Those of you close to me know that I just went through a breakup with my boyfriend of nearly five years. It was messy and drawn out and life has been a whirlwind since. Everything I knew about my life for half a decade was demolished in an instant. For nearly five years, I developed an identity that was very much attached to another person. That’s gone now and I pretty much have to discover who I am again.
When you go through such an emotional process, I think it’s natural for your body to just collapse or break down in some way. People will cry, drink, party and basically just lose their minds. When my breakup hit, I wasn’t able to do any of that. I had deadlines to meet and shows to install. I had to draw and revise. And draw and revise. And draw and revise. So, I did what any tireless workaholic would do in my situation - I threw myself headlong into my work.
Let me be honest. I put my emotional energy COMPLETELY to the side for weeks. I had no choice. I don’t think this is necessarily the healthiest path for everyone but, for me, it ended up giving me the escape that I needed. Looking back on it, I’m so thankful I had my art, a busy production schedule, various projects to focus on, and the unconditional love and support of my coworkers and colleagues to keep me from self-destructing. All of that raw emotional energy was translated into my designs and I believe some of my best work came out of this time period. That’s a consolation prize I can live with.
Of course, rampant overworking and emotional repression can only go on for so long. The dust settles and you find yourself slightly directionless, suddenly confronted with a whole bunch of stuff that you were able to both process and keep at bay through work. Life is different now. I have to figure out what my new “normal” looks like. How will all of this affect my art, my designs, my choices? Not a big deal, right?
When our whole existence is called into question and we don’t know who we are anymore, we have a choice. We can be fearful, or we can get excited. Right now, I’m choosing the LATTER, and I’m finding out just how freeing it is to champion my own internal development.
For a long time, such a large part of my focus was on building a life and home with another. Today, I can see that I’m creating and building and working on my art and designs in order to build something within and for myself. I see that it’s time to take a break. It’s time to recharge. I’m pretty sure that’s a healthy thing for anybody to do, and I have very little experience with it. So, I’m taking this time to get re-inspired for MYSELF, not for anybody else. Now is the time for me to be with family, have some fun, look at new things, and to bring new love into my life, whatever form that may take. This new future and new normal that I’m planning starts NOW.
As I take the first baby steps on this journey, I’m feeling good. I’m making healthy choices and feeling pretty damn confident. We have some AWESOME projects coming up this summer (and fall), and I’m more driven than ever to find what’s best for each of them. I’m feeling fearless because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’m not as afraid to make mistakes and take risks, and I’m not afraid to be emotional. I’m finding out more and more that emotion and expression can be the drivers of some of my best design choices.
Sometimes getting broken down to nothing is exactly what we need so we can build ourselves back up better than before. Here’s to a fabulous new normal.