purge

packing up my house has been easier than i thought it’d be. i have donated and thrown away countless dozens of piles and bags. i’m amazed i cleared nine large garbage bags of clothes and still have three closets and a garment rack full of clothes. (they’re really small closets, OK?!) i’ve thrown away old, bent art. even things i might like but just don’t find joy in anymore. the massive purge of 2018. i feel so light.

i had a mini existential crisis a couple of weeks ago. all this introspection showed me how far i’ve come over the last six months. i have not quit moving forward. blogging lately is really the first time i’ve looked back and analyzed how much i have accomplished. i made up my mind and i got to today. a couple of weeks ago i regressed a little and thought about retreating. my mind is going through the process i discussed in my last blog. changing, learning new processes, adjusting to new. i believe there is a natural loneliness. a mourning process. a tiredness. maybe even a longing and a reaching for my old mentality. but i’ve ultimately found, it’s gone.

not lost, but altered. i cannot backtrack to that place. this is a beautiful thing. it took me talking to some of my mentors and meditating on my thoughts for a few days to gain a more well-rounded perspective. who wants to keep the same endless mentality? i’d be so bored without the challenge of learning and growing in each moment. in my case, i am so blessed. i look back, and there is a great deal of passion in my interests. following the signs, i look ahead and there is potential for beauty, meaning, and purpose overflowing. 

thinking back to what i wrote about changing from art to business major in college earlier this month, i gave it negative placement in my life. ultimately, it has shaped my ability to make wise art, business, and personal “adult” decisions (financial, etc.). i think it’s human nature to look back on the part of the choice one didn’t make, like not continuing the art courses, and wonder. i spend a lot of time wondering. i want to make the best choices. and i guess now that i have the peace to heal over more recent life events, i am looking even further back and forgiving regrets i didn’t even know i owned.

i owe so much to my college career. i think it was painful for me because the person closest to me was immersed in all the studio classes while i was sitting in business communications lectures, which made me very jealous. plus, university was one big competition for me against my high school mentor’s voice in my head, “anyone who stays in Albany will never graduate college in four years, or maybe ever.” i wanted to disprove that theory. and i did (no one noticing, but me). 

why is this so heavy on my mind now? i graduated from college eight years ago. it’s weird how the mind works……. maybe it’s because after all these years, i haven’t had a job i felt that my bachelor’s degree mattered until the career i have today. i sacrificed my passion, art, to complete a degree program. i got a great marketing internship, which let to all my career choices. i have had profitable and passionate careers, but this is the first time i feel like my education means something.

while i was packing and purging, i found my college diploma on the bookshelf at home just like any other book, and i brought it up to my office. i’m not looking back to regret what could have come from other roads, but looking forward to what opportunities i can cultivate through my hard work. there are so many days within years between college and today that are blurs of waste. i hope i can reach forward with purpose and focus. when i look back.

 

diving

i’ve spent the last several years distracting myself. maybe eight years or so. with work. i love to work to avoid what’s underneath. it’s an easy way to admire yourself and have others admire my work ethic, when really i’m avoiding a mass weight of life under the surface.

it has also been the ultimate means for presenting my flawed decision making tactic: spontaneity. it’s not that i skydive frequently. it’s more like i overwork and worry on mindless, unimportant things as if they matter to the point that i avoid thinking about crucial issues so that i just make important decisions in the moment. then i overthink the aftermath when i have no choices. 

recently i took a new job. it’s the first job i’ve had since university where i leave work and actually leave work. it’s normal office hours (a shock to my psyche). i’ve had time to think. and write. and evaluate. and be introspective. it’s been therapeutic, and honestly, a little agonizing. but i’m feeling peaceful to acknowledge more within.

when i changed my major from art to business very spontaneously in college, it seemed right. a friend of mine had just died, and i was trying to cope. i could keep my scholarships. i wouldn’t have to spend six to eight more years in school. my artistic mentors even suggested the change, because they said i’d get farther in life professionally and artistically with a bachelor’s in business.

with the flick of a pen, my mentality changed for years and years. as an art major, the world was bright with hues and forms. everywhere i looked, a painting. a project. boundless energy. trading to business, i struggled. there was artistic opportunity. there were people to influence and communicate toward in marketing. but it wasn’t art. at it’s core, it’s science. feeding science to an artistic brain changes it. i became less creative. my ability to paint and my focus on what i loved in career and hobby died a little.

during this same time in my life i had the greatest romantic love i’ve ever known. will i ever know anything as great? i spent so many years denying that it was a love for the ages. but inevitably, it’s shaped all the chasing, running, and comparing i have done these subsequent years. thrilling myself with feelingless flings, jumping into relationships with major red flags, hoping on people who invest little in me. have i even healed properly? i know true love and i have experienced bliss. yet i have recklessly pursued so many situations that are unfulfilling and full of pain.  

business is a great degree. the men in my life are great people. but the choices to invest my life have all been snap. i can see moments like stops in a film reel when continuing the course instead of spontaneously diverging would have benefited my dreams, my health, my heart. hindsight is haunting. but who would i be without the pain of knowing? maybe someone more. maybe someone less.

i am my experiences, so how could i know?

i wouldn’t have my child.
i am a marketer now.
i am an artist still. i’m simply a different artist than i envisioned in my teens. a graphic artist. a practical, everyday artist. i do make a living designing, so my art teachers were right. that paid off. i may not be painting still life or drawing illustrations on a whim like i might have a decade ago, but i’ve learned my mind can be altered by its environment and its training. 

maybe i’ll never know love like i once had it, but i am grateful i had it for a moment in time. i don’t miss a person. it’s a difficult feeling to articulate. when a person is young, they don’t know what’s ahead. they think there is so much of what they’re holding. i was naive to how unique sharing intellectual depth, understanding, connection and chemistry is. spending unsuccessful years trying to grasp that concept in others is maddening and lonely, maybe even impossible. 

diving inward can be dark some days. ultimately, i feel very peaceful. i am in a friendly place with everything that could be negative. all of my triggers are at a distance. i’d rather experience some loneliness and be in an honest, authentic place than cover up with distraction and chaos. i think there’s a place for spontaneity in making decisions. some of my snap decisions have been beautiful. some have been challenging. methinks, for now, i will be more thoughtful.

 

so, here it is.

i bought erinish.com about a year ago, but i have procrastinated and been kind of nervous about sharing my ideas and creations with the grand internet abyss. it’s really intimidating. but i am attempting this whole thing, and i plan to give it a good shot. i’m not going to force myself to do anything extravagant, like a post a day. but i will be sharing things i’m doing or things i like. whether they be ideas or the creations themselves.

so, my creation for today is this blog and a facebook page: facebook.com/artishbyerinish

i’ll make a legit post soon, but for now i would like to say hello to you, the person who has happened upon my wild, brain vomit of a blog. if you want to know more about me personally, check out erinwhatley.com.

i’d also like to say hello to you, blog. now you are no longer empty!