If I was to tell you that art saved my life it wouldn’t be a dramatization. If I didn’t have art, I wouldn’t know who I am. The funny part of the fact that art became such a huge piece of me is that it was the silliest thing that made me interested in it, to begin with – Fan Art.
It wasn’t serious. It wasn’t with any intention than of coloring and creating little tributes to my favorite characters. It brought me an immense joy to see one of my finished little fan arts. No matter the situation that was going on in my home my art supplies and love of these fandom characters really gave me a peace.
As I got older, I let my ego get in the way and told myself “adults don’t do fan art. I do real, serious art”. I stopped my little fan arts. Then photography came into my life and all traditional mediums as I knew it fell out of my scheduled time. It was all about photographs.
In my quest to doing things that I enjoy for the sole purpose of the fact they make me happy, I started doodling my favorite characters again. It was just fun. I got to hang out with myself and put down the phone, stopped looking through e-mails, and disconnect for awhile and just enjoy creating fun little tributes to my favorite nerdoms again. The hours I used to spend scrolling the internet for more mindless memes, self-esteem sucking articles pretending to be self-help articles, and cat videos were now made to paint copious amounts of Harley Quinn Fan Art. Did I need to paint her four times in the last two months? It doesn’t really matter- it was making me happy.
And that’s something that I really needed some more of. Some good happy feelings for the sake of being happy. Doing something just for me to make me happy. It’s a pretty simple concept I’ve been ignoring for work, facebook likes, and hours of overthinking my insecurities.
Do things that make you happy when everything sucks. Something just for you that you only need you for. Be Happy. Life is pretty cool when you just let yourself be happy.
So I made it past the threshold of a decade known as the “thirties”.
I am writing this in my room currently between guitar attempts. It’s the last few hours of my 30th year. My phone is away. My computer is down. Just me, this guitar and a journal. In this moment I realize how much I have changed in the past year because the Heather that was here 365 days ago wouldn’t have been content in this moment by herself.
365. 365 days is what took me to evolve from the person that I was April 25th, 2016 to who I am today, on April 25th, 2017. I’ve been through this process of 365 days 30 times already, yet for the first time, I really feel like I am content with myself at the conclusion of this merry-go-round. A year ago today I was laying on the couch most of the day crying. My mind had no control. And now here I am just 365 days later feeling completely content. For the first time in my life, I can say I am happy. Truly, 100% happy.
Money hasn’t been flowing lately. The state of the world is pretty stressful. I haven’t reached my weight loss goal yet. I haven’t gotten married or been with my soul mate. My car still has that pretty big dent on it. I still clash with friends here and there. But I am really, really damn happy. I wouldn’t even say content. Sincerely happy with where my life is going. There are so many possibilities before me that I was just too damn blind to see.
This happiness came from all I learned this year. I learned so much this year that I would have never anticipated the knowledge that these 365 days would give me. There was no grand plan for age 30. No intention of changing my life. It was just another day closer to my passing in this world and surviving.
Perhaps it is because I finally expected nothing, I finally gained everything that I really needed.
During my 30th year, I took the time to make notes of the things I learned by 30. They have been a mess of notes in journals, Facebook status updates, and random texts to friends. But when it came to the conclusion of the year I realized the importance of all these things that I have learned. These things that I have learned have brought a calmness to my soul that I have never had. For that, I have gratitude for every damn moment that I have experienced this year.
- Don’t Drive with your fucking brights on.
- Pizza is always there for you.
- People are more complex than you realize. Their struggles are often silent. I found that 99% of the time their terrible actions have nothing to do with me, and everything to do with them. I stopped taking it so personally. I wished them well in my heart and forgive them for myself. I spent time thinking about how thankful I was for the good times. Most importantly I started to remember to apologize for the terrible things I did to others when I was struggling with my demons. No one is innocent.
- Ripping an acrylic nail off really hurts. I need to just use my adult money and get them taken off instead of thinking hope and endless fiddling is going to get them off. Once the nails had been removed, I also realized that I had been wasting $900 a year on fake nails which I spent most of my time being embarrassed because of how damn dirty they got.
- Alcohol is bad for me and I should really just stick to beer or wine. While I used to be a bad ass like John Wayne and take out 8 shots of whiskey in a night and lived to tell the tale, those days are gone. Now I can go from two shots to jumping on cars and making people wonder if they should hug me or restrain me. When I switched from shot after shot I noticed this magical thing started happening – I can remember how I got into bed last night! SCORE.
