At the time this post goes out, I’ll just have gotten back from my trip to Yellowstone National Park with my mom 👯♀️
(I’m on sabbatical next week, but I’ll probably share some pics with you 😉)
Rather than skipping my post for a week, I wanted to send you a quick reminder…
Yes, that’s right. Say YES to yourself!
Give yourself what you need to feel good and whole. It’s not selfish. Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is very important. As important as your family and friends’, if not more.
And according to my therapist, whom I trust very much, needs are not negotiable.
So here you go, my friend. You have my unconditional permission to say yes to yourself. Today and always.
A few days after I quit, I went on a solo retreat to set intentions for my artist/business journey.
The past 4 years have been a marathon self-development therapy session, I tell you.
I’ve learned so much about myself and am so proud of the accomplishments I’ve made so far.
I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned and wanted to share them with you today ✨
First thing that’s come up is this:
You don’t have to be the best artist. But you need to be fiercely, unapologetically, you.
I used to feel insecure about my art. I even felt a little cringy calling myself an artist. I’m mostly self-taught, and my technical skills aren’t that advanced. I thought it was cute and child-like but not “real” art.
I thought art should be more, shall I say, deep? whatever that means…🤷🏻♀️
When I saw the work of other successful artists I admire, I’d think “oh, I wish my art looked more like that. It is so _______ (sophisticated, elegant, cool, hip etc. <- things that my art is not)”
Over the last several years, I’ve slowly learned that you don’t have to be the most technically advanced artist to be successful, but it needs to have your distinct voice.
I’ve gotten to internalize this as I started selling more at shows and markets last year and kept witnessing my customers’ happy reactions in person.
People’s face light up as they walk by my booth. I can see them mouthing to their friend “cuuute.” I hear “awwwwww” and “so adorable” every 5 minutes.
It’s reinforced to me that yes, cutenss is valuable, and it makes people extremely happy.
And it’s ok if that’s the only thing my art offers.
I may be oversimplifying it, but you get what I’m saying? I mean people pay a lot of money for therapy, drugs, and experiences to be happy, no? 😀
Sometimes I make something and say to myself “wait, is this too cute? Should I tone it down?”
Fortunately, I can snap out of the silliness of the situation pretty quickly now. The answer is, OF COURSE NOT.
It turns out so many people love cute things. I know you do! Tone it down?? I’d be doing a disservice to you and humanity.
I want to give you what you came here for. Adorable, happy art that makes you smile.
The more joy I express through my work, the happier I get doing what I do.
And that brings more joy to you, and that gives me the fuel to keep going, and it’s a never-ending love fest ❤️
You may have been in my community since well before I quit my job 4 years ago. Or you may have just found me last week.
I still feel like a baby in my biz journey and without you, there is no Honeyberry Studios, so yeah, you’re awesome. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.
Ok, I had more reflections I wanted to share today, but this is getting a bit too long 😀 so I’ll parse it out later.
Have a cuteness filled day!
ps. my mom is coming to visit me next week 🥰 and we’re going to Yellowstone 🌲🦌⛰🐐 our first time!! If you need anything from my shop, come to Fremont Sunday Market today 10-4, or place your order online before Monday and I’ll ship them out before we head out!
I’m a glass-half-empty kinda gal. Does that surprise you? Or you knew that already?
I still haven’t figured out if it’s nature or nurture. It’s probably a little bit of both.
I suspect my grandparents on my dad’s side played a big role in instilling pesimistic tendencies in me at a young age.
My dad was the eldest son, so we lived with his parents, which I loved as a kid. My grandma was my main caretaker until I was about 4 since both my parents worked outside of home.
The thing about my grandparents was, especially my grandma, they didn’t have a lot of boudaries or filters 😬 They’d often criticize our neighbors or family members openly. They never ran out of things to complain about and lamented about life in general.
I don’t blame them. Life did deal them bad hands especially for my grandma.
She went through WWII as a terrified and hungry teenager, had an arranged marriage to my grandpa when she was 18, forcing her to move away from her family in the city to a rural area where she was expected to do physical farming work while raising 3 boys – she desparately wanted a girl and told me how dissapointed she was when my dad and uncles were born 😅 She also told me she never loved grandpa. Like, all the time.
But you can understand why she was so bitter about life, no?
One of my earliest memories of her is me feeling an intense sadness for her when she was telling me how she’d saved up little money she had as a teenager to buy this delicious looking bread that she’d been ogling from outside of the bakery – and when she finally saved up enough money to buy the bread, it turned out so nasty tasting and she was extremely disappointed.
So, so sad.
Most of my adult life, I’ve been working to reset my mind to a default that says life isn’t full of sadness and suffering.
Staying positive takes me a lot of practice and intentionality.
I started meditating in 2013, and it’s helped tremendously with staying centered when things get hard.
Another thing that helps me with my positive mindset is my daily journaling. I jot down three things I’m grateful for in my journal before I go to bed.
