2022 – What I learned

Happy New Year, my friends! This annual exercise of reviewing and recapping my year is, more and more, a challenge for me. Time feels untethered since the start of the pandemic, and I feel untethered with it. Sometimes I feel I should just get over it and get back to it, back to a kind of hustle and a kind of goal oriented living that the internet tells me will result in riches and thinness beyond my wildest expectations. I don’t believe the internet, I’ve hustled and I’ve sweated and I’ve pushed myself … and I’ve been wildly successful and profoundly unhappy in my self satisfaction.

In January 2021 I wrote this:

I feel like it’s a potential negative in my life to remain untethered too long – but also – this is an option – to live without a clear direction – to embrace moments and curiosities without judgement.

This feels like a search for purpose – and a realization that so much my purpose has been at the dictates of the people I love and the family I am raising. I do, finally, have the space to do – pursue – most anything I want. What drives me now?

-01/01/2022 Journal

And I find myself in a similar place at the start of this year, but with more clarity around the notion that untethered is a valid option. And even now, in this space where my mooring line floats behind me, I have found some kind of purpose and direction that feels more like sailing toward a star than tugging against an anchor.

In January our dog, Molly, passed. A mysterious illness that may have been heavy metal poisoning, or maybe cancer, or maybe just her time. We found her in 2017, sick with heartworms and skin infections, all bones and kind eyes. She smelled awful and was the most beautiful creature we’d ever seen. Home with us she healed and she grew soft with our love. And then she was gone, and I miss her and I am grateful that we knew her as long as we did.

In January I started my adventures with creation on various surfaces, desks and lampshades and plates and linoleum blocks … this served me all the way through the year, culminating in the forever creation of two Hellraiser block lampshades – which was such a slog I haven’t gone back to do work on a lampshade since. I feel I will soon, once I recover from the marathon that was the Lament Configuration.

In June Roe was overturned and my place in our country was made clear – the place of all of us, really. I felt fury I haven’t felt since Kavanaugh – another moment when my place in the country was made clear. I rolled this fury into my “Friday Night Fury” … which was a moment for many moons, where I listened to white trash music and drank white claw and explored my own pain. After a few months of this I rolled the rage into a new direction with my artwork, or the business of my artwork and I began the search for projects to support with my art profits. And I found the “Afflicted” podcast and I became an Executive Producer and I realized that I could turn this fury filled power into new creation and new voices and an opportunity to fund other creatives, who do work I cannot. And the fury was channeled into creation in a way I hadn’t anticipated could be done. And I felt some qualified peace.

In October, “Afflicted” debuted and I felt some sense of goodness that I was able to help to make that happen. I listen to the episodes as they are dropped and there is a kinship with this story and this project that feeds a part of me I didn’t know was hungry. This is not my creation, I have done nothing but help to fund the work of others. I have done nothing but put my money behind voices I think the world should hear and stories I would like to encourage. And that is a different kind of satisfaction to boosting my own voice and my own work. It feels wonderful and important. I’m so very honored to have had the opportunity.

In November, I released another coloring book “Color Me 2022” … that’s three books over the course of seven years. And that feels like something wonderful.

In November, I hit my drawing anniversary – a full decade of drawing now under my belt I feel I should mark this in some way … and a retrospective is in the works. I’ll be spending much of 2023 gathering my work together into one place (it’s scattered all over the internet at this point) and reviewing what I’ve made and what I’ve had to say and wondering at the journey.

Peppered throughout the year was an ongoing realization that my time is mine to do with as I would like. I continue to eat too much cheese. I continue to overspend periodically on cat toys (we got two cats, Murray and Tallulah, in July) and cabin trips. I also started swimming regularly and sleeping more deeply and making abstract art that I find so rewarding and are really quite very good.

I have been well aware that after twenty odd years of raising children there would come a point where I would have more time for myself and I would have to sort out how to invest that time … or how to just live with it. While my youngest is still home, she is so very big and independent and strong and good … and she needs me so little. While my eldest is moved out, she is so very fresh and wobble legged and strong and good …. and she needs me so little. And not being needed is very freeing but also … I’ve two decades of conditioning at play. This is a part of the journey this last year as well – as it will be for several years, I imaging.

It used to be easy to wrap up my years and find overarching themes and patterns that drove me – it’s not so easy now. The arches are flattening and I find I am moving through many of them constantly over the course of many many years. I don’t know if this is progress or a regression … what I do know that it is my life and I’m doing my damndest to just live it and love it and embrace the quiet simplicity of its complexities. I’m in a bit of an unsighted season. I feel my way along and plant my feet confidently in old and new areas … seeing where they feel the best or the most exciting or the most satisfying.

I have no idea what I’m doing … but I do enjoy doing it.

Happy New Year to all of you. May this year bring softness and challenge and magic and rest … a cornucopia of a year. A fruit salad of an adventure, a little bit of everything.

All my love,

XOXOXO – h

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Gableman says:

    Keep enjoying, it’s the secret of life.

    1. It seems the thing to do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s