The new year has begun and it’s time to set a new intention and a few goals. Honestly, I feel burnt by 2020. Just totally burnt out trying to do all the things with very little balance to my life. Maybe you feel the same? So, now here we are expecting to feel some manufactured refresh for the new year simply because time moved on, even if we didn’t or couldn’t. However, I just keep thinking about showing up and how that attitude has served me well all of these years even when I got everything wrong for awhile. Showing up has incredible power over time. Eventually, things will change and you’ll be there at least a few steps out of hell before the devil knows where you went. So I keep showing up even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Because that is really the most powerful time to show up, imperfection and mess bits and all. So, here we go, intentions and goals for 2021, in all their humble and possibly unachievable glory.
I guess first we should check back in with 2020. Ugh, guys, I know it was rough. Everything went to hell in a handbasket and I spent a lot of the year just white-knuckling through my life and business like everyone else. I had chosen “Open” as my yearly word of reflection, thinking I would open more aspects of my brand, business, and teaching career. Open, ha! so much of the world closed right from the start of the year, it almost seems comically tragic of a word choice now. (Read more about my 2020 yearly intentions here.)
But, with all the chaos and uncertainty did come an opening opportunity of sorts. I did have actually a boom in my handmade business right after the world rushed to get masks and I could make them quickly and with materials I had to hand. I was able to help members of my community, family, and friends get the supply they needed through my talent. I can’t think of a more rewarding opportunity than that.
In 2020 I was all set to start my first artist residency in the middle of March, literally the week after the world shut down. I had spent several months planning, prepping, learning all the new skills, and getting all the time-consuming clearances, just to watch it all vanish in one decree. It was devastating. I know I was not alone grieving the loss of my hard work and plans. So many people lost a job, opportunity, or loved ones this year. Collective grief is supposed to be cathartic, but I’m not sure it actually helps to know you are one of many in this type of situation. Fortunately for our family, my husband never was in danger of losing his job and we have a lot less life instability to worry about than most and for that, I will remain forever truly grateful and thankful.
As far as the teaching opportunities, though the original residencies evaporated into the chaos of covid, new ones emerged. Drop-In Art, my longest-running collaboration with Perry County Council of the Arts to bring monthly art and craft mini-classes to kids in the Perry County, PA area, went virtual! I had to pivot really quickly to learning how to better film and edit my videos and make the once in-person classes into a format for playback on YouTube. We’ve even done a live stream, which I would not have imagined myself doing at the beginning of the year! (See all of the DIA videos on the PCCA or La Rue de Fleurs’ YouTube here.) I am also in the planning and creating phase of a new class for schools where I will teach art quilting and a bit of quilt history and process virtually. I see a lot of possibilities here once I master the medium!
My home life also took a shift backward in 2020, as like so, so many, I was once again primarily a caregiver during the day. Over the past five-plus years, I had gotten quite used to having the entire school day to schedule both my artistic work and housework. Then, suddenly, I lost it all. Back to having not only two kids at home all the time requiring help, attention, and meals (so many meals, and dishes, so, so many dishes!) but also a husband working and taking meetings in the room right next to what was once my private (and very quiet) studio area. To say I now have a permanent lack of time and focus during the week is an understatement. I struggle just to have a complete thought most days and have to schedule with an office mate time to use my office as a quiet space.
However, I remain grateful that I was always at home. My kids left school on March 13, 2020 and they haven’t been back. Soon it will be a year and I was able to pivot back to the time when we were always together. I love and remember those days fondly, and though I did and still do get frustrated with my lack of time to work on my goals, I am also truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to shift my life to be with my children when they need me the most. Though I lost a lot of things, the year did restore my ability to see I was right where I needed to be for the people who need me the most and that is really my true path. And eventhough I don’t like the noise that comes with sharing my workspace, I am really thankful that we have a separate workspace for both my husband and me to adapt to. So many happy tears were shed this year at our dinner table as we reflected on all of the things we have in our life which allowed us to weather this difficult period in history together.
Besides what I mentioned above and all of the well-documented difficult and crazy things the world went through in 2020, I also had some personal battles I don’t really care to go into. Let’s just say, hurtful things happened. To me, to other people. Hate is a horrible foe and it cuts right into your heart and leaves a rotten spot behind. That shit is hard to heal, but I want to. I am working on healing myself. Again and again throughout the year I just kept thinking to myself, “I am too old for this shit.” I am too old to be hurt and held captive by other people and their corrupt vision they try to impose on my life and world. I will not be a slave to the thoughts and perceptions of people who choose to spread darkness and hate. It’s ending now. In my world and life, the only things I control, it’s ending. I am not having space for that anymore and I am demanding better. Geez, I’m turning 40 near the beginning of 2021, and the thought of going through 40 more years wondering if I’m good enough for other people is not how I’m going to spend it. I’m good enough. I no longer require permission.
So, here we are, all the lessons learned in 2020 and now we are ready to apply them moving forward to 2021. What I most want to take with me is that through all of the chaos and uncertainty, I had enough. I had all of the tools I needed to rise to every difficult occasion. I already was enough, I just needed to have the chance to be tested and see it. So for 2021 and in honor of my soon-to-be 40th year, I am going to focus on the word “Enough.” Instead of feeling frustrated by my lack of time and attention, I’m going to try to view it as being enough to get done what I can and that in turn can be enough work for the day or week. Leave the guilt behind, I’ve done enough. My little house, boy, she is small but mighty. We have enough here, but best of all we have enough to make it work for us too. Enough time with the kids? I mean, somedays I’ve definitely had enough of them, but I know in the future I will look back and know it was never enough. I want to soak it in. And work wise, new opportunities have been popping up despite the world slowing down. I have more than enough ideas and opportunities. I need to take what I have and choose to just the most enough amount to feel bust and happy, but not overwhelmed. I need to find the balance of having enough on my plate. Personally, I’m enough. I know it. I know I’m not for everyone, an acquired taste I’ve always been and will be to the end, but it’s me. It’s enough to be who I am, imperfections and all. Some people will love it and some will loath it, both my art and my personality, but that’s them, not me. Enough. Enough worrying about it. Enough being drug down by it. Just be it, kick up the dirt and let the dust settle where it may. Time for that to be enough.
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