This blog post is going to be a huge departure from everything I've written so far. You see, I've been struggling to keep myself on the blogging bandwagon. According to the creative entrepreneur rule book, I'm supposed to be blogging as much as humanly possible about everything I know about brand design. It's a way to share my expertise with the world, bring clients to my door and let them know that I have a clue about what I profess to be my area of expertise.
The truth is, though, that I'm not convinced. Not only am I not convinced that it's going to bring my dream clients to my door, but I'm also not convinced that it's what I was put on this earth to do. Graphic design I was put here to do, but blogging about what I know about graphic design doesn't feel like the most important information I can share with the world. Nor does anything I've written so far feel terribly authentic to who I am.
So, I could tell you today how you can customize your Squarespace site, but someone else has already written a blog post about that. In fact, Lauren Hooker from Elle & Company has written a great post about that very thing. You should check it out if that's what you'd like to read about today.
Instead, I am going to blog about the miracle I experienced this morning.
To take a step back, I should say that I am a very structured person. I like systems, and I like to go straight from point a to point b. I especially like to start stories at the beginning, but I'm going to resist that urge today and trust that my full story will be told eventually and when the time is right.
Back to this morning ... I woke up this morning at 5:30 am, as I have been since January. I do this intentionally, so I can spend an hour of quiet time practicing the 6 Life Savers, as explained in Hal Elrod's book, The Miracle Morning. You should check that out, too, but not right now.
I awoke at 5:30 am this morning, despite the fact that the time changed Sunday night. We lost an hour, which to someone who loves sleep as much as I do, is not a good thing. In fact, since I can remember, I have complained vehemently about the spring time change every year. I despise it and don't understand why we can't leave time alone. The whole spring forward terminology thing does nothing to make me think this is a good thing either; it makes me want to spring nowhere but back into bed.
The truth is, I usually have a really difficult week after this time change. I feel sluggish and grumpy and tired for the entire week. It makes no matter that my world traveling mother has always said that it takes the same number of days as the hours difference to get over any time change. She's referring to jet lag here, but it seems to me that this rule should apply to daylight savings, as well. If this rule is true, wouldn't it then take one day to get over the loss of one hour of sleep? Apparently, the answer to this question is an emphatic NO! In my experience, it takes a full week to get over that one wee hour's time change.
So, on top of my general bad attitude about the spring time change, I truly felt like hell all day long yesterday. My body ached, and my mind reeled. I was grumpy and angry and truly a terror to be around. I thought for certain that I'd feel the same way today.
Nonetheless, as I was reading my affirmations before bed last night (Yes, to all of you nay sayers, I read affirmations before bed, and while they are not exactly like SNL's Stuart Smalley affirmations, they are close enough for government work, and you can start teasing me now.) I decided to try something different. As I was closing my eyes and thinking about falling asleep, I said several times to myself that I was going to wake up tomorrow (which is now today) feeling energized and excited for my day.
Then I fell asleep and proceeded to have not the best night of sleep. According to my husband, I was yelling (rare for me - he's the one who usually does this) at 3:30 am and woke him up. I also recall being half awake at one point and feeling clammy and sweaty, one of my other least favorite ways to lose sleep.
My alarm went off as planned at 5:30. I was still clammy and sweaty, and I just about fell over after jumping out of bed as quickly as possible, so my alarm wouldn't also wake up my sleep-hungry husband. (Side note: for someone with low blood pressure, leaping out of bed from a half-dead sleep is generally not a good idea, but I do it every morning now and pray that I won't fall over and hit my head on the tile bathroom floor. Only once has that happened, so far.)
I changed clothes as quickly as possible in the dark and went downstairs to begin what Hal Elrod has termed the "Miracle Morning." It begins with about 15 minutes of yoga and then 10 minutes of guided mediation for me. I follow that up with some matcha green tea then I read more affirmations (better than Stuart Smalley's, thank you very much), journal, do some visualization and then read whatever self-help book (keep teasing, ye old curmudgeons and keep being grumpy) I'm currently reading.
