Dear Creatives and lovers of Creatives:
I’ve had some words on my heart and my mind for a while now, so I am going to open up and share a few things with you. The passing of Kate Spade, someone I didn’t even know, hit me deep in my gut. I am no stranger to loss from suicide. Our family has lost 3 men from 2 generations, one of my dearest of friends right after high school and a close friend from my professional life…and several others that broke my heart.
I was driving to the West Bottoms the other day and my mind was going at pretty much full speed…which can be AH-Mazing OR Terrifying. See, I knew a long long time ago that I am wired differently. My brain rarely shuts off. If I could harness this madness in my head and be fearless with all of the ideas that constantly percolate in there…pretty sure I would dominate the universe. But we all know that is impossible…and I don’t really want that…the pressure alone would kill me.
Let’s start by addressing the oxymoron commonly referred to as “The Creative Business Woman.” I mean NO DISRESPECT here…but BULLSHIT. That term (to me) means catching a Unicorn and clipping it’s wings while still expecting it to not only fly but to be the most magical of magicals. Does that make sense?
I am only speaking from my own personal experience here…because I feel like someone reading my words just might feel like someone else understands where they are sitting in this life. I know that I am not alone and if my journey could help just one person then it’s worth it to me to sound like a crazy person to some of you.
I have been extremely fortunate to know my calling, embrace it and live my dream. I owned my own boutique for 15 years and I never dreaded going to work one single day. I created a working “space” for myself that has allowed me to use my creative gifts even after choosing to close my brick and mortar. The truth is…I should have closed the store, my baby and my identity, years ago. The pressure of producing day after day and not letting anyone down in the process damn near killed me. I made myself insane at times. The unattainable goal of “having it all” made me hate myself most days…because no matter what I did…it was never enough.
Now I fully own up to the fact that this pressure was/is fully self inflicted. I, like most creatives I know, am by far my toughest critic….to the point it is paralyzing some days. You see, when the business was killing it and everything running smoothly then my house was a wreck. When the house was pinterest perfect then something was falling through the cracks at work. When I was in the best shape of my life working out all the time and feeling strong and sexy then my relationships were neglected. I hear you…you are whispering to yourselves…Girl, balance is all yo need. You just need to find a balance. Easy for you to say. Easy for me to believe. HARD to make happen.
I seems the answer should simply be: Surround yourself with the right people to help make all the things happen. You know what the translates to for me? More responsibility. More people to disappoint. More pressure to not only produce but one more thing to master.
If you know me, you know I am very fortunate to have a Daddy that believes in me and taught me that I could do and be ANYTHING. My Daddy is pretty amazing. My Daddy also saw that “living my dream”was also destroying me. He has pulled me aside to tell me he was worried about me. He has been fearful that I would end up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown. He has sat with me as tears poured down my face for 20 or 30 minutes with no words…no explanation.
Two years ago I made a doctor’s appointment and my husband went with me. The nice doctor asked questions and listened as I explained how I felt and how tired I was of feeling this way. Exhausted, like I could lay down on the concrete floor and sleep…even though I couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time during the night. 40 lbs gained in one year. Extreme Joint Pain. Headaches. Sadness. Loneliness. Hopelessness. (and so much more) He was so kind while listening and he seemed to get it. He gently told me he believed I suffered from what he calls “Americanitis”. You know, the lives we have created with our non stop need to know all the information all the time on the go lifestyles.
I left there with 2 prescriptions and the determination to journal more, put the phone down by 9 every night, spend time with the people I love the most, write more, take a vacation, stop and smell the roses…
You get it right…MORE PRESSURE to DO better. BE better. Somehow this was all my fault. AGAIN.
Well, I took the pills like a good little girl and I started feeling a little bit better for a while. At follow up visits my news scripts would be upped just a little. I would feel better for a little bit more. Then feel bad again. Then the meds would be changed. I would feel good for a little bit more. Then bad again. Then I was just exhausted of everything and nothing working and I blamed myself even more.
I said all of that to say this: I still don’t have all the answers. BUT I have made a lot of changes and I am seeing some very positive things in my life right now. I have given myself a year to be “selfish”. A year to only say “Yes” to the things that I want to do and that I am capable of doing. I am doing my very best to tune out all the noise and find what healthy looks like to me.
Believe me, I know I am lucky. I have an amazing support system. Between my husband and my parents they are making sure that I am OK. And I don’t want to let them down. *wink* See what happened there?
I just feel like I know some people that need to hear this:
YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH.
YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE CHERISHED.
AND YOU WOULD BE MISSED.
Please take care of yourselves and each other.
Rest Well Sweet Kate. You deserve peace.
I just barely scratched the surface in these few words. The journey is different for all of us. I could never say I know just how you are feeling and vice versa. I just believe that you are worth it, I am worth it and the journey is not only worth it…but what it is all about.
Keep creating. Keep being you.
Peace. Love. Bows and Polka Dots.