Last week, I started posting my New Years goals and intentions. Since I have many, I’m doing this in segments. I’m sharing these publicly because I like the accountability and I also hope that these thoughts might be helpful to others.
I preach all day long to others to not assign too much importance on “likes” or “favorites” on social media, but to instead follow their own gut and heart when they create. I’m more and more convinced that a downside of social media is monotony. I believe in people discovering their their own unique voice which is impossible to do if you’re chasing likes instead of focusing on self-critique and mindfulness. Art is about our unique journey, not the arrival. I am always reminding myself of this. I promise you that the more validation through likes you find, the more addictive that validation will become. My goal is to engage MORE in social media, but to evaluate the results of my engagement in less self-critical terms. I’m going to try to be more authentic, more honest, and more open by sharing what I love and letting the chips fall where they may. I want to try new things and I love to struggle and feel uncertain in my art. I think it’s why I fear teaching. Everything I do seems like it could be a failure and I struggle to make it feel successful to me. There is no formula. But I think more than ever, this might be important to share with a community that feels destination-driven. Art should not be comfortable and easy, but the process should feel satisfying, especially when something DOES come together in the end in a special way.
Well, this is embarrassing, but I feel it’s important to share: Since having Vivi, I’ve struggled emotionally. Could be hormones, could be anxiety, could be postpartum depression, could be residual PTSD from nearly losing her when I went into labor at 24 weeks. When I was on bedrest, I was put on one anti-depressant. It helped me better cope with those long weeks of fear but I was still struggling with anxiety. The obsessive worrying was limiting my ability to focus and get work done. This was making me feel overwhelmed. As I tried harder and harder to catch up and wasn’t able to, I felt angry with myself. A vicious cycle of anxiety, self-loathing, and depression developed. Thankfully, in August, I had a moment of clarity and realized that this wasn’t OK. Honestly, I do not enjoy going on medication for mental illness. There are so many stigmas that still exist. However, I saw someone and was put on a different medication that helped me control both the depression and the anxiety. The results have been incredible. I can’t express how much not living with constant, overwhelming anxiety and the depression that accompanies it has done for my life, art, family and general productivity. So my goal is to share this with others, so they know they are not alone if they are suffering. It can get better. Stop shaming yourself for not being strong enough, fast enough, good enough. The self-shaming nearly put me under. Sometimes it’s not enough just to focus on the good, on what you are grateful for, to get busier, to try harder, to get more exercise. I sincerely tried it all but the game-changer for ME was seeking medical help. And being honest with my doctor that the first medication wasn’t cutting it. You and your happiness and well-being are worth this investment of time and money. My goal is to remember my own words and keep myself mentally healthy by doing all the things I need to do: Self-care, exercise, eating healthy, prioritizing family and friends, feeling grateful — while staying on my medication (prozac) is essential to me having a good and successful 2019.
The images I’m sharing in this post were shot or edited this week as a part of my 365 project. I’m not sharing the iPhone shots and edits today, but if you’re interested you can find them on my 365 IG account.
Lastly, I had the honor of being chosen the Artist of the Year by the World’s Best Photographers & Artists Group. If you’d like to read the interview, I’m including it here. I deeply appreciate the constant support, encouragement and inspiration of my peers in this community. Thank you!