickstarter were donated to Casa Ruby, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ people of color and immigrants in the Washington DC area.
Got a new job #
A big change! I left my job at Descartes Labs and started working as a Frontend Software Engineer at the New York Public Library. My mom instilled in me a love for libraries at a very young age, so this is kinda my dream job 😍 It has been great thus far. At the NYPL we have 35-hour work weeks, which means I have more time for hobbies and leisure. Proud to say that I've gotten so much better at cooking!
Decided to move to NYC in 2022 #
This decision was motivated by the fact that I got a job located in NYC, but also by the desire to shake things up and move out of New Mexico. I've lived in Albuquerque my entire life, and I know somewhere deep down that I need to leave in order to gain perspective and have new experiences.
(Shoutout to my friend Winston for suggesting the move to the Big City and supporting me along the way.)
Took a break from social media #
This was a sudden decision that ended up being really transformational. On October 5 (I think I was deep into The Artist's Way), I logged out of all my social media accounts and deleted the apps of my phone. I was frustrated by how much time I spent scrolling, when I knew there was more important work for me to be doing. I decided to spend the last few months of the year building my artistic practice. I've been making art for at least 15 minutes a day for several weeks now, completing studies, experiments, and making more art than I've made in the past 10 years combined.
Looking forward to 2022 #
I made a video about how my mindset has shifted around goal-setting, and discuss my big goal for 2022: make art for 15 minutes every day.
2022 Goals #
- Make art for 15 minutes every day. I'm calling this The Year of Practice.
- Share my journey in my newsletter and/or on YouTube.
- Learn more about the art and life of Sister Corita Kent.
- Move to NYC in March 🏙
- Find a group workout/exercise community in NYC.
Subscribe to Gradient Mesh—An email newsletter for artists and makers
Gradient Mesh is about making art without an art degree, paying attention, and keeping the promises we make to ourselves. It's about practice. And quitting. And starting again.
It arrives in your inbox once a month (usually on a Sunday) and is best consumed with a hot beverage. In each newsletter I will share all the messy parts along my journey to becoming a full-time artist and maker, help you get organized to better manage your creative projects, and offer up some thoughtful (and sometimes weird) recommendations.