(sorry this posting got up so late in the day! we had a lightning storm and power outage over here and I lost my file in the middle and had to retrace my steps!!)
So it was exactly a year ago when I made my initial entry into the world of blogging. And by no means was it a felicitous act. I'd say my motivation leaned more in the direction of desperation. I was home alone, Aaron was in the city at his weekly department meeting (this was Aaron's first "side gig" since we were together...a copy writing job at an urban clothing company hah!), and as is always the case when I'm home alone, I was a nervous wreck. Walking from room to room. Starting tasks, setting them aside and picking up another. When I'd sit I'd never lean back, my butt would only occupy the front four inches of a chair. I'd lean forward, elbows on knees and wait for calamity, doom and devastation. In the morning I'd get three calls from Aaron. The first when he got on the train. The second when he got off. And the third when he arrived at the office. Then we'd exchange bursts of IM's throughout the day but in the between times I was a wreck.
I had work to do and that was good but it wasn't enough. Working from home can feel like working on a space station, vacuum sealed, isolated and cramped. There was just me and my racing mind. From time to time I'd sit down to the pc and visit my 'first favorite' and 'still to this day favorite' blogs: Posie Gets Cozy, inspireco and My Minutia. They were more tangible than the typical media escapes. Unlike Lifetime movies, the Sci Fi channel, or magazines, these were real people doing real stuff in real time. And I knew exactly where they were coming from. They hailed from the land of creative expression. I was sitting, well mostly standing or pacing, in my apartment which was brimming with artful stuff and I thought it was stuff that other people like me would probably like to see. So that was it. Technologically challenged or not...I was starting a blog.
I remember making my first post and emailing Aaron the link so he could look it over for me and let me know if I'd failed miserably. I think it's significant that he was in the city that day. If he was home we'd have been working together and I probably wouldn't have felt the undying need to communicate to someone, somewhere, outside of my tiny apartment. And there's more to it than that. Last year, about two months prior to my first blog entry, I had a major panic attack. It was complete with all the symptoms of a stroke. My speech was slurred, vision blurred, one side of my face and one arm went numb, I couldn't remember Aaron's name, my name, or anybody's name. I had trouble catching my breath and I knew I needed to call for help but I didn't know any numbers or who I'd call anyway. Aaron was at the gym but I wasn't really aware of that at the time. I only knew I was alone. I picked up a phone and scrolled through the caller ID looking for anything familiar and I came upon Aaron's last name which looked semi familiar, and hit dial. It was Aaron's mom and I frightened the heck out of her. She calmed me down, called Aaron on his cell and later we went to the emergency room for tests.
It turns out that it wasn't just anxiety though they assured me that I didn't have a stroke. I have a not uncommon heart condition called mitral valve prolapse. It can actually cause heightened anxiety and panic due to a short-of-breath/ skipping heart beat sensation. It directly elicits all the 'fight or flight' functions of the body. Treatment is rendered with exercise, less caffeine, and anxiety medication. And in my case, some regular trips to a psychologist were very necessary.
In a way, this blog is doctor prescribed. My therapist, whom I only refer to as "my lady", sized me up instantly and knew I needed some outlets. I needed to communicate with more people, get out more, and I needed to do more artwork that was for me. She actually made me commit to twenty minutes of "for myself crafting" at least once a week. It was strange. I really wasn't doing any art for art's sake. I felt unworthy. I'd sit down, lay out the supplies, and then I'd get nervous and walk away. The last time I saw "my lady" I kinda hinted to her that I may not be making any mental progress. She smirked at me, flipped back to last year's notes and said, "A year ago today I wanted youto craft for twenty minutes a week. " It's funny in retrospect. I mean, by no means am I now a social butterfly but the phrase "leaps and bounds" doesn't even come close to describing my progress. I am in touch with you guys on a daily basis! I do tons of art for art's sake (though not nearly enough.), I'm going to be instructing at Silver Bella, which will also include my first ever airplane flight! I finish projects faster, photograph them and show them to you guys...I get down with tons of swaps. And most importantly, in all of this I've become someone that others can and do rely on. That was a big issue for me and still is.
I'm plagued with the feeling that I'm going to fail everyone. This is not meant to be an excuse, but when I get emails...kind, generous emails from dear friends, I have a lot of trouble writing back and often put it off for ages. I feel that I have to send back ten paragraphs. I'd love to send back ten paragraphs because that's how much I want to say! But since I just can't seem to pull it off I send back nothing! It's terrible. Aaron tells me to write back right away, at least a few sentences. And I just can't. It's this weird "all or nothing" thing I got going on. And this blog, it's a challenge. Some days I'll feel like "ah, who cares anyway, maybe I'll just fade away into oblivion again." But then I reacquaint myself with why I got involved in the first place and I'm fired up again! I one by one click through all of my favorite blogs. I read comments, gobble up some eye candy on Flickr, and jump back into the fray!
Blogging and the online life represent for me a slow rebirth into the game, or the business. Me and Aaron worked as professional artists right out of highschool. We started with painting antique reproduction furniture, murals, faux finishes, all that stuff. We were working with designers all over the place and we were so "young brained" that we took on any challenge without second guessing it. Then we started a handpainted furniture and home accessories line, sold to stores all over, opened our own store, got in national decor magazines like every other month, did the Gift Show at the Javits center in New York, sold to tons more stores, and pretty much we didn't stop moving for years. Our early and mid twenty's are a complete blur and a faded memory. We were not stopping to smell any roses. There were too many longdays and sleepless nights. We were really spreading ourselves thin so we had to close the retail shop so we could fully focus on the wholesale end of things. And then, like in VH1 Behind the Music, it all came to a crashing halt. Aaron was in a so close to fatal car crash that smashed him to bits physically and turned me to mental oatmeal, or I prefer rice pudding. His recovery was slow and arduous. I think he had a total of six surgeries and three of those were on the same part of his leg and spread out over a couple years. So his recovery time spanned three years and in that time he was capable of no great physical feat. I remember he tried to get heavy into murals again and it was during a month of standing on scaffolding that he all of the sudden required a cane again and after some x-rays we found out that the healing process pretty much reversed and he'd need another reconstruction (which also failed eight months later and he required yet another, this time MAJOR reconstruction!) Well, all of this leads to us working from home on small, lightweight art, which is all Aaron was capable of in his recovery time. So necessity brought us to the internet and we are here to stay!
So this Blogiversary means a lot to me. It's totally not an " oh whata-ya-know...it's been a year already?" For me it represents growth and documented progress. I feel like I have a lot of years that melted together. Anytime you or someone close to goes through endless medical trials, the days, weeks, and months all become the same and all you can think of is that day in the distant future when all of this will be behind you. Well I don't know if I've come to that day yet but I've come to this day. And I can pore over the archives and see that I accomplished some things over the past 365 days. I'm sorry this is such a long post but I think I needed to put it all out there and let you guys know how important you all are to me and that this is no hobby or passing fad. This is real, the links on the right are real, and the chain of real people doing real stuff goes on and on. I'm honored to be a link in that chain.
Ok, now as a thank you for all of your continued support I want to do a giveaway! I'll pick one of your comments at random and the winner gets their choice of : one paper doll ornament, and any two of the 4x4's below! I know leaving a comment on an AOL blog can be an involved process but please join in if you haven't before. Once you've done it once it's super simple in the future. I'll pick a name on Sunday the 16th. And please remember to put a link to your blog if you have one, and/or email...that way others can come visit you. So please leave a comment and come Sunday one of you can take your three picks from the stuff below!
Thank you all so so much for your kindness, support, and love!
You have no idea how much it means to me!
big big hugs!