Also, the hangovers? My God. My body loves to punish me with deadly force for my tomfoolery. I need to send out a formal apology to everyone over 30 that ever canceled plans on me for being hung over. Many apologies. I feel your pain now.
- Art really makes me happy. For years I have neglected my paintings. My drawings. My writing. I put down the guitar. I just stopped everything I loved to pursue nothing but photography. I’ve reconnected with this part of me and realized how much satisfaction I really got in the creation process. The idea that I can put my phone down, put music on and just connect with my creative side is something I am eternally grateful for. Let’s just say I don’t ever get bored or text for hours anymore. The art I have created with all the time I used to mindlessly scroll through facebook is mindblowing to me.
- The only shoes I really need is cowboy boots.
- People will leave me and I am ok with that. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss them. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel hurt. But it also means I spend a lot less time stressing about phone calls back or fights. If they leave – they leave. If they love me like I know they do deep down inside, they come back. Since I came to learn this simple fact any tifs with people have gone far smoother and reconciled quickly.
- I really hate texting. Turns out I am getting arthritis in my neck (so are you, probably) from looking down at that little glowing box all fucking day long. However, most people in the world hate talking on the phone now because everything can be accessed by text. So I just need to deal with that frustration when trying to get a hold of people. I would much rather spend time with that person or call them than text meaningless things back and forth all day. Unless it’s Tiffany because I cannot go a day without sending her memes.
- Sleeping schedules are important and I really need one.
- People do not need my 15 selfies a week. People don’t need the daily update on what I look like or what shirt I am wearing. Give some mystery. Wear the shirt for me. Do my makeup to go out into the world, not to post a selfie for some likes. Unless I am doing something really awesome, put the phone down and let the people I am with see my face.
- Take the selfies anyway. I just go back to them when I am having an ugly day.
- That I have become the person that says “Music was way better back in my day”.
- That I actually like my face now that I don’t wear a ton of make-up. It started as an experiment but this year I started to wear less make-up no matter where ever I went. I set a timer on my phone – 10 minutes. That’s the only time I have to paint my damn face anymore. The benefits of this experiment have been that I look in the mirror in the morning and am far more kind to who I see looking back. Also, I am on time to appointments more often.
- Mad Men was right about everything.
- While it may be one of the hardest things for me to do, I trust that everyone is just doing the best that they can. After training my brain to have this thought when I am upset with someone, it has made my conflicts go away and made more relationships stick.
- I shouldn’t have quit guitar in high school. In my life, I have been given three guitars to play. Without asking for them. Without mentioning my want to play. I always dreamed of playing guitar and writing songs but never did so because I thought I wasn’t pretty enough for anyone to ever listen to me. My guitar teacher couldn’t remember my name and taught more about the bands he hangs out with than how to hold a guitar pick correctly. I put blame on all of these reasons for why I gave up. Now I realized that was all bullshit and jamming on this box has given me more joy in my life than I can describe. I don’t know what I am doing or where I am going with it, but it makes my heart explode so I’ll stick with it.
- That I didn’t ever really enjoy having fake nail, hair, or eyelashes. The nails made me useless and caught dirt. The hair took me hours a day in brushing and caring for. The eyelashes made me have to check myself in the bathroom at Disneyland way too many times for my taste. Why was I doing all this? I’ve found shedding all of the things that were supposed to make me more beautiful is what really made me more beautiful.
- My parents are really awesome. It’s been easy to blame them for everything. Be irritated. Stomp my feet when I don’t get what I want. That’s what you are supposed to do right? Spend your life disappointing them so you can blame them for their disappointment? I have found showing them gratitude for the bullshit I have put them through was a far more productive way to go about things. They’ve seen me at rock bottom and loved me anyway. This year they should have possibly disowned me or kicked me out, but instead, they just held me when I cried my eyes out from my most shameful moment. They supported me in my passion to re-build myself, rather than nagging at me for my faults that probably deserved to be nagged out. When making choices with me they could have chosen fear or love, and they always chose love even when I didn’t deserve it.
- I really want a little farm one day. Most of my life I just drifted and took what was given to me, which is probably why I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in. I realized what my dream home was. A small, cozy house with a lot of land to rescue dogs, chickens, and any other animal I want. A peace away from the storm. I want to build things on my little farm. I want to make art on my little farm. I want to make music. It’s not here in my reality yet but at least I know I am heading there.
