2016: a year of no fear


Every year I make a long list of resolutions of things I want to improve on in my life. Whether it be in physical fitness, with my art, or in my personal life, I never reach my goals.

For the month of January, I struggle to juggle (ha.) all these commitments, February rolls around and some of them get left by the wayside, by March I’ve failed at accomplishing any of them and come April, I forgot I even made them.

Year after year, I set myself up for failure, creating lofty goals, failing, forgetting, and repeating this same pattern again and again. But this year I changed my approach.

Instead of making a specific goal (i.e. I want to run every day, I want to read X amount of books, I want to paint X amount of pictures, etc.), I made a more abstract goal that wasn’t “pass/fail”. This year, I decided I wouldn’t let fear dictate my actions.

Okay, first off, I’m fully aware that a little bit of fear is healthy. There’s something to be said about being cautious as this helps most of us to avoid doing anything too dangerous. I have sort of the opposite problem though. Rather than walking too close to the line of danger, I’m so far away from it that I can’t even see it (probably huddled in my bed reading books about people who actually do go on adventures). When I reflect on my life and the decisions I have made in the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I didn’t take a lot of chances or grasp a lot of opportunities simply because of fear.

I didn’t apply to jobs because I was afraid I wouldn’t get them, I didn’t sell any of my art online because I was afraid no one would buy it, I avoided picking up my camera because I was afraid I would fail. Instead of becoming my biggest advocate, I realized that I was standing in the way of my success. Even worse, I have a nagging thought that while many people may struggle with these issues, that this could be an issue related to the way our society raises women (more on that another time though).

So now, before saying no to something, I ask myself why I don’t want to do it. If fear is the only answer to that question, then I take a deep breath and try to approach whatever it is head on and with a positive attitude. So far in 2016, this mentality has lead me to do things like going for runs at nighttime, singing “Come on Eileen” at karaoke at a bar, doing things with my art I’ve never done before (i.e. I just made a vessel that has ovaries for handles - which I love!) and even something as simple as reading alone in a coffee shop. Oh, and of course, writing this blog post.

These may not seem like big things for most people, but I know that for me they are steps in the right direction. I may not be skydiving or going on blind dates, but the small things that I’ve done in spite of my fear are already leading me to be a more experienced, social, and confident person. And this makes me so incredibly excited for what the rest of the year has in store.


vermont


Vermont is beautiful. And there is no one I’d rather share that beauty with than my dear friend, Katie.

Katie and I are soul sisters. Both of us are Swedish, our middle names are Elizabeth, we have older sisters named Amanda, and most importantly, a sacred and deep love for the Property Brothers (le sigh).


But in all seriousness, Katie is one of those friends who you can talk to about anything. She will simply sit and listen. She tries to see situations from all points of views. We first became close friends when I was going through a rough time. Katie would hold my hand when I cried. She always has something profound to say and our stuffed animals are best friends. She knows how I like my hair french braided and she understands how I need time away from people. We share a passion for art, adventures, and reading.

Being able to spend time with her at her summer home in Vermont was very special. We got to visit our favorite bookstore together. Katie and I also shopped but didn’t buy anything. We simply talked about fabric, pattern, and style of the clothes that we love to look at, but don’t need. We swam in a cold quarry, skipped rocks in a small pond, and inspected stones in a river. We hiked up to a peak, drove up to a taller one, and nearly became wedding crashers in the process. We ate delicious food, watched many property brothers episodes, watercolored, and read in bed together at night.

It was quite possibly the best vacation I’ve ever been on.


visiting houghton

A week ago I visited Houghton and a few wonderful friends while I was there. Having graduated less than two months ago, I wasn’t expecting things to be so different, but so much has changed.

While Houghton itself has changed a fair amount (i.e. an ice cream shop in town, the baseball field now hosting games, many of its storefronts having been painted/redone, etc.), I think the biggest change was in me and my perspective on the place that I had begrudgingly called home for the past four years.

While my time at Houghton had many rough spots, I now look back at those four years with rose colored glasses. I miss dorm life, I miss the studio, I miss my professors, I miss the people, I miss the classroom, and call me crazy, but I even find myself missing going to the cafeteria.

My short visit showed me a lot about myself and how special Houghton and its people are. I’m so thankful for the time I spent there and wish I could go back in time to appreciate what I had when I had it. I made sure to revisit places that were special to me, such as Wiscoy, the studio, and a place in the woods my friends refer to as Duttland.

There’s something about Houghton that feels like home, and this trip made me think that it’s not so much the place, but the people, that makes it feel that way.



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