I keep looking at my website and portfolio and I’m amazed it’s been so long since they’ve been updated.
The more time that ticks by without a blog entry or without an update, the more frustrated I feel.
I notice I’m really kicking myself lately and not demonstrating much self-compassion.
But if I’m honest with myself, the truth is that right now is not exactly a season of having loads of time to work on this stuff.
My Many Full-time and Part-Time Jobs
One important thing when it comes to talking about “What I’ve been up to” is understanding that I have a few full-time and part-time jobs that I have to do no matter what.
The most time sucking and soul sucking of these full-time jobs is being a “Migraine Warrior” – that is the special name that many in the migraine-sufferers community call themselves. I suffer from very painful attacks that are not altogether predictable, as well as prolonged periods of fatigue and mental exhaustion after each episode.
In fact of the last 30 days, I had headaches on 26 of them.
Even with my lived experience I find myself surprised sometimes: the difference between a week of having migraines every day and a week with maybe only one migraine is shocking.
During a week with many migraines it feels like I can’t get anything done (I can’t) and that can make me feel like a failure or at least like I’m very overwhelmed with life in general.
But during a week without migraines it can almost feel like having TOO MUCH time. I had a great week last week and remember thinking, with more than a trace of bitterness, “Is this how everyone else experiences their time EVERY WEEK? This is so unfair!”
Another full-time job is parenting. We have a young elementary school-aged daughter who is very active, creative, and spirited.
To say that it’s difficult is an understatement.
Just keeping our cool can feel like an exhausting task. Being the parent to a small child can be very triggering to deep places within us that crave control or feel shame from our own childhoods.
In our home, we have a policy of not yelling and trying to manage our own emotions (as parents) that sometimes feels like we’re not just parenting our child but ourselves at the same time. We absolutely do have rules and boundaries, by the way. I’m not sure why, but some people hear “no yelling” and think that means no rules (kind of wild?).
Everyone has a full-to-part time job of managing their homes and lives and bodies – cleaning the house, managing groceries and meal planning, doctors appointments, taking vitamins, feeding the cat, etc etc etc…
As you may or may not know, I also have a part-time job working from home as a project coordinator for an environmental and transportation planning & engineering company. This job requires a lot of mental energy to problem solve, keep track of things, organize, work with budgets and billing, and so on and so forth.
And of course it takes a lot of actual time I have to log.
Which Leaves Artist Dead LAST
Finally, last and unfortunately least, comes my art/writing practice & business.
For me it’s only after everything else that I get to work on this website, illustrations, comics, books, blogs, etc.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t been updating the blog as much as “I should” or haven’t posted a lot of new work or haven’t finished the children’s book I started writing last year… it’s because the season of life I’m in right now doesn’t let me.
I’m hopeful that certain things settle down and make more space for my work. Even just a new migraine treatment that works better would make a lot of space for me.
Don’t Give Up on Art Completely
But in the meantime I am art journaling and working in my sketchbook. The art journaling in particular is so important because it helps me process negative feelings, especially anxiety and pain.
I’m also engaging in art as play: I purchased a SketchBox for the month of August and am enjoying the “just for fun” aspect of it a lot.
I think it’s important to keep up with art in small ways that you still enjoy even if you can’t work on the bigger projects or business stuff you wish you could. It keeps your skills fresh and more importantly, art has positive effects on the brain and spirit.
It’s probably when life won’t let you make your art that you need to make your art the most.