This year I've made some rather deliberate decisions about where I see my life going. I've officially resigned from Education Queensland and the permanent position I had held for me over the past three years while I decided if I would or wouldn't return for a part time position when our little girl starts school next year!
PS. Where did that four years go?
Personal questions and decisions about whether or not we will grow our family and whether or not I could financially sustain this career in painting - were getting me down for many years, because I simply couldn't answer the question. I just don't know the answers, because I can't predict the future. No one can. But the more I tried to find the answers, the more lost I became. Life doesn't actually care about our best laid plans, because life generally does its own thing anyway, and you can either fight it or go with the flow. Making art is very much a reminder of this.
Devoting so much of my time over the past eight years to my creative passions, has taught me one very important lesson - to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. It's where the good stuff happens, the personal growth, the rewards, and the big life lessons.
Since my 'Women of Colour' show came to an end in March, I actively took a big time out. I deactivated my personal Facebook account. I got back to spending more time with my family, to worrying less about deadlines and what my next project would be and I just sat in the uncertainty. I took on a 30 day sketch book challenge and shared some of the works. But I won't lie, I was uncomfortable, overwhelmed and pretty scared about what I was supposed to do next. The 'WOC' show went so well, I was somewhere new and scared to face what came next. But I reminded myself to sit with it, and not to force anything that wasn't the right fit. To trust that the right project or creative direction would make itself known and to just keep making art in the mean time.
In doing so I've made myself available to consider things I previously may have discounted, failed to see or simply wasn't open to. Public speaking has always been one of those 'things' for me. It scared me. I didn't think I needed to consider it. I didn't want to even entertain the idea. That is, until I did entertain the idea...for just a couple of minutes.
I've been invited on a number of occasions over the past few years to share my artistic story with high school students in class room settings and this has always been ok. After all, I stood in front of classroom groups for over 10 years as a teacher every day. I had the skills and experience. But then I found myself getting asked to come and speak to adults, and professionals in a variety of industries to share how I've turned my passion into a profession - and this is when I started to feel scared about saying yes.
I noticed my body get tense, I'd start to sweat a bit and really felt like every fibre was screaming "No!". So instead of taking the easy road and saying no, I've been acknowledging it's scary and saying YES instead. In May of this year I delivered my very first 45 minute Key note speech at UQ for their annual Youth Alumni Conference. I wrote a speech to fit the brief, and hopefully interest an audience of post grads from fields so far from the Arts including Engineering, Business, Accounting, Marketing and even Law. I practised the delivery of my speech and timed it for over a week until I got it right and so by the time I delivered it I had absolutely nothing to fear. I wasn't nervous, I was just really excited to share what I'd worked so hard on. And guess what?
I nailed it! I really did!
It felt amazing, the audience responded so well and I had a line up of people straight after informing me of the many ways in which my speech spoke to them.
It was beautiful.
I was on a high and completely excited by this new found way to connect further with others. And preach CREATIVITY!
I floated for weeks after on the buzz and felt like I'd just opened this whole new amazing bag of tricks and wanted to know when I would get to bring them out again. Now, I've wasted time in the past waiting for things. Waiting for some guy I had a crush on to notice me, waiting for the perfect teaching job in the perfect location to get offered to me, waiting for an amazing art gallery to email me an offer of a life time! These things just don't always happen because you want them to and waited patiently. It's a trap. Don't waste your time waiting for life to happen.
Having learnt these lessons in the past, I've proven to myself on more than one occasion that I can make my own destiny happen. I can put myself out there and create my own opportunities. I can put my hand up to do scary things that make me nervous, but turn out not to be so bad. Many of these things have in fact turned out to be quite liberating, empowering and have seen me grow and go onto new and better heights. Heights I hadn't even realised I wanted to get to.
So, long story short. I'm not waiting for more invitations to speak publicly, I'm going out and making my own events. Risky, I know! But exciting, because you have to start somewhere - so why not right here, where I am, with what I've got available.
For me that's Thursday August 2nd, at The Craft Parlour in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast from 6-7:30pm with:
'A Creative Pep Talk' followed by a Q&A.
I'm giving this talk in the hopes to inspire others to step up to their own creative potential. Be it a new creative past time, or revisiting an old one. Shaking up existing passions with new creative ways to reconnect ourselves to the act of creating. What I know is that I have in fact inspired so many people by merely sharing the ups and downs of this artistic pathway and I truly believe it has all come from devoting more time to the things that make me feel more like myself, to actively seeking out new challenges and continuing to choose excitement over fear. Life is really short, what's the point of living it if we let fear hold us back.
If you're on the Gold Coast and think this pep talk could speak to you, or maybe you just want to see me face this fear head on...then grab your $35 ticket from my online shop HERE and I'll look forward to seeing you then for some 'REAL' time talks and big hearted honesty.
I dare you all to get creative for yourselves. See what happens. Don't wait xx