- I don’t need to worry about if a guy likes me or not. Most of the last few years have been consumed with carrying my ex with me. He would wake up one moment and hate me. It was a cycle that I don’t even need to go into, but just say it changed who I was. I dated men I didn’t even like just so I could worry about if they liked me. Sure when they left I didn’t even miss them, but I missed being wanted. I was hungry for it. So imagine how I handled it when I met someone I really did care about? Energy is energy and all my bad juju definitely did nothing to help that grow. All the men I choose to talk to now I think of what I think about them, rather than worrying if they want me. I’ve grown happier. I listen to love songs again. I live through love for myself, rather than fear of being left. It has made so much difference.
- Men and women are really different. I’ve been operating my whole life with the thinking of “well I wouldn’t do that” when it comes to something any man in my life would do. Be it romantic relationships, friendships or family. There was a judgment I cast on the men in my life because I put them up to the standards by which I would do things. I have come to realize their brains work completely differently. I can learn to communicate or I can learn to condemn. Communicating so far has been the more useful course of action.
- When given the choice between love and fear, always choose love. Always.
- I am never alone and I am truly loved. Through my 31 years, I have spent feeling like I am totally alone. When really I just hadn’t found my tribe yet. I’ve always had a family that loved me dearly. I had these friends that I just hadn’t met yet who would get me through the toughest time of my life. They would love me enough to stop enabling, and start empowering. Rather than leaving me at my worst, they stuck through it and had faith. I am one lucky broad to have this small group of friends that I want to take to Disneyland right now so much.
- Real love makes you want to be a better person. When you love someone completely. Be it a friend, family member or friend, they bring out the best in you. You see the light that they see in you and you want to be better for them. So I’ve learned to give back love in the best way I can – being the person they deserve to love. I learned what it was like to love someone’s flaws, the past, present and possibility of the future. I learned to love them even when they broke my heart.
- It doesn’t make me less of a person to accept help. It doesn’t make me less of an independent person. I wasn’t just put on this planet to give love, I was also put here to receive it. I learned that perhaps it’s a bigger kindness to let someone buy you dinner rather than taking away their chances to show kindness. I let people be kind to me more often, and oddly people just keep being kinder the more I am open to receiving it.
- I learned to not be ashamed of the scars. There is a power to vulnerability that I was always in denial about. I was too stubborn to admit my pain and hurt without conveying it in a way that lashed out to test people to see if they would stay. Suppressing feelings in a box and saying “I’m ok” is fine and dandy until you are using that pain as a weapon. I let myself feel the feelings now. I let myself be honest with people that I am working on myself. There is strength in vulnerability because in that moment you can face your demons head on and deal with them, or you can run and be in denial. Denial was the road I took. And now I choose vulnerability. I’ve been where I’ve been. I’ve done what I’ve done, and every day I’ll get better.
- Saying “Thank you” is better for the soul than “I’m sorry”. Don’t get me wrong, I still apologize when I am an asshole. We all know I need to because I can be a big asshole. However, I used to find myself apologizing for the mere action of existing it seemed like. If I cried to someone about what I was going through, I said “I’m sorry” like I was a nuisance to listen to. It’s been an adjustment but I find myself saying “Thank you for being there for me” a whole lot more and not only making people in my life feel more appreciated, but I feel better about myself as a person. Late for an appointment? “Thank you for your patience!”.
- Most importantly I learned to get off the victim couch. It was a nice soft comforting couch. It told me I was always safe there. When I had bad behavior it justified me telling me “it’s ok because those people in the past made you like this”. When I wanted to pick up a bottle I told myself it was ok because of everything I had been through. In a split second, I could blame everyone else for the conflicts and losses in my life. I could be an asshole to people because… well I was damaged from all these mean people in my life and had to make people fight to love me. This, in turn, made me the asshole. Sitting on the victim couch will always eventually make you the total and complete asshole. Once I accepted that in some shape or form I attracted everything in my life to me, I felt less anger. I felt like forgiving. I started looking at the mirror more. The realization that I had a part to play in all of these awful experiences gave me a sense of power. My negativity brought more negative into my life or made me assume that good people were bad. Well, looks like I turned into the negative asshole.
Off the victim couch, into real life. The empowerment that I feel from this I cannot put into words. It changed my world.
- I should always try to be a bit more like Willie Nelson.