Comfort zones & creating.

This isn't directly related to art, but it spills over into "one of those life things" that is applicable to creating. And I think that's important. securedownload

This weekend I took on a challenge: dog-sitting. Here's what you should know: I'm not a dog person, despite the fact that I have a little dog (he's not just mine- he's a family dog, and I do love him). I've actually been terrified of dogs my entire life. I have a childhood history of climbing on high surfaces to get away from them. I was chased through a park by one when I was little. I hid in trees one time when a dog was loose and I refused to come out because I was so scared. I am easily reduced to tears when I'm around big ones, even now. So over the years, I have had to get more used to dogs. But I've never felt comfortable. A friend (whom I know) of one of my babysitting moms is pregnant and we talked about me being her nanny. She wanted to know if I'd be interested in dog sitting this weekend. A big black lab. My instinct said no, but then I thought about how much I would love to be the nanny to her on-the-way baby boy, and I knew the dog would be around while I was watching the baby. So I met the dog, and I said yes to this challenge. I'm a very nurturing person, so I had no doubt I could meet his needs for a weekend.

The dog is very sweet and still playful like a puppy, but very well-trained, so I felt okay with the idea of watching him. I was really nervous though. But I know it's important to face fears and take on new challenges and step outside your comfort zone. It took about 2 full days with him to develop a nice rhythm and not feel a little on edge when he came running up to me. I like him. He's more familiar to me now, and familiarity always makes things less scary. I can relax now when I'm with him. I feel so much more comfortable. I'm sitting here writing this now with him laying next to me.

So here's the lesson: Leaving your comfort zone is so hard. But I force myself to do it all the time because I know that I always grow from it. I pushed myself. I worked through the discomfort. And that awkward adjustment is so hard, but it leads to create a new comfort zone. And you feel yourself amazed at your capability to adapt to something you would have thought impossible.

As I grow my art and my business, I have to remember this. It's all so new and scary, especially in the first year of business. But the more I meet a challenge head-on (like a true Aries), the more capable I feel. I'm starting to love that word- capable. It goes right along with confidence. When you know you're capable of accepting challenges and overcoming them, the fear and the nervousness goes away. And then you meet a new challenge. This is a pattern, and I know that I grow the most when I tackle something I'm (usually irrationally) scared of. I'm usually scared because it's unfamiliar territory. But you brave it anyway (I don't know how I summon that courage- I just take a deep breath and it comes from somewhere deep inside me). And the uncharted territory becomes familiar and comfortable and you can breathe without reminding yourself to breathe. (as I write this, I'm thinking "wow, I really am SUCH an Aries. All about pioneering and diving headfirst").

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about the past few days and I thought it verbalized a lot of what you deal with as an artist: doing something differently than anyone else, even other artists.

So much upcoming art to share with you!

-In a few days you'll see my Valentine's Day cards! I really love how they turned out. They're simple and sweet, and I think there's something for everyone.

-As soon as I release those, I'm starting work on a design for a longtime friend of mine who is releasing an EP of her music! She wants a design that can go on a t-shirt for her release party, and I'm so excited to design it! Not only is it flattering to be asked, I actually love music-inspired design. Before I imagined up Mary & Luna, I wanted to do album artwork for musicians. So this will be fun!

-In early February I'll have a new print for sale too! I've had the outline of the design for a while, but I'm going to turn it into something else than I originally intended :)

xo, Michelle


sketch_someday This word is constantly in my head, but more so than ever lately.

Someday I'll figure out what I'm doing when it comes to the business side of this art thing. Someday this learning curve won't be so steep. Someday not every single task will be new. Someday I'll have a good rhythm to balance the creativity with the business side. Someday I'll have a better grip on marketing and finding my audience. Someday I'll be able to create all the pieces I have planned. Someday I'll make more art on a daily basis. Someday I won't feel like I'm stumbling blinding through all of this. Someday I'll look back on now and know that this was crucial learning time for me. Someday I'll decide where I want to live. Someday I'll have a real studio/room to do my work. Someday I'll fall in love with the right person and have a family. Someday all these little babies that I take care of are going to be grown up and I will miss the ages they are now. Someday I'll miss the distractions of working in my house. Someday I'll figure out my sleeping hours. (Or maybe I'll just always be nocturnal). Someday I'll get better at balancing. I hope.

"Someday" is just what I always tell myself as I'm constantly learning and improving and taking all these tasks of life one day at a time. I figure, eventually, if I keep working hard, things will get easier. Of course I'll have new challenges along the way. But there will always be "someday" and the hope of conquering each new task. I'm always dreaming of how it could be better. But it's important to note that I do enjoy the good things in each day as I'm dreaming of someday. I'm very conscious of that trap.

This over-analytical, deep-feeling personality...... it's totally exhausting.

xo, Michelle

PS. Part of my "someday" goals are that I will get better at using social media for my art life (I'm a pro with it for my everyday life. I tend to forget to share when I'm in a creative mode). Here's where else you can find me: