It is a season of change. The winds continue to whip across the brown flats of the Texas plains, but the air that it brings is warmer. It does not sting or bite or chase you to find shelter. It only caresses your face more often than you’d like, and it tugs at your hair to unravel and dishevel as it pleases. The wind is not gracious. It pulls like a demanding toddler. But it brings change. Spring is in the air, although not apparent. The landscape is still harsh in this place of glass and iron buildings, of dust and concrete. When the rain falls, it is warm. The glass panes do not fog over, and there are no more icicles.
The land has thawed, and I, too, have thawed. This is a season of freedom.
In June 2013 I attended the HOW Design Conference and heard James Victore speak. He spoke of doing what you love and loving your job. For many years I felt trapped doing a corporate job that I did not love. I was very good and proficient at my job, and I was rewarded for my work. Yet, the work did not satisfy. I belonged to the gruesome statistics of American workers who spent 9+ hours of my day doing something I did not enjoy.
I trained myself to be an analytical person. A woman who engaged life with numbers and science. I had forgotten the creative longing within me. For so long I had suppressed it that I no longer recognized what it was.
My soul was famished.
Five years ago I finished my first self-published novel, a two-year journey into the bursting realms of my imagination. I poured everything I had within me into those 700+ pages. It was my life and my dreams that culminated into the two main characters who bore the flesh and blood of “Cedric”. It was a feat I had not planned to accomplish, let alone attempt. It happened during a window of time when I first listened–really listened–to that unrecognizable longing that was my creative soul.
Five years ago a new opportunity opened before me. Five years ago I knew nothing of graphic design and very little of photography. I relearned what it’s like to be creative, to think in terms of ideas and concepts, of colors and textures, of space and lines, of symmetry and perspective. Five years ago I was a different person.
Within five years I evolved into the woman I am today. That path shaped me. It forced me to be strong, to have opinions, to not cower from what I know to be right. Being a creative person has pushed me out of my shell. And now I face a new road. It is there at my feet. It veers away from my comfort zone. I am reminded of a story James Victore shared. He was passionate about his work, his design. He believed in his vision for design and his ability to communicate that vision. Rather than settle for security, he launched out on his own. To him, loving his job and being happy far outweighs doing subpar work and being comfortable.That is the road at my feet. For several months I’ve tasted fear and compromise at the work place; I’ve been despised for my ideas. My voice was silenced, and they made me work like a trained monkey. I have now tasted freedom, and I don’t think I could ever go back. What I have learned is that the most precious gift we can give to help make the world a better place where we are, is to give of yourself. Your ideas, your talents, your visions, your dreams, your abilities; they all matter. You have those things for a reason. They are part of you, and only you can give those gifts. To all those in the world who silence people because they do not think or act or produce exactly like you…shame on you. You have shown us that you know nothing of value.
There are days we are meant to soar, yet there are many who are afraid to do so. Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.” It’s a frightful thing to expose your soul, lay bare your ideas, open them all up for ridicule. If only we’d realize there are more who are cheering us than the other party.This is a season of change. The rains are falling, pelting my windows, washing them clean from winter’s dust. The days are longer, and my soul is freer.