erinish.com

it’s official! i started an art blog. i thought for a long time about combining erinwhatley.com and erinish.com, but i like having this blog strictly for all of my random musings, and i wanted a more commercial space to put my art stuff. i really don’t know what to anticipate with the art blog, but i am really committed to creating more recently.

i would be lying if i said i didn’t want to be successful in licensing some art or creating something completely unforgettable. i’ve been back and forth about taking the leap. it’s just so easy for me to feel insecure and cynical about putting myself out there. i follow so many artists and get so irritated knowing that i can create but that i am not doing anything about it. so, i am going to give it a shot. it may never be anything more than more colorful musings, but it’s worth my best shot.

i don’t really have much in other news. i’ve been struggling to stay positive through some difficult situations at work. nothing major, only the nuances of a sales job. if i didn’t work at a great place, it wouldn’t be as easy to get through, but i do enjoy my coworkers and clients. i often want to be negative about the things i can’t control, but i am really pushing to stay positive through all of the stuff going on. i hate i can’t be more specific, but i just don’t want to speak out in a way that might seem inappropriate in a professional setting.

justin and i are doing well. he’s working a lot on threeforty, putting together events and proposals, and of course doing a lot of secret whispering and planning for this year’s georgia throwdown. i couldn’t be more proud of him for following his dreams, and that’s kind of what’s inspired me to start following through a little more on my art career.

we’ll be taking some trips for two of my friends’ upcoming weddings. though i love my girls, i am so ready for this season to be over. it’s a lot of stress and cash to be a part of these things, and that surprises me daily when i think on it! i have ultimately decided that i will elope or do something similar when it comes my time. i will probably have a big party with loved ones once i have had my non-stressful time with the groom in jamaica somewhere. i just hate to stress out myself, my family and my friends with all of the crazy details of weddings these days. i’d rather enjoy $50,000 post-wedding than push everyone around me to make this one perfect day at the same extraordinary cost. i am totally supportive and excited for my friends who have gone to such lengths to plan their day, but it has truly helped me realize how little i care about all of the wedding buzz when it comes to my own plans one day.

other than that, i have started working out some. which i haven’t done in over a year. after pushing myself for nine years of fighting the pounds, i needed a good break. and i may not be totally back in the saddle. who knows? i have been feeling better through exercising and eating cleaner, but i could be back on burritos and the couch by friday. we’ll see what happens.

the fog

it happened a week or two ago. i inexplicably just started feeling better. i have the drive to be involved in my life again. i sense a familiar optimism about the future and about today.

i spent many months in a strange depression that i haven’t shared with many people, because i haven’t understood it myself. losing my job put me through a range of emotions. i invested so much, but i loathed what the investment cost me. time with friends and family, missed memories, a missed life. my life was simply planning events in a really negative environment that never gave any slack. the rest was a blur. but i loved the trade, how i got to build memories and create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for others on a regular basis. it was my opinion that you couldn’t really beat that. and there were other, more personal, details that were both relieving and hurtful that i also released with my previous position.

i can’t really explain the feeling i have felt since last may. while i have experienced great things, i’ve experienced them through a fog. maybe i was subconsciously protecting myself. who knows? it just felt like i spent six months on my couch looking through my phone. i didn’t want to become attached to my new job, my relationships, etc. and everything i did, i felt an undercurrrent of loneliness, anxiety, sadness, regret, and really just anger that i couldn’t enjoy the moment like i was used to experiencing it.

my boyfriend, justin, urged me to feel better throughout this time. and really, without him, i can’t see myself feeling as fortunate as i do today. he is in a place in his life where he is following his dreams with everything he has. he went through some tough circumstances a while back, and instead of regressing, he put all of his energy into his music business, threeforty creative group. and since then he has been a part of bringing some of the best music to an area that hasn’t seen positive in a long time.  and what’s nice is that i didn’t have to be miserable while watching him live his dream. he included me in it. i got to share in all of the experiences with the georgia throwdown and other great events. and though i wasn’t in the frame of mind to enjoy it completely, it helped in keeping me positive through a hurtful time of picking up the pieces.

