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Hi everyone! I've been super quiet on here lately and I've been meaning to tell you why:

A) I'm still sick as hell. I'm actually working on getting comfortable with the word disabled and the reality of the situation, since my doctors have essentially given up on me and told me this isn't getting better. Of course, I'm still going to continue advocating for myself and trying to get at least somewhat better, but I am also focusing more on how to have a fulfilling day to day life despite this reality, which brings me to...

B) Bruno and I built a website, it's called Textillia! We've been chipping away at it as time and energy allowed for over a year and finally launched it in mid-November - a super early Beta launch - lots yet to do but we wanted to let people start using it! For anyone who knits, the easy explanation is that it's a sewing site like Ravelry... Or maybe more accurately like what Ravelry was 8 years ago when it started out! Textillia is still a fresh-baked little website, but we have big plans for it!

Textillia homepage

Hi nice people! I had a really crazy December and January, dealing with a family emergency and then working on recovering from the terrible health flare that it set off...one of the worst bits of which is my hand/finger joint pain went through the roof, making typing something I've been having to moderate even more than usual. But just the last few days I've been starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, something I always find uplifting after a long slog through flare-ville.

Lots more to catch up on, but for now I just wanted to share some neat stuff I've come across recently in the textile and sewing world...

A funny thing happened yesterday. After I wrote the post about how much I was struggling with answering the call, I posted it to a Facebook group of people who've come together around an online workshop we all took recently - Lisa Congdon's "Become a Working Artist". The first person to respond recommended I read The Artist's Way - the proverbial bible of how to be an artist, as they had been working through it and finding it useful.

Funny thing is I've owned a copy for at least a few years, and though I think I've cracked it open a couple times, I never made it past the intro. Alas, I've often found that when the time is right, the book finally resonates, so I went and pulled it off of my shelf upstairs. Then I sat down, and pressed on through the preamble, and both Introductions (I have the 10th Anniversary edition, so there's an intro before the intro) in full. All the way into the first chapter. 

What do you know - the time was right. From page 5:

Working with this process, I see a certain amount of defiance and giddiness in the first few weeks. This entry stage is followed closely by explosive anger in the course's midsection. The anger is followed by grief, then alternating waves of resistance and hope...

This choppy growth phase is followed by a strong urge to abandon the process and return to life as we know it.

"He who would be what he ought to be must stop being what he is." - Meister Eckhart

I unabashedly love Liz Gilbert. She just did a two part interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, and the first part aired last weekend and is now online for all to see. I highly recommend you watch it. (The second part is coming up this weekend.) This first half is focused around the topic of figuring out what your "quest" in life is, why you're here and how to make it happen.

This part really resonated with me:

Oprah:
Isn't it true though, I knew this for myself, when there came a time for me to leave Baltimore, and everybody around me was saying, "No, there's no way you're gonna succeed." I didn't hear it as much as I felt it - I felt that if I didn't move, from where I was, for whatever I was being called to, here obviously, in Chicago... I felt that if I didn't do it, a part of me would die. I felt that I would just sort of like, not physically die, but that parts of me would sort of shrivel up in some way, and that I would not be emotionally, spiritually, myself. Did you feel that?

It's been a while now since I've come out of denial about my illness. I've had some time to at least begin to grieve the losses that have come with it. Friends, family, future plans, hobbies... my loss list is long and detailed. I have also been able to receive some gifts from my illness - it's not all loss. But the gifts don't make the loss any less real, any less difficult.

One of the bigger things I've lost is my ability to be gainfully employed. I haven't been able to work even part time in over two years. All the shame, judgment, and social implications aside, there is something that feels degrading about having my daily purpose and to an extent, my financial independence stripped away. These have probably been the hardest for me to adapt to. And yet, adapt I must and I will!

IMG_3494
Me, at peace, making art in my home studio, 2013
I want to maintain this elusive calm in my work life

I did it! It's real! The first six Heartgirl prints are up in my Etsy shop!!!

Heartgirl prints on Etsy

You guys, I don't even know where to begin. This is SUCH a big accomplishment for me. I've dreamt of "being a real artist" for such a long time... As much as I've done art since I was old enough to hold a paintbrush, and even sold the odd painting or sewn item back in university, I was convinced it was just something I did as a hobby to pass the time.

But it isn't just a hobby - it's MY THING. It's always been my thing. And as incredibly challenging as it's been, I've finally squashed my serious case of impostor syndrome... I AM AN ARTIST!

This afternoon I got to do something really special, and it occurred to me I should get these thoughts written down before they start to dissipate. I figured why not share them with all of you, lest they be of a tiny bit of help or inspiration to someone else... The special thing I got to do was join a few other women on a Google hangout (ie. video call) with two of the creative women who I admire the most: visual artist and illustrator, Lisa Congdon, and founder of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney!

The dentist appointment yesterday was a massacre!!! So glad I don't have to repeat that for a while now... Today, I tackle a less painful task: my first foray into business banking... I've been working on getting everything properly set up to be able to start selling some of my artwork, and this is one of the final major steps!

Untitled

It's times like this I'm glad we have Vancity, an amazing progressive credit union, where we live. They understand and are very supportive of small businesses, and I feel confident that they'll be able to meet my needs in an appropriate and supportive way long into the future.

Since my creative energy started flowing again over the last several months, I've been frittering a lot of time away on various projects. Writing Chronically Yours, sewing, drawing, painting, working on my 365 project. That on top of the usual things I do these days: self care (sleep/eat/exercise as able; go to appointments/get tests/take supplements and medications), house stuff, garden maintenance; rest, rest, rest... I've been feeling a little all over the place. Not exactly what I was going for.

Back in September, I wrote about my plan for the fall. I was pretty jazzed about it. Yes, jazzed. But I never really told you about what happened, did I...

<3 Baaad Anna's

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