In case you're wondering, I'm finally getting to the miracle point. I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic right now. It's about leading a brave and creative life, and it's perfect for me because I, despite being a fearful and insecure person, have chosen to lead a life where I try to get people to pay me for being creative, which is no easy feat.
Not only have I chosen an inherently scary profession, but I also chose last year to leave my safe and profitable business partnership that allowed me to hide behind two other people's creativity to forge my path alone. I consciously chose last March to leave my safety net and try to build my dream business all on my own with no one but myself to encourage when I want to stop, no one but myself to blame if I fail, and no one but myself to hold my hand as I face my deepest and darkest fears.
The real story behind today's miracle is that the fact that hand-in-hand with fear and insecurity often comes depression, and depression often brings with it shyness, difficulty connecting with people, and difficulty maintaining connections with people. (Another side note; I know I am revealing a truth right now because tears are welling in my eyes, and this always means I am touching a nerve.) I am no exception, and have struggled with all of the above since I was young.
So, when I read today about how Elizabeth Gilbert met Ann Patchett and hugged her on the spot, exclaiming that she thought she was extraordinary and loved her, and that Ann Patchett actually responded by kissing her and pronouncing her own love for Liz, I practically wept. I marked the spot with my sticky note and wrote in the margin, with multiple exclamation points, "I love this!"
Then I read the rest of the chapter (which tells the truly remarkable story of Liz's loss of inspiration for her Amazon jungle book and how the idea miraculously passed to Ann and how Liz felt no anger or jealousy over this), with goosebumps down my arms and finished by writing "Goosebumps. Want to weep with joy. Love-love-love this story." at the bottom of the page.
I then wrote in my journal that "I must begin blogging about this journey - fuck all of the gobble-dee-gook expertise stuff. I want to be real about myself and my struggles. I want to write about how Liz Gilbert's story made me want to weep, about how Lorde's lyrics in Saturday's SNL episode about being a little too much for people hit so close to home for me, about how terrified and delighted and excited and full of energy (sometimes bad, sometimes good) I am about this journey I have embarked on." And how in that moment this miraculous morning, I felt certain that I'll succeed despite the fact that I am sometimes very intense and can be childish (that's an ode to a friend who buoyed me yesterday) and am often insecure as hell, Despite all of this, I'm still hanging my ass really far out on the line right now, and no matter what happens, I at least will be able to say that I went for it.
Perhaps it's because I am exhausted and emotionally raw. Perhaps it's because I'm on Day 58 of getting up at 5:30 in the morning to practice Hal Elrod's crazy Miracle Morning Life Savers. Perhaps it's because the time changed, and my body thinks it's an hour earlier than it is.
Regardless of the reason, the reality is that despite the fact that I usually feel like hell on this day every year, I chose to tell myself before I fell asleep last night that I would feel fabulous this morning. And when I woke up this morning, I felt ok (fabulous would be a stretch), and I experienced something beautiful in that I found inspiration and joy in someone else's writing.
And I realized that I CAN share my journey as an insecure and fearful, yet BRAVE, graphic designer, in this blog. I CAN share about creating this business and trying to achieve my dream of designing beautiful and inspiring brands for bad-ass clients who are doing cool shit to make the world a better place, DESPITE my age and my fears and my very busy life and anything else out there that could stop me. And if a potential client reads this post and chooses not to hire me, so be it. Because as I learned recently, I am no one if I am not trying to be honest and vulnerable and brave, and because I believe so much in being those things, they are the heart of who I am, and thus at the heart of my business.
There you have it. In reading back over this, I realize that it's kind of rambling and circuitous and maybe even doesn't make that much sense, but it's honest and it's my story for today. And, soon I'll hit publish and share this with actual people I know (because I promised myself I would) and feel extremely vulnerable and terrified.
Much love and light to everyone and anyone who is on their own scary journey of self discovery. Feel free to share your own magical or not so magical stories in the comments and know that I am right there with you.