a bit after christmas, i was visiting with my mom and she shared with me the story of ann reese grote, a sweet little girl who passed away on christmas eve during a tragic swing set accident. i followed the stories on a facebook page honoring her memory, and it stirred this familiar feeling in my heart. a feeling of loss and deep anguish. the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ made me angry, but i couldn’t quit looking at the photos of the sweet little girl who lost her life. what struck me most was the family behind this little girl. ann reese’s mother, specifically, was mentioned giving some flowers from funeral arrangements to a local nursing home, thinking of others in such a horrific time. she has been posting uplifting,encouraging words of thanks to the Lord on this facebook page since her daughter’s death, and i couldn’t wrap my mind around the strength she was displaying in this terrible situation. and then i remembered. i, too, have that strength in my heart through Christ.

how easily i had forgotten to see the beauty in today. the hope in tomorrow. and how trivial my woes seem in relation to what i was scrolling through online. my life isn’t perfect, and there will be trials ahead. but if i can keep the right Goal in view, i can experience peace and joy beyond explanation. i have been praying for ann reese’s family, and i hope that you will, too. i hope if you happen upon this post or the facebook page honoring that sweet little girl that you, too, will feel moved to experience more of the next moment than you did the one before.

as for me, i am continuing to fight the past that haunts me–but it seems trivial when i look at a bigger picture. everything in life is going to change for me at some point. i will experience losses and gains. everything will change, except one thing–Christ. which makes me eternally grateful to know his peace and joy. so, so grateful.

the festivities

i haven’t had much time to write about the georgia throwdown, but it’s taken over my world. when i started dating justin, he told me about a modest music festival he and his business partners had envisioned bringing to albany. he beamed with pride as he shared the beginnings of a tale that, now, has not only changed my life, but the life of a city i love. what started as a humble idea has transformed into an unprecedented event that has brought equal parts excitement and doubt to the people in southwest georgia.

there’s so much of a story to tell. much of the planning is worthy of a television show (no joke). to begin my story, meeting justin was simply happenstance. i lost my job, and i brought my resume by the cool, new Creative Group in town. justin greeted me at the door, and we immediately hit it off. the magnitude of the projects he was thinking up only became evident to me after we had been dating a few weeks. during a time when i had ultimately lost my way, justin was not only there for me as a love interest–he involved me in his work projects, including soweGAfest. even i can’t grasp how much it helped my self worth through a sad time to be working on an enormous music festival with the power players of albany.

as this weekend comes around, i have so many emotions. i’m oozing with pride over my boyfriend’s and friends’ hard work–and i mean hard. hard. work.–on this event. i’m anxious to see the turn out. i’m disappointed in those who just don’t get it. i’m glad that there is hope for an area so devoid, so lacking in morale. i’m glad sam shugart, bo henry, justin andrews, evan barber, cynthia george, jeb tabb, mike kostoff, dallas davidson and many others separated themeselves from the ordinary. i’m glad that they believe in albany and southwest georgia. i’m glad they believe in the people of this area, some of who are so weary of change that they criticize the possibility for growth rather than support it. i’m glad this team believes in sparking ideas and continuing forward when many aim to snuff the flame.

this event is bigger than a music festival. it is an effort to make the change. it is a signal of things to come. so many ideas like this are thrown around for bettering the local economy, but who has swallowed their pride and put their name on the line to make it happen? these guys. i respect our core team so much, and i have enjoyed building the family that soweGAfest has become.

i was musing with justin last night, “what will we do when this thing ends on sunday?” it has been our lives. many people won’t know what it took. but i know what it took, and as an albany native, i couldn’t be more proud of this fantastic effort. so, what will we do when this thing ends on sunday? kick off the next big idea, that’s what.

i’m so proud of you, justin. you made the lowest point of my year the highest, and i hope others see your light like i do. one more day until the georgia throwdown! thank you to everyone who has worked and supported and watched with wonder; i hope you all will be as proud as i am after this weekend.