It only takes me a minute, but I love having the time to reflect on the day and focus on the good things that happened before going to sleep.
I’ve been journaling for almost two years now, and here are some of my most common entries:
– laughing with Dave
– walks in sunshine
– going to bed
– good show & meeting awesome people
I rarely have big, over-the-top things to be grateful for. It’s the small, seemingly unimportant things that make me realize how good my life is.
And I’m grateful for my grandma for teaching me that – the little things I take for granted could be taken away at any moment. I’m lucky to have choices that she’d never dreamed of having.
Do you have a grounding practice or ritual? Are you a glass-half-full or empty kinda person?
Reply to this email and tell me. I genuinely enjoy hearing from you 🥰
Neither of my parents understood my intense need to have cute furry feline friends, and it was very sad.
We had a shiba inu, Alex, but he and I were never good friends.
So I thought about cats pretty much 24/7.
I’d check where the neighborhood cats hang out on my way to and from school every day.
I fantasized many scenarios where a kitty would show up at our doorstep and my parents would magically OK me keeping it.
As I got a little older, my parents finally understood it was ok to have a cat, and I’d adopt cats from my friends or just off the street throughout my early teenage years.
My parents had a strict “No Pets in The House” policy (except for our giant gold fish. Seriously, those things grew to be 9 inches long!), so the cats had to live outside, and none of them lasted longer than a few years, sadly 😿
Fast forward 15 years, I adopted two cats with my ex, and we (cats and I) had a nice, long-term relationship until a few years ago.
I haven’t had any kitty of my own since then, but I do make a point to visit friends with cats from time to time and get the refill on some kitty love.
Cats also inspire my creativity a lot. Surprise!
And, here are some of my fan favorite kitty designs in my shop.
I know hate is a strong word, but I’m not even going for a dramatic effect. I really do hate. it. so. much.
When I’m in a confrontational situation (especially the unexpected kind), I feel sweaty-palmed, my stomach gets tied up in knots, my body is shaky, and my brain gets all scrambled.
I can’t think of the right words to say in the moment so the whole experience is extremely frustrating and unsettling.
Usually after an incident, I’d have an intense inner monologue about how things went and what I should’ve said/done differently in the situation.
I’d run many different scenarios in my head and imagine how the outcome could’ve been different, Dr. Strange style.
Or trying to find reasons why it wasn’t my fault and it was about the other person.
Because most of the time, it isn’t about me even though it may feel sooooooo personal at the time.
This cycle might continue for a week or comes back months, sometimes years later 👻
So when I had a few unexpected interpersonal confrontations/conflicts/awkward moments in the last few weeks, it’s thrown me off balance.
For example, I was being courageous and said something in a meeting that stirred a very emotional reaction from another person and it became very messy very quickly 😱
In another setting, my behavior (I don’t even know what I was doing specifically) hurt someone’s feelings, and we had to have a follow-up convo about it.
And most recently, I accidentally shared certain information about a mutual friend to someone, which was not public yet, and had to do a minor damage control…🤦🏻♀️
(Wait, am I just becoming more insensitive?? 😂 Something to ponder…)
I was in my usual super analyzing mode after an incident and then learned it was Mercury retrograde this month.
I’m not an expert astrologist and don’t usually track when they happen. But I get the gist of it.
When Mercury retrogrades (i.e. it looks like it’s going backwards from where we are), you may feel things are out of wack and stressful for no good reason. I understand Mercury retrogrades impact the areas of travel, communication, and technology, in particular.
You may think it’s a bunch of woo woo nonsense 🔮 and it’s ok!
But as soon as I found out it was Mercury retrograde, instead of staying caught in my negative thought spiral, I said to myself “Well, it’s Mercury retrograde. No wonder it didn’t go well 🤷🏻♀️”
I was able to move on much more quickly and stopped blaming myself or the other person.
There are lots of memes about Mercury retrograde. And I totally think they’re funny, too.
But it does help me be more forgiving and compassionate towards myself and others.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful it we could be so understanding when Mercury isn’t in retrograde? 😀 which is most of the time?
Who am I kidding – you probably already are, you beautiful magical unicorn. But me? No 😂 I try to be. I don’t always succeed.
Maybe I need to pretend it’s always Mercury retrograde. Or create an imaginary entity that influences us beyond our control at all times.
Oh, wait, I guess we don’t have control over anything anyway wether the stars are aligned or not 💡
So maybe just remembering that would help??
And, if you’re feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde like I am this month, good news is, it’ll be over in a few days 🥳
I usually don’t do anything on the 4th 😅 but this year we’re going to a BBQ at my friend’s. They’re grilling up some steaks and salmon, they said. So fancy ✨ We’re bringing a salad from our garden. A proper celebration!
(However, I guarantee you I’ll be in bed by the time fireworks start 😂 I got earplugs.)